Adams Oshiomole, former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), took the big step into politics when he won a landslide victory for a second term as the Governor of Edo State in Nigeria on the platform of the Action Congress in 2007.
Born Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole on April 4, 1952, in Itamoh, a small community near Auchi, Edo State, Oshiomole grew up as a Muslim but was converted to Christianity by his late wife Clara, who died of cancer at the age of 54 in the year 2010. After his secondary education, his career kicked off when he obtained a job with the Arewa Textiles Company and was elected Union Secretary.
From his desk at the design section of the Arewa Textile, he observed the vast evidences of criminality perpetrated by the management. The pay was poor, the disciplinary regime brutal, authoritarian and unsparing, leaving no room for fair hearing.
Above all, the union leaders were considered ineffective, weak and timid by the workers who did not get value for their membership of the union. This brought about his unquenchable desire for a good leadership.
In the year 1971, a spontaneous uprising earned him an opportunity to prove himself as a union leader, and in 1975, he became a fulltime trade union organizer.
He studied Labour Studies at Ruskin College, Oxford, specialising in economics and industrial relations. At the end of the demanding and rigorous multi-disciplinary programme at Ruskin College, Adams emerged as the Best Foreign Student. Higher education equipped him with enhanced theoretical and intellectual acumen. He is also an alumnus of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, kuru, and the Kennedy School of Government of the Howard University.
Professional Career and Journey Into Labour Congress
In 1982, he was appointed the General Secretary/Chief Executive of the National Union of Textile and Garment Workers of Nigeria. It was obvious that a genius was on board. The capacities that he brought on board, gave the union a remarkable face lift.
Under Adams, the union was well managed and eventually acquired investments in real estate and generated a cash reserve that is more than what many state governments can boast of.
As President Of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)
It was only a matter of time before he became a major player in the politics of the NLC. He was elected deputy president of the NLC in 1988. In 1995, the NLC was dissolved by the then military government, but was revived back after democracy was restored in 1999.
Adams Oshiomhole became president of the NLC on January 28, 1999. He is known for his very many significant contributions as the Labour leader. He negotiated a 25% wage increase for public sector workers in the early administration of the then President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.
Oshiomole is known for leading a nationwide strike against high oil prices in Nigeria. He had fought for the reversal of pump price increases introduced by President Obasanjo leading strikes and demonstrations against the increases.
He was persecuted for his relentless moves against the then government concerning the fuel crisis. It had been alleged in October 2009 that the Labour leader was forcefully abducted by State Security Services during a protest, but the Nigerian government had said he submitted to voluntary custody.
Adams Oshiomhole is known for his outstanding role of bringing about a culture of radical and critical citizenship, where leaders can be questioned by their followers.
Edo State Governor
Although drama ensued in 2007 when Oshiomole ran for Edo State Governorship, he succeeded in the end. Oshiomole under the Action Congress (AC) party contested for the gubernatorial elections in Edo State,but was said to have lost the election initially to People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Oserheimen Osunbor. However, the AC did not subscribe to the election results on the grounds that it was rigged.
On 20 March 2008, an Edo State election tribunal nullified the election of Oserheimen Osunbor and declared Oshiomhole the winner. This led to his assumption as the governor On 11 November 2008, when a federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petitions tribunal. He won a second term in 2012.
Five years after the death of his first wife, Adams Oshiomole on May 15, 2015 tied the knot with Lara Fortes, an Ethiopian model. The marriage became a source of many controversies and was famously tagged ‘Beauty and the Beast’.