To say things have fallen apart irretrievably between Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu is stating the obvious, as latest political developments in the heartbeat state of the nation, Edo, has gone south.
Philip Shaibu, it was learnt, has not formally informed his boss of his intention and is said to have embarked on consultation over his ambition with the hope to later make his intentions known to the governor at the appropriate time.
Obaseki’s body language and posture not to support his deputy to succeed him may not be unconnected with his desire to cede the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s ticket to Edo Central Senatorial District, a zone that is expected to produce the next governor of the state based on the unwritten agreement of power sharing in the state as the zone has continued to insist on fairness, equity and justice.
Edo South and Edo North have dominated the governorship since 1999. Senator Adams Oshiomhole, who hails from Edo North Senatorial District, was governor for eight years between 2009 and 2017. Governor Obaseki who succeeded Oshiomhole is from Edo South.
Be that as it may, speculations about the looming crisis between Obaseki and his deputy a few months ago had gained traction in the social media. It was then refuted.
However, against all odds, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, will on Monday however formally declare his intention to run for the governorship race in the state.
The deputy governor’s plan was contained in a letter issued by the Philip Shaibu Campaign Organisation which was dated November 23 and signed by the deputy governor, and obtained by PUNCH.
The letter which was titled “Special Invitation,” read, “On behalf of Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu Campaign Organisation, I invite you to honour me with your esteemed presence as I offer myself to serve as the Chief Servant (Governor) of Edo State.”
As stated in the letter, the event is scheduled to be held on Monday, November 27, at the Eterno Hotels, by 8am.
Shaibu’s ambition has put him at loggerheads with his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is believed not to be disposed to his deputy taking over from him.
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At the height of the face-off, Shaibu approached an Abuja High Court to stop Obaseki and the Edo State House of Assembly from impeaching him.
He later withdrew the case after the intervention of well-meaning individuals.
However, Shaibu remains ostracized and currently has his office outside the Government House in the GRA in Benin, the state capital.
Shaibu has been consulting and meeting with politicians and the media on his intentions.
A close aide to Shaibu on Monday said, “If everything works according to his (Shaibu’s) plans, he will officially declare his intention next week.
“He has already secured a campaign office along Airport Road, some of the campaign vehicles have started arriving and the consultations have reached an advanced stage.”
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Shaibu said he wanted to succeed Obaseki because “Edo people are in dire need of practical governance and we cannot afford to experiment again with someone who does not understand the politics and needs of Edo State.”
He added, “Everywhere, including the international scene, people are clamouring that governments should not be pushing projects that are not needed. So, we need to do needs assessment. You cannot know the needs of the people when you don’t live with them.
“For me, competence and experience should be the watchword. Who is competent, more experienced and who will hit the ground running from day one if he becomes governor?
“Are we going to experiment with a new person again and the person will spend the first four years learning on the job and the next four years trying to embezzle and set up businesses in the name of consolidating on his first term?”