Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu has formally declared his ambition for the 2024 governorship in the state despite facing strong opposition from Governor Godwin Obaseki, who appears to prefer another person as his successor.
Mr Shaibu, who made the declaration in a pre-recorded speech aired on Monday said, he will be contesting under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Channels television reported.
In his speech at Bishop Kelly Centre in Benin City, the venue of the event, Mr Shaibu, who has been at loggerheads with Governor Obaseki over his governorship ambition declared, “Nobody can stop my ambition,” Punch newspaper reported.
“I just want to appreciate all of you. We have started the journey and I decided together with all of us that after the consultation, we needed to make the answer to our consultation known to Edo people and the answer is clear.
“They (Edo people) have asked me to go and run and they said I am the one they see not just as a street boy but the original own boy that can live there.
“I can assure you that by the grace of God, we will deliver practical governance,” Mr Shaibu said.
Shut out from initial venue
Edo State is one of the states in Nigeria where off-cycle election is conducted.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed September 2024 for the governorship election.
Governor Obaseki, who appears to prefer another person as his successor, once described his deputy as being “overambitious.”
Eterno Hotel, Benin City, which was the initial venue for Mr Shaibu’s governorship declaration on Monday (today) was changed hours to the event after the hotel management informed Mr Shaibu that a political group loyal to Mr Obaseki has paid for and is using the venue the same time that Mr Shaibu’s declaration was scheduled for.
A staff of the hotel, who identified himself as “Ezekiel” confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on the telephone on Monday that the event was billed to be held at the hotel but he only learned of the sudden change this morning. Mr Ezekiel had no idea why the venue was changed.
The relationship between Governor Obaseki and his deputy has so deteriorated that Mr Shaibu had to seek court protection against perceived impeachment plots by lawmakers in the state.
He, however, withdrew the suit after prominent elders in the state mediated between him and Governor Obaseki.
The relationship between the two former political allies further worsened after Mr Obaseki relocated the Deputy Governor’s Office from Government House to another part of Benin City.
Mr Shaibu, despite the feud with Mr Obaseki and his previous apology to the governor, appears unperturbed as he declares to run for the governorship. He said with his years of political experience and having served for two terms as a state lawmaker and later as a federal lawmaker before becoming a deputy governor, he is better experienced to succeed Mr Obaseki in 2024.
“For me, competence and experience should be the watchword. Who is competent, more experienced and who will hit the ground running from day one if he becomes governor?
“Are we going to experiment with a new person again and the person will spend the first four years learning on the job and the next four years trying to embezzle and set up businesses in the name of consolidating on his first term?” Mr Shaibu said on Saturday in Abuja.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999