By most accounts, Adams Oshiomhole is the most popular governor
"They have not had a transparent election in a very long time," Oshiomhole told me in an interview.
You see, during his four years in office, the governor has done something Nigerian politicians just don't do. He has actually spent some of this oil-rich state's largesse on schools, roads and other infrastructure for ordinary people's use. That left President
Nigeria is a wealthy nation.
Each and every day, the government takes in just over
Most people understand the phrase "oil curse." Well,
That's not so unusual in southern
For years, he said, his predecessor in the Edo state governorship, like every Nigerian official, told constituents there simply was no money available for public-works projects. Now the governor has shown them all to be liars.
Around the world, scores of states are totally corrupt. In fact, the relatively clean states of the West are anomalies. Most countries run vast patronage networks under which everyone from the head of state to policemen and schoolteachers benefits from the corruption. So if one official stands up and defies the "rules" of governance, he jeopardizes the positions of everyone else.
That's why two dozen thugs, apparently ruling-party employees, opened fire on his convoy last Thursday as he returned from a campaign event. The governor's own guards protected him and repelled the attackers.
In April, a large truck deliberately rammed Oshiomole's convoy but hit the wrong car and ended up killing three journalists instead. And a few weeks later, four assassins burst into the home of the governor's principal private secretary and killed him in front of his wife and young children. Another attempt, to kill his information minister, failed because the minister was not home at the time.
The governor is a former labor leader who led several successful nationwide strikes. That helped him get elected the first time. I can't tell you that he's totally honest; that's hard to know. But his track record of building infrastructure is undeniable and leaves his opposition, the ruling
"The entire establishment is mobilized against me," the governor said, grimacing. When he ran for governor the first time, in 2007, the state election commission declared the ruling-party candidate the winner, and only 17 months later did legal challenges succeed in establishing that Oshiomhole had actually won.
Meantime, under President Jonathan, the state has fallen into chaos. Among so many other problems, a Muslim terror group, Boko Haram, is bombing churches and other sites, killing hundreds. Twenty seven people died when Boko Haram attacked a police station last week.
Oshiomhole explained that the terror group came in to existence as a government official's private force but then "the bombings spread beyond where they started" and are now beyond any official control.
The Edo state election is
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