Edo Deputy Governor locked out of office in battle with Obaseki


The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, was locked out of his office at the Government House in Benin City on Monday, deepening a rift with Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Shaibu and Obaseki have been having a running battle over next year’s governorship election.

Obaseki’s two-term tenure will end in 2024 and Shaibu, who has been his deputy since 2016, is inching to succeed him, whereas Obaseki has his mind on someone else.

The crisis has escalated in recent months, with Shaibu accusing Obaseki of plotting his impeachment and heading for the court to block such a move.

He later withdrew the suit following the intervention of some People’s Democratic Party chieftains and stakeholders in the state.

But the rift has continued, with the Deputy Governor’s office being moved to an uncompleted building outside Edo Government House and his media team being disbanded after an altercation between Shaibu and some aides of Obaseki.

On Monday, Shaibu arrived at the Government House to find the gate leading to his office under lock and key. He was forced to turn back and return to his new office.

The incident has sparked outrage among Shaibu’s supporters, who have accused Obaseki of abuse of power and victimization.

The PDP has also condemned the action, calling on Obaseki to resolve his differences with his deputy amicably.

The Civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has also cautioned Obaseki to step carefully in the imbroglio between him and Shaibu.

HURIWA stated in a statement by its coordinator, Emma Onwubiko that “We have read series of stories in the media regarding the unacceptable level of pettiness that has become the governance modus operandi of the Edo State governor His Excellency Godwin Obaseki particularly with regards to his absolute disrespect for the office of the deputy governor of Edo State occupied by virtue of a joint ticket by His Excellency Comrade Philip Shaibu.

“The two actions that speak to this act of treachery is that of expulsion of the deputy governor out of the premises of the government house in Benin City to a street flooded by muddied and dirty latrine water.

“And secondly, the refusal of the security officers attached to the government house to grant access to the deputy governor and thus presenting the high office of the deputy governor as that of an unwanted irritant when in fact there can’t be the office of state governor without that of deputy governor.

“We think that the Edo State House of Assembly, if it exists, should investigate if these decisions of the governor against his deputy fall within the jurisdiction of decisions made in an atmosphere of ‘unsound mind’ in which case if the legislators determine that the quality of such decisions can be so classified to have possibly originated from ‘directives emanating from an unsound mind’, they should impeach the governor.

“There is the need for the house to constitute an investigative panel including clinical psychological experts to examine if it is possible for such decisions against the deputy governor who holds a joint mandate with the governor to have originated from ‘a sound mind’. But if the contrary is the determination reached by the House that such decisions are from a sound mind, then the people of Edo State should be told transparently.”

HURIWA said the decisions of the governor against his deputy should be looked at to see if they are impeachable offences or not.

“The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has been denied access to his old office at the Government House in Benin, the state capital.

“Shaibu arrived at the Government House on Monday morning but met the gate leading to his office under lock and key.

“He said he was yet to receive a formal letter from the governor’s office and that according to him is the proper channel to transmit a directive pertaining to the relocation to a new office.

“Up till now, I don’t have any official communication that I should relocate. The only people that have official communication are my civil servants. The civil servants have official communication but I don’t. As I am speaking to you now, I am standing by the gate,” he said while on a phone call to a yet-to-be-identified person.”

Last week, a letter said to be from the office of the Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, was reported to have been sent to the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor directing Shaibu to relocate to a new office situated at No 7, Dennis Osadebey Avenue, GRA, Benin City.

HURIWA insisted that sources close to Edo’s number two citizen claimed that the new office is abandoned and in dire need of rehabilitation adding, “The development is the latest in the tussle between Governor Obaseki and his deputy. While there have been speculations about plans to impeach Shaibu, the Edo Assembly has denied such.

“Obaseki had also accused his deputy of plotting a coup against him. But at a recent gathering to mark the anniversary of the state’s creation, Shaibu described his principal as a brother, saying he remains loyal to him despite their political differences.”