The Channels interview was conducted by the television station’s reporter, Seun Okinbaloye.
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, apparently reacting to the Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu’s comments in the interview, said Mr Shaibu was being ungrateful to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which offered him and Governor Godwin Obaseki a platform to contest and win their second term in 2020 after they were barred by their former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) from contesting the party governorship primaries in Edo.
Mr Obaseki came out in defence of Mr Shaibu. He told Mr Wike clearly that the PDP was not his personal property, and that “in Edo, we don’t accept political bullies and overlords”, prompting Mr Wike to fire back at him, calling him a “tenant” in PDP.
We understand you’ve concluded plans to leave PDP back to APC, how true is that?
Mr Shaibu: For me as Philip Shaibu, I have no plans now to leave. But for Philip Shaibu and his followers and followers of Obaseki that left APC to PDP, they all plan to leave PDP. But to where? For now, I don’t know. We feel not accepted in PDP that is the reason we are actually thinking it is time to leave. But the truth is the governor had been appealing and you can see from yesterday’s meeting. Some of us were not happy with the governor’s statement that he’s not leaving PDP.
So, for some of us, we felt we left APC because of the governor not because we wanted to join PDP. We left APC because of the oppression that APC National Chairman (Adams Oshiomhole) meted on the governor and for some of us that hate oppression, we decided to jettison our relationship with the godfather to follow the governor to PDP.
Having escorted him (Obaseki) there, we have not been accepted into PDP and for us we are now telling the governor, it is either now or we leave.
Governor Obaseki has been your principal and you’ve been working with him for five years or so now, is it possible that you leave him in the PDP and go to another party. Is it possible that we see Gov Obaseki in the PDP and Philip Shuaibu, the deputy governor in another political party, is that a possibility because the governor has said he’s not leaving?
Mr Shaibu: We followed the governor because of oppression, like I said, and we escorted him, not because some of us wanted to join PDP and we are PDP now, and we expect that we are integrated.
And when I said we, (it’s) not just Philip Shaibu, I am talking about Anselm Ojezua and the state working committee, ward chairmen and the executives, the leaders of APC then and all the well-wishers that left to join PDP because of Obaseki. We have been meeting, and we have said we need to be integrated.
Anselm Ojezua resigned his membership as chairman of the state (APC), the ward chairmen resigned, other executives resigned to join PDP. As I speak, they’ve not been integrated. We’re talking about harmonisation, they’ve refused to harmonise, and for some of us, that means they are not welcome to PDP. When you’re talking, don’t just limit it to Philip Shaibu, it is not about Philip Shaibu, it’s about all of us. And like I said, I hate oppression.
The people (PDP) say they gave you a platform to win election and you came and you sort of pushed everyone aside, brought in your structure, (and) used the existing structure to win election without properly recognising those who have held sway in the party over the years.
The party was strong (enough) for you to recognise it, used it to win (the) election. These are some of the issues that they (PDP) raised against the leadership of Governor Obaseki and yourself in the PDP.
Mr Shaibu: We are not saying dismantle and drive (out) everybody and accept us. We are saying create room for X, just as we have done in the appointments in government.
We created space for the old PDP that we met, they’re commissioners. As I speak, in my local government, they have one slot. In Edo North, they have one slot. So, we are saying create (the) same opportunity for some of these our people, we are not saying all but some of these our people that resigned their executive positions, resigned their membership, give them some slots in PDP.
I see myself alone in PDP and I look left and right, I am not seeing the guys that asked us to move to PDP, they are not being accommodated. It is not about Philip Shaibu, don’t limit it to Philip Shaibu.
Can you tell us who the people are? When we say ‘they’, who are the ‘they’ that you’re referring to, can you mention the names? Who are these people that you are talking about?
Mr Shaibu: If I want to mention names I will say the national because at the state level we have harmonised. We had a harmonised list as we speak at the state, old PDP and new PDP harmonised list. That list needs to be ratified by the national and the national have not ratified that list. Elections are coming.
Some of our people have ambition, some want to contest for the House of Assembly, Some want to go for (House of Representatives) Reps and the rest. Who do they go to, is it the harmonised or the old PDP?
So, as we speak, we don’t even know where to go. We need the National (executive of PDP) to come and resolve these issues and they’ve been moving the goal post from one end to the other and very soon electioneering will start. So, for us we are tired of these games. We want to know the harmonised list, is it the one we’re following?
Let’s clarify this, Sir. Is it the national chairman that is in the way or the zonal leadership of the party in the South-south? Because if you say locally you don’t have a problem, then we need to know where the problem is coming from.’
Mr Shaibu: I would not want to blame it on the national chairman but I also will blame him because the issues are before him since he took over leadership and he has not called for a meeting to resolve the Edo (PDP) crisis. This crisis has been there for long, and we expect that the chairman and his executives would have settled down to look at Edo and to resolve the issues in Edo and he has not called, so, partly I would say the chairman and his executives.
If you’re blaming the present structure there will be a question, this (crisis) has been lingering even before the national convention which brought Iyorchia Ayu.
Mr Shaibu: I said partly I would blame the national chairman presently because we say we (should) allow him to settle down? And I am sure he has fully settled and we expected that by now, this issue would have been resolved and that’s why I said partly I would blame the present leadership because we expected that Edo would have been one of those first areas that they will resolve, but up till now, there’s no way forward.
We’ve been hearing the national chairman is coming, the governor has been assuring us the national chairman is coming. Last week he told us he’s coming. This week again he said he’s coming. I can tell you the pressure is much and for me I am not used to keeping quiet when my people are not happy because politics is about people, not an individual.
I will like you to also clarify this. There was an arrangement when you and the governor were moving to PDP for the purpose of winning an election and there was an agreement on the sharing formula, the position and the structure of the party. What was that structure that you agreed on?
Mr Shaibu: There were some meetings that I know I attended, there was no discussion on where and how things would be shared because don’t forget that as at the time we came in everything was just fast.
So, after the election, that was when the governor now called everybody and said, now that we’ve won the election, now there’s need to integrate because there was no time for all these integration thing and that was when the issue of harmonisation came but, unfortunately, the then leadership could not finish before the convention and we were told after the convention all the issues of harmonisation will take place and as we speak nothing has happened.
So, there was no clear cut definition of what was going to happen in terms of party positions, in terms of appointments. On our own, we feel we met some persons in PDP, we cannot drive them (out) but we are saying some people resigned as state chairman, 95 per cent of APC executives moved to PDP and we are saying give them some slots just like we did in the appointments.
The accusation is that you and the governor are not accommodating people that you met (in PDP). People have made an allusion that you came to other people’s home and they fed you and after you want to chase them from the house, that’s the allegation that they are making.
That in fact, you’re the one that is pushing them out. For example, where does this leave the former chairman of PDP in Edo State, where do you go from here?
Mr Shaibu: Tony Aziegbemi is the chairman of PDP in Edo state and he’s still the chairman. We have no issue about him and there is no contest about that. He’s the state chairman and there are other positions that are there and we look at the harmonised list, the old PDP are still having majority of party executives.
The new PDP are having just few and they’re refusing those few and even those that we give commissioners, they still brought old PDP to replace those that we’re giving commissioners. We are ready to co-exist.
But we are saying to coexist, give some space to some of our people that asked that we should join PDP and resign their appointment. It is not about that we want to drive anybody, no we are not driving anybody, we want more people. As we speak we’re doing registration. We’ve registered over 500,000 people into PDP.
So, when they want to blackmail they say you want to leave the party. It is not about leaving the party but we are saying we want to be a member of PDP in full and if there’s no space for us, don’t forget that there are many political parties.
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