The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that his deputy, Philip Shaibu, is desperate to become the next governor of the State and will explore every possible means to achieve his desperate ambition including ousting him (the incumbent) through a coup.
Obaseki said this during a meeting with elders and leaders from Etsako West, East and Central Local Government Areas of the State, held in Jattu, Etsako West LGA, as part of campaigns for the September 2, 2023, local council election.
The governor said, “My Deputy Governor has become so desperate to take over and is ready to do anything including carrying out a coup d’etat to ensure he kicks me out and become the governor of Edo State.”
Obaseki, who expressed shock and disappointment over the recent actions of his deputy, said: “What struck me was his action after the proclamation of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) and preparing to elect officers in the House. He was in Abuja and came back that day. I am the Chief Security Officer of the State, I get any information I need but keep quiet about it and use that information quietly.
“My Deputy called a leader in APC telling him that during the election of Speaker of the House of Assembly the next day, that he has five loyal members and that he would like the seven members of the APC in the House to work with him to produce the Speaker. I called the PDP members to my house to familiarise myself with them following this information. Shaibu tried to barge in. I said you can’t come into my house. It’s my private house, not even the Government House. You have to have the courtesy, but now it’s my prerogative to allow you in or out.
“After hearing what he did, I didn’t allow him to come in. The next day, we went to the House and he came and we elected our Speaker. What he did is not working in the interest of the party. How can he have a different candidate aside from what the governor wants?”
Obaseki further narrated how he sacrificed to ensure Shaibu retained his position as deputy governor after they had moved from the APC amid the crisis in the run-up to the 2020 Governorship poll.
He said, “Remember the unfortunate incident that made a lot of you to leave with me from the other party? When that problem started, I told you and you said where ever I go, you will go with me. As one family fighting injustice, we went to PDP and many of the leaders in unity said Obaseki must return.
“In that process, I insisted that for me to be governor, Philip Shaibu must be my deputy and never allowed any negotiation on that stand. If you want me to serve as governor of Edo State, it must be me and my deputy.
“But you have had my deputy say many times that he escorted me to PDP and many times we have challenges in integrating into the PDP platform but since we started, I learned to give people responsibility because of my background to enable us to build institutions rather than individuals.
“In anything I am doing, I am open to the SSG and my deputy and give them responsibility. When I went on vacation I handed over power to my deputy. He called me while on vacation on some issues but I told him that he is in charge, urging him to go ahead and make mistakes. When I am back, we would correct it together.
“I am an individual and anything that happens to me, Edo must continue as no vacuum in power. We work as a trio and everybody must know what each other is doing and that can only be possible if there is absolute trust that the person will not go back to betray you.
“That is how we ran Edo State in the last seven years, facing crisis but we can’t continue to live in a crisis. At some point, we look for peace.”
Obaseki added, “Election that brought us in was a difficult one for us in Edo North, and after the election, I felt it was time to correct the mistakes made in the election. In all, I trusted him to manage it, including appointments, asking him to talk to leaders and make me know what they want. Even contract, I left for him to preside over and look at how we fell in the election.”
Obaseki, who frowned at how the Deputy Governor has mismanaged the politics in Edo North, said his style of handling political issues in Edo North has caused the party not to elect any member from the area into EDHA.
He noted, “Today PDP doesn’t have one member in the House of Assembly from Etsako, and this has never happened before. In my background, if you are given responsibility and you fail, we change you immediately but I didn’t do that. Rather, I decided to continue to manage the situation.
“Local government elections came, and the same thing happened. I called on him severally to settle issues here in Edo North but everywhere we went, it was trouble and crisis and we can’t run a party like this, but I didn’t react but continued managing the party.
“We came to Chairmanship and the problems continued. First, it was in Owan and then Akoko-Edo followed. In Akoko-Edo, the people said this is the person they wanted but my deputy said no, this is who I want and will give you but I insisted that he gives the people what they want. After consultations, I insisted that he allow the people to have their way and lead.”
The governor further stated, “The constitution made me the Governor of Edo State and gives me the power of the governor and I know the powers of the governor. The constitution never provides for a co-governor. It provides for a deputy governor who carries out the responsibility the governor gives to him but does not give the deputy the power of the governor.”
Noting that the deputy governor never discussed his governorship ambition with him, Obaseki said, “He went to Abuja and didn’t tell me only for me to see him on social media and television as the video was all over the place. He was going around boasting to leave the party.
“Before now, he has been going around saying he is consulting. We had a meeting and I urged them to ensure we finish strong as whatever we do now will help us sell who will succeed me. I charged them to all come together to solidify the party, as PDP will produce the next governor of the State.
“I took an interest in the local government elections so that we can consolidate and unify our party. Issues were out during the nomination and everywhere I went there were already camps for the deputy governor but I told him I have not finished my term as governor, he should allow me to finish. But he has never come to me to tell me he wants to contest.
“He told me he is going on holiday and I approved it for him as usual. He didn’t tell me he is travelling but the next thing I saw was a court summons that he wants to be impeached. I called the Speaker to find out from him but he said there is nothing like that going on. But what bothers me is for him to swear an affidavit that we stopped him from coming into EXCO. This is wrong information from a public officer.”
The governor added, “I am not angry but disappointed because there is nothing to life as God alone gives power. I don’t have the power to say who will succeed me but only have a say. The person you are apologising for has not told you he did anything wrong as the first thing is to get your son to first agree that he has done something wrong. I cannot stay without defending myself in Court. If he is really ready and shows remorse, we will look at the situation.”
A leader of the Party in Etsako, Chief Ogedegbe Bitrus, said the meeting was called by the leaders and elders of Etsako to appreciate him for his developmental strides across the State, noting that they are not in support of the deputy governor’s actions.