After his secondary education, he obtained a job with the Arewa Textiles Company, where he was elected union secretary. He became a full-time trade union organizer in 1975.
He is a graduate of Ruskin College, Oxford in the United Kingdom, where he majored in economics and industrial relations. He also attended the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
In 1982, Adams Oshiomhole was appointed General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, a union with over 75,000 workers.
He was once the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
Early in the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo he negotiated a 25% wage increase for public sector workers. In return he publicly supported Obasanjo and endorsed his candidacy when he was re-elected in 2003.
The Textile union elected Oshiomhole for a second term as General Secretary, while he continued as president of the NLC.
The relationship with Obasanjo turned sour as neglect of local oil refineries led to reliance on imported gasoline, followed by rises in the price of fuel. Oshiomhole led strikes and demonstrations against the increases. He faced arrests, tear gas and temporary blockades of union offices.
He represented African Workers for two terms on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), serving on the committee on Freedom of Association. He was also a member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
In April 2007, Adams Oshiomhole contested for the position of the Governor of Edo State under the Action Congress Party and won. However, Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner. But Adams Oshiomhole and his party, the AC contested the election result at the governorship election Tribunal. On March 20, 2008, the election was nullified, and Adams Oshiomhole was declared the winner. On November 11, 2008, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the state’s elections petitions tribunal, declaring Oshiomole to be the Governor of Edo State.
In 2012 he was elected for a second term as the Governor of Edo State in Nigeria on the platform of the Action Congress.
Oshiomhole was formerly president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and was prominent as the leader of a campaign of industrial action against high oil prices in Nigeria.
In May 2015 he married a young model called Lara Fortes.
After completing his second tenure in office as Edo state Governor, he handed over to the Governor el elect Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Nov 12th, 2016.