Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Critical stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo State, have been mounting pressure on the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to drop his Deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu as his running mate in the state’ governorship election holding next year, THISDAY has learnt.
Multiple sources gave insight into the state’s political undercurrents at the weekend, claiming that the deputy governor might edged out despite that he was a political godson of the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole.
One of the sources claimed that the pressure “is coming from some APC leaders in the Estako, Edo North Senatorial District where the deputy governor came from.”
The source explained that Shaibu “is regarded as a confident and ‘political son’ of Oshiomhole. However, he is no longer in the good book of the state’s former governor.”
Consequently, according to the source, leaders from his constituency are asking for his removal as a condition for them to support Obaseki’s second term bid.
Another party source said the leaders had pencilled down some names to be presented as Shaibu’s replacement with a view to whittle down his powers ahead of 2024 when the governorship seat will probably be zoned out of Edo South.
He named those pushing for Shaibu’s removal to include the APC leaders from Auchi, Fugar, Okpella, Jattu, Owan East and Agenebode from Edo North senatorial district.
The source explained that part of Shaibu’s sins were that he opted “to support Obaseki‘s second term agenda and the role he played in the political wrangling between Uzairue and Auchi.”
A top government official, however, said Obaseki would decide Shaibu’s fate in November 2019 when his administration clocked three years.
President of the Estako Solidarity Forum, Mr. Saidu Momoh confirmed the pressure to drop Shaibu, noting that the group would wait for Obaseki to formally declare for second term before taking a stand.
In a swift reaction, the Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Mr. Musa Ebomhiena , said it is laughable and irritating because Edo governorship election is still far away.
According to him, how can people be talking about an election that is coming late next year? Those behind this are people who want to create a wage between the governor and his deputy for their self end
He said the governor “has strong confidence on his deputy and that was why when he proceeded on his annual leave, he transmitted a letter to the state assembly so that his deputy can act on his behalf
“This has not happened before since the present dispensation in Edo State. Those peddling the rumour do not like the cordial relationship between the two.
“Having being disappointed seeing a smooth working relationship between Obaseki and Shaibu, his deputy, they are now looking for a way to cause disaffection between the two.
“The relationship between the two is like that of a snail and it shell. You cannot separate both. That is why I said it not only laughable, but irritating”, He stressed.