Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has alleged that his deputy, Philip Shaibu, is aggressively pursuing his own succession as the governor, disregarding all boundaries, as the state governorship election slated for 2024 approaches.
Obaseki made this assertion in a video posted by AIT on Friday, during his address to stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party regarding the ongoing discord between him and Shaibu.
The governor underscored that Shaibu’s ambition to secure the governorship position in the upcoming election has led him to establish a parallel government structure within their administration.
Obaseki remarked, “The constitutional framework designates me as the sole governor of Edo State, leaving no room for a co-governor. My primary concern has been to foster unity and solidify our party, which is why I oversaw the local government election.”
He continued, “He has never engaged me in a conversation about his intent to run for governor. He only mentioned that he is in the process of consulting. He traveled to Abuja and boasted about his connections there, asserting influence in the national assembly and claiming alignment with the president’s interests. He implied that he will be taken care of, even if he doesn’t secure the PDP ticket.”
Regarding the origin of their conflict, Obaseki shared, “During the nomination of commissioners, I convened a meeting for about five of us to review the list of nominees from the local government. Although I summoned him for the meeting that morning, he did not attend. Consequently, Itsako local government lacked a commissioner. However, I left space for him to propose a nominee whenever he was prepared.”
Expanding on the circumstances that escalated their dispute, Obaseki disclosed, “A critical moment arose when we were about to elect officers for the House of Assembly after its inauguration. He had returned from Abuja that day. Given my position as the state’s chief security officer, I am privy to crucial information. However, I exercise restraint and apply the information judiciously.”
He added, “My deputy contacted the leader of the APC, conveying that he had five loyal members within the assembly and requested the cooperation of the seven APC members to support his five PDP members in selecting the next speaker.”
Obaseki questioned this approach, stating, “Why would the deputy governor endeavor to pursue a different speakership candidate, diverging from the governor’s preference? Are we truly collaborating?”
Obaseki insisted that he has repeatedly advised Shaibu to temper his gubernatorial ambitions, considering the extensive work that remains to be done before the transition in the coming year.
It was previously reported that Shaibu had resorted to legal action to seek protection from potential impeachment by Obaseki. He filed a motion before the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking an order to prevent harassment, intimidation, or interference in his role as Deputy Governor pending the resolution of the substantive case.
On August 4, Justice Mohammed instructed the parties to maintain the current state of affairs, following a ruling on the impeachment proceedings. The order will persist until the defendants demonstrate cause, in accordance with a ruling issued on July 27, 2023.
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