‘It’s all blackmail’, Philip Shaibu responds to Obaseki’s accusation

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The deputy governor of Edo State, Mr Philip Shaibu, has responded to allegations of fraternizing with the opposition in his plan to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a meeting on Monday with Edo North Leaders in Benin City, Governor Obaseki claimed that his deputy had been in talks with senior members of the APC at both national and state levels about joining the party. The governor further stated that Mr Philip is close to finalizing his move.

He noted, “It’s clear what has happened in the last few weeks. It is a preemptive move for him to conclude what he has started. Those of you from Akoko-Edo can recall that when we were discussing the issue of your local government chairman and that of Owan, there was a lot of resistance from you on the candidates he wanted to impose on you. I listened to your entreaties and thought that what you were recommending was fair. How can he be recommending the son of an APC leader in that local government? You resisted, and I saw reason and acceded to your request.

Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu
Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu

“The next day, I saw on social media that he was in Abuja robbing minds with the opposition party. I have heard for months now that he has been in closed consultation with friends from another party because he was not sure that you, the leaders of PDP, will give him the ticket as governor in 2024.”

On Wednesday, Mr Shaibu told The Standard Gazette that, contrary to Godwin Obaseki’s claim, “it’s not true; it is all blackmail.”

The deputy governor had gone to court to stop his alleged impeachment. However, the governor claimed, “I am not aware of any plot or any scheme to impeach the Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shaibu. I have also checked, and there was no such plan.”

Again, Mr Shaibu disagreed, saying, “I’ll not go to court if there is no impeachment plan,” adding, “I am not a madman. We have been together for seven years, and I have never gone to court, and I am now going to court?”

Philip Shaibu, 53, had hoped to succeed Mr Godwin Obaseki, 66, in 2023. Even the governor hinted at the discussion he had with Mr Shaibu about succeeding him during his discussion with the Edo Northern elders.

“The last time we spoke of my successor after the House of Assembly election, I did say that we should be patient and that our task is to try and finish well and conclude all the projects we started. It’s only when we do this right that we will have the support of the people for my successor,” Obaseki told his guests.

Explaining why there is coldness between him and his boss, Mr Shahibu told the TSG that the summary of the entire fight between him and Obaseki is that “I am contesting for the governorship election. Nothing more.”

Why I haven’t spoken about this matter to anyone – Shaibu

Explaining why he had chosen to remain quiet on the issue, he described the situation as “shameful” as he hoped that “Obaseki might realize what he is doing and all of us will be back together. He added, “I am still committed to him, to the system, and my job is for the system to work, nothing more. I won’t join issues with him.”

The embattled deputy added, “By the time you bring all the politics in, all the politicians will start approving me or the governor to make money. My own side is clean; I will not tolerate anyone reporting the governor to me or me to the governor.”

Currently on vacation, the deputy governor said contesting for the governorship position is not about him or his ambition, saying, “I would have just walked away if it were just about me. It’s about the people. I will continue; I am not stopping.

“We will just pray to God so we can finish well and finish strong.”

After assuming control of the government house, the pair became disillusioned with their former benefactor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, the former governor of Edo State.

The struggle for control of Edo State intensified in 2016, ultimately resulting in their departure to the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party.

Despite his relationship with Oshiohole, Mr Shaibu stood by his boss and persevered through the challenges to help secure a second-term victory.

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