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Adams Oshiomhole – Biography Of A Prominent Nigerian Politician

Adams Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole is a Nigerian politician and an elder statesman. He served two terms as the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress from 1999 – 2007 during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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Thereafter, he served as the Governor of Edo State from 2008 to 2016. Currently, he is the National Chairman of the ruling political party, All Progressive Congress (APC). He assumed this position on June 6, 2018.

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Apparently, Adams is a Nigerian comrade, who has shown grit in all the leadership positions he served in. 

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Adams Oshiomhole Early Life

Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole was born on April 4, 1952 at Iyamho, Edo State, Nigeria.

After his primary and secondary education, he ventured into trading and began as a part-time shop steward.

He attended Ruskin College, Oxford, UK, where he studied Labour, Economics and Industrial Relations. Next, he attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. 

Shortly after Adams began as a shop steward at the Arewa Textiles Company, he joined the union and moved up the ladder quickly. Not long in 1975, he became a full-time trade union organiser.

In 1982, he became the Secretary-General of the National Union of Textile, Garment, and Tailoring Workers Union. 

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Adams Personal Life

Although Adams was born a Muslim, he was led to Christ by his late wife, Clara. Clara was a support pillar for him until her death in 2010. Clara died of breast cancer. Later on, in  May 2015, Oshiomhole married Lara Fortes, a Cape Verdean model.

Adams is father to five children. 

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Adams Oshiomhole Early Career

Oshiomhole led the biggest private sector union in Nigeria with thousands of workers as members. He began as its General Secretary in 1982. Later on, he was appointed President after the organisation reformation in 1999.

He led the National Labour Congress from 1999 to 2007. As the President of NLC, he also acted as the leader of a campaign of industrial action against high oil prices in Nigeria. 

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Although he publicly supported the re-election of former president Obasanjo in 2003, he soon kicked against some of his actions; such as the decision to increase the fuel price. Oshiomhole as the President of NLC led strikes and demonstrations against this increase and negotiated a 25% wage increase for public sector workers.

Also, he represented African Workers for two terms on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO), serving on the committee on Freedom of Association. Additionally, he was a member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. 

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Adams Oshiomhole Political Career

After his tenure as the leader of the NLC, Adams contested in the gubernatorial election in Edo state in 2007 under the Action Congress (AC) platform. Although, Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was initially declared winner, Osunbor’s victory was soon nullified by the election tribunal few months after.

Then, Oshiomhole was declared winner on March 20, 2008 on the basis of voting irregularities. He then served as the Governor of Edo State between November 2008 – November 2016 after re-election in 2012. 

In 2018, he emerged as the National Chairman of APC after an affirmative vote by the party’s delegates from the 36 states of the Federation. Since then, Adams has been at the helm of affairs of the party’s activities.

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Adams Oshiomhole

Awards And Recognition

Oshiomhole has won various awards and recognition for his service to humanity. Some of which include; 

  • Man of the Year, Silverbird, 2008
  • Award of Recognition, The Social Enterprise Reports and Awards (SERAs), 2011
  • Best Governors of Edo State, Edo Day Celebration, 2015
  • Governor of the Year, Vanguard Personality of the Year, 2015
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree, Samuel Adegboyega University, 2016

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Adams Oshiomhole Quotes

“In this country, when you speak out, all the arrows will be fashioned to attack you. But I conquered fear at age 17, I can’t be intimidated.”

“Nigeria is greater than anybody…and nobody should do anything to threaten our unity…”

“Lamenting and wallowing in self-pity won’t change things, things change when you do things differently, not when you perfect how to cry.”

“Nigeria has problems. Every country has its own problems and our task is to remind ourselves that Nigeria is for all of us to build.”

“We can’t give up on Nigeria; we don’t have another country. All of us must rededicate ourselves. I believe we still have a bright future.”

“…Patriotism is key to having a better and great country.”

“We are first humans before being a citizen of any country. Tolerance is key. Let’s give peace a chance.”

“A crime remains a crime irrespective of the time duration.”

“We really need to learn how to address issues raised by citizens instead of attacking the person simply because he/she has a contrary opinion on issues affecting the country.”

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Life Lessons From Adams Oshiomhole


Life poses several challenges at us, so only those who conquer these hurdles stand champions.

Adams was arrested countless times; he faced several blockades and abduction from the government as the NLC President. Despite all, he never compromised his value. Rather, he stood for the interest of the people and got their demands. These and many more qualities have always distinguished him in politics till date.

As humans, learn to stand for something and never compromise your values no matter the circumstance.

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Be Goal Oriented

Adams Oshiomole is one of the few Nigerian politicians who commands respect, not because of his political position, but because of the impact he made in office. While serving in the Union, his goal was to build the labour movement into a stronger and cohesive force than when he joined.

Apparently, he succeeded in doing that, most especially when he got the government to increase salaries by 25%.

To succeed in business and life, always set an achievable goal, and walk inline with it.

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