Following his differences with Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu, will join the All Progressives Congress, APC, next week, barring unforeseen circumstances.
The party’s National Working Committee, NWC, will receive him early next week, a high-ranking member of the ruling party at the centre, disclosed on condition of anonymity.
However, Shaibu’s flight into the APC appears to be facing turbulence on account of the stance of Senator Adams Oshiomhole, who declared, yesterday, that the party is not a rehabilitation centre for distressed politicians.
Oshiomhole, former national chairman of the APC, and a two-term governor of Edo State, handed over to Governor Obaseki. As APC chairman, he denied Obaseki and Shaibu the party’s re-election ticket, which forced the duo to join the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which gave them tickets and they won re-election in 2018.
Meanwhile, Shaibu has distanced himself from the move to the APC, which he described as another lie from the pit of hell, insisting that he would sink and swim with Obaseki.
This came as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, restated its August 4 order halting the alleged plot to impeach Shaibu as deputy governor and deferred the matter till August 22 for hearing.
Shaibu’s decision to return to the APC, which was predicted by political analysts, followed his move to the Federal High Court to seek an injunction against an alleged impeachment plot against him.
Governor Obaseki had, however, said the move by Shaibu to seek a court order to stop his purported impeachment was preemptive, ahead of his defection to the APC.
Shaibu’s defection confirmed
The source said: “It has been confirmed. We have it on good authority that Shaibu has concluded plans to join the APC. He is to be received along with a few of his supporters into the party early next week by the National Working Committee of the party.
“Shaibu has been in talks with the state and national leadership of the party, even before the feud between him and the governor went public and he has been negotiating his way back into the party.
“The deputy governor has now perfected his defection to the party and we are glad and ready to receive him into our fold.”
Obaseki had, while addressing leaders from Edo North senatorial district, where the deputy governor hails from, said he was “not aware of any plot or scheme to impeach Shaibu. I have also checked and there was no such plan.
“So, the court action taken, for me, is a thing of shock and disappointment. I believe that this action by him is a preemptive move to get a court order, keep his ticket and move to another party. I think it’s unfair for our party. We don’t need this sort of crisis.
“I am trying to reflect on the move made by somebody that I have given a broad latitude to do his work as deputy governor. So, for him to take this kind of action is shocking.”
Oshiomhole forecloses Shaibu’s defection to APC
In a veiled reference to Shaibu’s reported defection to the APC, Oshiomhole told journalists, shortly after paying a condolence visit to the family of the late Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, that irrespective of any political party in power, he wants peace for the state, adding that loyalty is expected in politics.
He said: “Regardless of party divide, it is my wish for Edo to be governed in peace and harmony because the supra-party to which we all belong to is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The rate of camping, decamping and re-camping shows that the only thing that is constant is Nigeria and not the political parties.
“What I read about somebody going to court to complain about being suspected of being impeached, I don’t know how courts adjudicate over suspicion.
“But let me say this, to say that somebody wants to run to the APC, I want to say APC is not a rehabilitation centre. I can tell you that for free.
“We in APC are satisfied the way we are; we are happy in opposition and we are not about to receive people who are coming because they have lost out. I want to say that there is no IDPs camp in APC.
“So, my advice is that those who are having challenges should learn how to respect their bosses. I have always advised people that whoever you work with, be loyal.
“I was here and I was unable to support my deputy to succeed me but my deputy never took me to court. And if there are people who always profit from crises, they cannot have my support.
“Regardless of what anybody will say, I come from only one of the clans in my local government, it would be nice if only my clan produced the governors but I know that Nigeria doesn’t work that way. There are those sentiments that people think that at this level of our development, things should go round.”
Defection to APC another lie from pit of hell – Shaibu
Reacting to reports of his defection to the APC, Shaibu in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ebomhiana Musa, said “hack writers are at it again.”
His words: “Mischief makers bent on destabilizing our dear Edo State are still at work. They will stop at nothing to widen the gulf between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu.
They have generated more lies from the pit of hell, saying that Shaibu has perfected plans to rejoin the All-Progressives Congress, 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 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 Obaseki.
“This, he has said severally at public fora. In view of this, I plead with these characters bent on driving a wedge between Shaibu and his boss, Governor Obaseki, to put the Edo project and the people far above their own selfish interest.”
Court renews order halting plot to impeach Shaibu
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has deferred till August 22, hearing of the suit Shuaibu filed to halt alleged plot to impeach him from office as deputy governor.
Also, the court, in a ruling by Justice Ahmed Mohammed restated the order it made on August 4, which mandated all the parties in the suit to maintain status quo ante bellum, pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Cited as 1st to 5th defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/ CS/1027/2023, are; the Inspector General of Police, State Security Service, Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly and the Chief Judge of Edo State.
At the resumed proceedings in the matter, yesterday, the 1st defendant, IGP, was not represented by a lawyer. The 2nd defendant, DSS, through its lawyer, Mr. I. Harold, told the court that it had yet to file any process to show cause why reliefs the deputy governor is seeking in the suit should not be granted.
He contended that the Edo State deputy governor was wrong to join the security agency as a party in the suit.
Besides, Herold, told the court that the agency has filed a counter affidavit to challenge the competence of the main suit.
Meanwhile, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. George Ibrahim, told the court that the IGP, who was not represented, was duly served with a hearing notice on August 4.
While Governor Obaseki was represented by Ms. R. Okotiebo, the Attorney General of Edo State, Oluwole Uzzi, announced his appearance for the Chief Judge of Edo State who is the 5th Defendant in the matter.
Following failure by some of the defendants to file their processes, Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter, even as he ordered the service of hearing notices on all the parties.
Justice Mohammed directed all the parties to continue to maintain the status quo ante bellum, pending the determination of the case.