Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Crack in the cabinet of Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki came to the fore Saturday with the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Mr. Francis Taiwo Akerele.
Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters in charge of Edo North, Hon. Kabiru Adjoto was said to have thrown in the towel.
With Akerele’s resignation, Obaseki appointed Osaze Uzamere, the son of Senator Ehigie Uzamere, who represented Edo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly between 2007 and 2011, as his Chief of Staff.
While Adjoto could not be reached for confirmation of his exit from the government, Akerele, in a statement confirming his resignation, said his exit was based on principles, administrative and governance grounds
He wrote: “My decision to exit the government is based on administrative and governance grounds. I am solidly with His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki in his quest to transform Edo State. His mission and vision resonates with mine.
“This is all I have to say: I will like to be given opportunity to go private as I part ways administratively with the government based on principles.
“I thank his excellency for giving me opportunity to serve in this capacity and also, thanks to His Royal Majesty, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II for his immense leadership and support during the period I served in this capacity. May his reign be long and peaceful!”
Although Akerele said his resignation was based on principle, THISDAY learnt that there had been a long disagreement between him and his principal as well as other top government functionaries.
THISDAY also learnt that Akerele was always sitting on the fence in the political difference between his principal and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
A government source said: “This created suspicion between him and the governor as well as other top government functionaries, who now see him as a mole and decided to sideline him when critical decision are being taken. It was as a result of this he decided to call it quit.”
Speaking with THISDAY, Akerele said: “Whenever I am travelling out of the state, I always go along with my personal effects, because the way it is, I may be on the way to hear I have been removed. That is the way government is structured.”
That notwithstanding, the rift between the Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu and Adjoto has been identified as the reason behind the latter’s resignation.
Adjoto, according to sources, left because he could no longer stomach the imbalance in the sharing formula agreement he had with Shaibu regarding the spoils from the war Obaseki is waging against Oshiomhole with both of them on the driving seats.
Obaseki, sometime ago, was alleged to have accused his deputy of being the cause of all the political crises in the state as well as igniting his rift with Oshiomhole, which ought not to have begun in the first place.
As a way of showing his displeasure, the governor was said to have relieved Shaibu of his initial appointment as Chairman of Edo State COVID-19 response team.
Meanwhile, Obaseki, while approving the appointment of Uzamere as his Chief of Staff, in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, said the appointment took immediate effect.
An investment banker, Uzamere, 38, is a graduate of Stony Brook University, New York, where he majored in Computer and Electrical Engineering.
He had stints with Lehman Brothers and South Grade Engineering, among others. A thoroughbred professional, he had, before his appointment, served as Executive Assistant to Obaseki.