Are Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu really fighting?

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Is Philip Shaibu planning to betray the alleged betrayal?

In Nigeria’s political landscape, it is not uncommon for close allies to be at odds over financial matters. This is due to the ease of entry and exit from political parties, which can lead to anti-party activities as politicians scramble to secure their positions.

The recent news of a feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, has been making headlines. Many people are speculating about what might be causing the tension between the two men.

So far, there has been no official confirmation of any conflict between the two politicians. However, Philip’s recent attendance at the inauguration of a former governor in the Senate has raised some eyebrows and added to the speculation.

In 2016, Godwin Obaseki assumed the role of governor in Edo State with the help of his former employer, Adams Oshiomhole. Despite initially being seen as a puppet, Obaseki managed to oust Oshiomhole, who had also previously fought against political powers that had supported his own time as governor.

Oshiomhole was left feeling betrayed, especially by Philip, who he referred to as his “brother” due to the fact that Philip’s father had housed and fed him. Philip had aligned himself with Governor Obaseki, despite Oshiomhole’s wishes.

Philip has his own ambitions and dreams of becoming the governor of Edo State one day. He has been a loyal servant to Governor Obaseki and is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed him, with or without Obaseki’s support.

Is Obaseki Fighting Shaibu?

Yes and No.

“I know there is a strained relationship, but I don’t know if it will get to the point they will impeach him. I have spoken with some of the House members, and they are also surprised to hear that there is news of impeachment,” a former Chairman of the All Progress Congress in Edo State, MrAnselmOjezua, told Ehi Ekhator.

It is expected that Godwin Obaseki will serve as governor until 2024, marking eight years in office. Although Obaseki is searching for a loyal successor, Philip is outside his choices.

However, it is rumoured that Philip is determined to secure the position, even if it means reconciling with the man he previously betrayed.

Mr Ojezua disagreed, arguing that “The deputy governor was a member of the national assembly. He could have attended the inauguration for several reasons. In the course of the inauguration, it doesn’t mean he decided to return to his old camp. Because we are in a different political party does not make us enemies.”

There are rumours of a possible impeachment, which seems to fuel an already baseless story. Shaibu indeed seems to be distancing himself from Obaseki in his bid to become the next governor, but would Obaseki really go to such lengths to orchestrate an impeachment to get rid of him? Is this already underway? Is this why Philip is seeking support from Adams Oshiomhole? If these rumours are true, would Oshiomhole ever forgive someone who publicly embarrassed him and joined forces with his adversary?

Mr Ojezua argued that “impeachemnt means calling someone to answer, an indictment of some sort”, adding that “impeachment cannot be done in secret, someone must come up with an allegation, a complain about his behaviour.”

He added, “I am not aware that there is any move for impeachment, but I do know there is an issue about our current political dispensation, which is normal. When it gets to this point, when the tenure of this administration is ending next year, everybody comes out.

When asked if this strain is connected to Shaibu’s intention to be the next governor, he said, “Going by what everyone is looking at, you are not far from the truth, except the governor has not said he is supporting anyone. I have heard him say in various meetings that the issue of governorship should wait; let us try and heal the party.”

As the election campaign begins, the conflict is expected to intensify. The question remains whether Philip Shaibu, the undermined candidate, will be defeated by his opponent, the strategist Obaseki.? Alternatively, can Shaibu make a strategic move to defeat Obaseki and send him into obscurity?

The two politicians have not succeeded in impressing the political parties they have led. They departed the All Progressives Congress amidst great hostility, and shortly after joining the Peoples Democratic Party, the former party chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, discovered that his connection with the pair led to his end.

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