Philip Shaibu: Perfidy of character and arrogance of power, by Chris Azebamwan

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Philip Shaibu’s incredible journey from humble beginnings in Uzairue to becoming the Deputy Governor and residing in a luxurious mansion overlooking the prestigious Benin Golf Course seems like a story straight out of a fairytale.

Philip had a shining role model in Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole. Philip became a unionist and a comrade and gleefully told all who cared to listen that the now Senator Oshiomhole was his father. Oshiomhole gladly and joyfully mentored Philip, and in that role, he paved the way for Philip to become a member of the Edo State House of Assembly.

Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu
Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu

He was to become the Majority Leader of the House, and he thrived and flourished. For eight unbroken years, he enjoyed the trappings, privileges and largesse of his position and office. He was the surefire and unfailing liaison with Government House in Osadebe Avenue in Benin City, where his adopted father, Comrade Oshiomhole, was Governor.

After an eventful and gratifying eight years in the House of Assembly and riding on Oshiomhole’s goodwill, benevolence and magic touch, Philip easily and effortlessly breasted the tape in an election that elevated him to the hallowed green chambers of the Federal House of Representatives. Hardly had he settled down in Abuja when he was invited to pick up the highly coveted ticket of being running mate to the Governorship candidate and his current boss, Godwin Obaseki.

Thus, Philip became the Deputy Governor of Edo State and served at a point as Acting Governor. As our elders say in the immortal words of Chinua Achebe, “those whose palm kernels were cracked by benevolent spirits should not forget to be humble”.

This aptly describes the eventual macabre dance of Philip Shaibu, who became arrogant and perfidious. He did not just bite the fingers that fed him; he voraciously chewed those fingers, and when he was done, he maliciously threw the bones to the ravaging dogs.

Philip arrogated to himself the aura of invincibility and thought himself indomitable. In his mind’s eye, he was the conqueror of giants. He underhandedly masterminded the humiliation and embarrassment of his adopted father and benefactor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was dragged through the courts until he was hounded out of office.

In that process, Philip said being the son that he claimed to be, he was in the best position to know that his adopted father was now a lunatic who needed to be subjected to psychiatric evaluation and management. That was the height and extent of his sacrilegious conduct.

It is to the credit of Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole that, like the proverbial phoenix, he rose from the ashes and is today a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and undisputed leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Edo State.

Meanwhile, Philip, in his unbridled ambition to succeed his boss as Governor, has fallen out with Godwin Obaseki and gone to court to secure a restraining order against his suspicion of a possible impeachment, whatever that means. The media space is awash with speculations that Philip wants to return to the house that birthed him politically.

In a recent media chat, Senator Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole was famously quoted as saying that if those speculations are true, the APC is neither a rehabilitation centre for homeless politicians nor an IDP camp for displaced public officeholders. The public eagerly watches the unfolding drama and awaits the closing scene in Philip Shaibu’s comedy of errors.

Chris Azebamwan is a Former State Publicity Secretary, APC Edo State. Member of the Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ukana in Akwa Ibom State. He is a Political Analyst and public commentator. Activist for the defence of the rights of minorities.

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