Oshiomhole’s Multi-billion Naira Estate
By Nosa Omorodion
For a long time now, the controversy over Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s ownership of a multi billion naira estate in Iyamho, Edo State, has lingered. The estate, which is speculated to be valued at over N10billion, came to focus in the twilight of Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure as the governor of Edo State in 2016. The question posed by the revelation is, how did the former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), former Edo State Governor and APC National Chairman, come about owning such an outrageously expensive estate between 2008 and 2016 when he was governor of Edo state.
Until recently, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had virtually ignored the report, perhaps in the hope that it will pass away. However, like all unresolved matters, it has found its way to the fore again now that Oshiomhole is the National Chairman of the ruling party. The possession is believed to be from the proceeds of financial crime against Edo State, where Oshiomhole governed between 2008 and 2016, and collected an average of N6billion yearly as security vote. In 8 years, Oshiomhole must have collected more than N40billion as security vote.
Interestingly, the misuse of state security vote and abuse of office is what Comrade Adams decided to make an issue in his accusation against Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State. On the heel of Samuel Ortom’s defection from the APC to the PDP, Oshiomhole attacked him saying he is a corrupt governor who cannot justify the huge security votes he took from the finances of Benue State. He made other disparaging comments for which the Benue State Governor has dragged him to court seeking damages of N10billion for defamation of character.
Apparently, the issue of Oshiomhole’s mysterious mansion is a reminder of his sudden and unexplained partly tucked away in his village, Iyamho. There is also the allegation about a mansion on Okorotun Street, G.R.A, Benin City (behind the Government House). It is believed to be worth about N500million. He is believed to have acquired the expensive former Guinness Guest House property in the G.RA, Benin City. There are other properties allegedly scattered round the globe. Based on his alleged acquisitions, Oshiomhole is believed to have helped himself to public funds way above his entitlement as a governor.
However, a recent statement signed by Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, titled “Fake Oshiomhole Mansion: Exposing the serial liars”, claims that “the mansion being circulated belongs to Aubrey Drake Graham, American Rap artist and not Oshiomhole”. It goes further to say that “Oshiomhole built his Iyamho country home while he was President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The rebuttal is not sufficient proof that Oshiomhole is not the owner of any video or images of the estate circulated on social media. It does not also answer the question of Oshiomhole owning a multi-billion naira estate in his village and other choice properties around the world, procured at the expense of the people of Edo State. It is not in dispute that Oshiomhole built a house in his village when he was President of the Nigeria Labour Congress. The point of contention is that what Oshiomhole presently has in that compound, which at any rate, has been enlarged, is not what he had there before he became the governor of Edo State. The transformation of the property is also not such that can be justified by the legitimate earnings of Oshiomhole as governor for eight years.
It is very apt to interrogate Oshiomhole about how he managed public funds entrusted in his care particularly as governor of Edo State. This is more so that he has now elected to be the champion of probity and accountability in the application of government finances. He does not deserve to be pitied if in his adventure he is being overwhelmed by the echoes of his own voice. Oshiomhole’s predicament cannot be ascribed to corruption fighting back but the simple principle of equity playing out. It is said that he that comes to equity must come with clean hands. The challenge to Oshiomhole right now is to prove that his hands. The visions apparent though, do not reflect hands that are clean.
It is no news that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has petitions against him before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC). In a particular instance, Bishop Anthony Osadolor Ochei, a prominent Benin based Pastor and human rights activist, has since 2016, lodged a 68 paged petition detailing the financial crimes of Adams Oshiomhole with the EFCC. Curiously, the anti graft agency has refused to investigate the allegations to date. The petitioner recently took the matter before a federal high court in Abuja, seeking that the court mandates the EFCC to act on his petition by way of investigating his allegations against Adams Oshiomhole.
The Iyamho multi-billion naira estate mansion is one of the items alleged to be a proceed of financial crime that Bishop Anthony Osadolor Ochei has invited the EFCC to investigate. Therefore, the mansion is not just a subject of social media blackmail as Oshiomhole’s rebuttal claims.
It is about time the issue is brought to closure instead of the brickbats between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his accusers. On the one hand is for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to throw the gates of his luxurious estate open for the media to tour and report about what actually is on ground. On the other hand is for the EFCC to investigate Adams Oshiomhole, based on the petitions before it. The two actions aimed at resolving the controversy would definitely show whether Oshiomhole’s alleged avarice has been overstated or understated.
In conclusion, if President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC would not investigate Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former factory worker, former labour leader and former governor, to establish the source of his sudden and unbelievable riches, the APC should on the basis of morality drop its anti-corruption election campaign sloganeering. Nigeria does not deserve the leadership of hypocrites.