The crisis in the political leadership of Edo State has taken a new turn with the Deputy Governor this Monday morning denied access to his office.
Philip Shaibu, trying to resume work on Monday came up against a locked gate and deserted office arena.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had ordered a relocation of his deputy’s office outside of the premises of the Government House in Benin City – the state capital, but apparently the deputy was unaware. The new office used to be the office of the Edo State Public Procurement Office but undergoing renovation and repurposed for the deputy governor office on the orders of the governor.
Shaibu, stranded and heard in a phone conversation moments ago complained that he has no “official communication” regarding the relocation of his office and protested, “As I am speaking to you now, I am standing by the gate”. It is thought he was on the phone with the governor or his aide.
The governor and his deputy had been political allies with Shaibu playing a critical role in helping Obaseki gain and retain power throughout the governor’s turbulent time in office, but the grapevines suggest the governor is not supporting his deputy’s ambition to succeed him.
Only recently, the crisis ratcheted up when Obaseki publicly claimed Shaibu was “plotting a coup against me” but fell short of providing evidence. Supporters of both political juggernauts have often clashed in the State.
The Speaker of the House has vigorously denied rumours that the state legislature planned on impeaching Shaibu.
Shaibu continues to underscore his loyalty to Obaseki, calling him “my governor and my brother”, but insists on his right to vie for the top job in the state.
“I can tell you that from my Christian background if you make a vow with God that you want to do something, you must fulfil it. And the vow I have taken with God is that I will continue to support Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State from the beginning to the end.
“But that does not stop anything that has to do with ambition. Ambition is personal and it does not affect loyalty. My loyalty to the governor remains absolute. I see that everybody is doing solidarity. I am also in solidarity with the governor. I am also declaring my unalloyed solidarity and loyalty to the governor and nothing more.”
New governorship elections will be held about September next year to replace Mr Obaseki whose second and final tenure in office ends in November 2024.
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