Thursday, February 22, 2024

Edo 2024: On Philip Shaibu’s miscalculation

BY FELIX OGUEJIOFOR ABUGU

“I will use this medium to appeal to Mr. Governor, if there is anything that I don’t know that I have done, please forgive me, so that we can develop our state together.

“Mr. Governor, please, if there is anything that you think I have done, I am sorry. I need us to work together to finish well and strong because that is my prayer for you.”

“I’m really missing my governor, and I know God will touch the governor’s heart and touch all of us and even those that are trying to be in-between. God will touch them to know that I mean well.

“Like I always tell people, I am a loyal servant; there is nothing that has changed. I took a personal vow to support the Governor, and you can see my Catholic people are here. Everything about me, if I have a vow with God, there is nothing that will change it.”

The above pledge was made by Edo State Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu, while addressing the press on September 21 this year, shortly after withdrawing his writs in courts against Godwin Obaseki, Edo State House of Assembly and security agencies.

He had sued them for an order of court against his rumoured impeachment by the House over accusation by the Governor that his Deputy was planning a coup against him.

However, barely two months later, Shaibu came out smoking.

“It is possible that Mr. Shaibu hasn’t seen the hand-writing on the wall of Edo politics. Isn’t it clear to him that as far as Edo 2024 is concerned, he has already found himself in political straits of sorts?”

Addressing the press in Abuja the previous week, November 19 to be precise, the Edo Deputy Governor declared: “With the 2024 Edo governorship election fast approaching, Edo people need practical governance, and you cannot experiment again with somebody who does not understand the politics of a good state and the needs of the people…I understand the debt profile of the state, and where I feel I can get funding to put up structure in the state. So, I won’t be coming to learn on the job, but to hit the ground running…Who is competent? Who is more experienced? Who will hit the ground running from day one?”

That was a dig at his principal who was a Lagos-based financial expert before his election in 2016 as ex-Governor Adams Oshiohmole’s successor.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with a Deputy Governor aspiring to succeed his principal.

However, in the case of Phillip Shaibu, the question is whether the path to realising his ambition should have been cut in thickets of the bickering, animosities, name-calling and bad blood that have dogged his relationship with his principal for some time now.

Could he not have avoided this thorny, acrimonious detour to the governorship seat he seems to desperately crave?

Or, better still, could it not have served his political career better if he had simply decided to cordially serve out this eight-year tenure with his principal and move on to other things?

It is possible that Mr. Shaibu hasn’t seen the hand-writing on the wall of Edo politics. Isn’t it clear to him that as far as Edo 2024 is concerned, he has already found himself in political straits of sorts?

One reason for his current undeniable discomfort even in his seemingly calm exterior is that Shaibu would appear to have allowed his ambition to get the better of him.

He may well be a narcissist, an iconoclast, who sees the world from only his own prism and is always ready to destroy cherished ideals or institutions of society for self-aggrandizement.

Otherwise, does it not occur to Shaibu that his governorship ambition runs counter to the Edo Charter of Equity (even if unwritten), of which he and Obaseki are current beneficiaries and are expected to pass the baton, as in a relay game, to the next person or group in line?

As someone from Edo North where Senator Adams Oshiohmole, the immediate past Governor of the State, also comes from, how viable does Shaibu consider his ambition?

As all keen watchers of Edo politics as well as insiders are wont to agree, Godwin Obaseki, who is from Edo South, is certain to hand over to someone from Edo Central, not back to someone from Edo North, barely eight years after Oshiohmole.

What, then, is the point in this acrimonious insistence by the Deputy Governor to run a fruitless race?

•Abugu is a veteran of over three decades in journalism and Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of AbeyaNews online.

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