Less than 24 hours after Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, opened up on the crisis between him and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, the latter has said his boss is a victim of political jobbers.
He said there is no rift between him and the governor, describing reports to that effect as the imagination of fifth columnist.
Obaseki had accused Shaibu of working against his interest, describing the situation as a “coup” against him.
He made the allegation in Jattu during a meeting with elders and leaders from Etsako West, East and Central Local Government Areas of the state.
The governor said: “My deputy called the leader in APC, telling that leader that during the elections on the next day, particularly the Speaker of the House of Assembly, that he has five members who are loyal to him and that he would like the seven members of APC to work with his five members of PDP to produce the next speaker.
“As far as I am concerned, that was not working in our common interest.
“Why would the deputy governor seek to have another speakership candidate outside of what the governor wants? Are we working together?
“That was when I knew we had a problem. The deputy governor has become so desperate to take over. He would do anything, including carrying out a coup.”
But Shaibu while briefing his aides, yesterday, dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying they are malicious attempts by those he described as political jobbers hell-bent on misleading the governor.
He said the aim of those behind the development is to damage his reputation and sow seeds of discord between him and the governor.
According to Shaibu, political jobbers sold the coup dummy to the governor whom he referred to as his ‘elder brother’ to provoke more crises so they could profit from it.
He said it is preposterous to contemplate a coup against a man who has given him so much latitude to operate.
Shaibu reiterated his unwavering loyalty to Governor Obaseki and the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, PDP, adding that it is a privilege to serve as Obaseki’s deputy in the last seven years.
“Governor Obaseki and myself are committed to the continued development of Edo State. We are united in our determination to build a prosperous and inclusive society. I call on all well-meaning individuals to reject these divisive narratives and join in the quest to transform Edo State into a model of sustainable development and good governance. Edo State PDP politicians should embrace peace and seek unity to fight the common enemy,” one of his aides who was at the meeting quoted him as saying.
He said: “Any insinuation that he harbours ulterior motives or seeks to undermine the governor’s leadership is nothing short of a fabrication.
“I have consistently advocated for policies and initiatives that align with this administration’s goals and aspirations. It is disheartening to see such baseless allegations being propagated, as they only serve to distract the administration from its primary objective of serving the people of Edo State.”
The deputy governor urged the media and the public to approach these allegations with scepticism, while he encouraged all to focus on the issues that truly matter to the people of Edo State.
Shaibu said he remains an unrepentant democrat who believes in the democratic process and respects the mandate given to Governor Obaseki and himself by the people of Edo State.
He said the allegation that he would consider a ‘coup’ to overthrow a democratically elected government is not only absurd but also deeply offensive.
Meanwhile, fresh facts emerged at the weekend that contrary to earlier allegations, the deputy governor did not refuse to join the governor in the selection of commissioners in Etsako.
According to a top PDP source from the state, the governor had on that day sent his deputy to proceed to Edo North to resolve some political issues.
The source said:”He was on his way when the Chief of Staff to the governor called that the governor needed his attention in Benin.
“The deputy allegedly told the CoS to inform the governor that he was already close to Afuze axis to address the issue he directed him to do. The governor allegedly acknowledged this call.
“The appointment of political office holders is the prerogative of the governor. Therefore, if a governor decides to allow his deputy to nominate candidates to fill any position, it is a privilege. But political jobbers who also include hack writers have generated more lies from the pit of hell, saying that Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu has perfected plans to rejoin the All Progressives Congress, APC, next week. There is no iota of truth in this.
“To further put a lie to this, the spin doctors claimed that the APC National Working Committee, NWC is set to receive him in Abuja. The question here for the discerning minds is that, is it the NWC of a party that receives a decampee into the party? Shaibu has never minced words, vowing to sink and swim with his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki. This, he has said severally at public fora.
“These evil men have come up with unbelievable accusations like coming late to state Executive Council meetings, attempting to slap the Secretary to the State Government, being the brain behind feuds between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the governor as well as befriending Nyesom Wike and Dan Orbih among others.
“In view of this, I plead with these characters bent on driving a wedge between Comrade Philip Shaibu and his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, to put the Edo project and the people far above their own selfish interests.’’
The frosty relationship between the duo came to the limelight following Shaibu’s suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, where he sought to prevent an alleged impeachment plot
Shaibu, in an ex parte motion filed on July 28, asked the court to restrain the defendants from preventing him from carrying out his role as deputy governor.
According to the court documents, the Inspector-General of Police, state security service, governor of Edo, Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, and Chief judge of Edo State, were listed as 1st to 5th defendants respectively.
The deputy governor asked the court to restrain the governor, the Speaker of the state assembly and the Chief Judge, from “initiating impeachment proceedings or sanctioning any impeachment” against him. Shaibu