Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS) has reportedly denied Philip Shaibu, Deputy Governor of Edo State access to his principal Governor Godwin Obaseki.
It was learnt that Shaibu was one of the guests who attended the church service to mark the 32nd anniversary of the creation of the state, held at the New Festival Hall of the Government House, Benin City, on Sunday.
According to Daily Trust, as the deputy governor stood up to greet Obaseki, a DSS operative blocked him just a few metres away.
Obaseki, who was seated beside his wife, Betsy, and Charles Aniagwu, a former commissioner, reportedly looked away as Shaibu made futile attempts to talk his way out of the situation. When the security operative refused to budge, the deputy governor returned to his seat.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Andrew Okungbowa, while reacting to the issue, noted that the DSS operative was only doing his job.
“Whatever happened at the church service was not at the behest of the governor, neither was he aware of what the security aides were doing. “In fact, the security aides were doing their job. Besides, the governor was not aware that the deputy was coming to greet him. The church is a public event, so the security aides had a duty to safeguard their principal,” he said.
However, while speaking with journalists at the venue, the deputy governor pledged loyalty to the governor, describing Obaseki as his ‘elder brother’.
He said: “My loyalty to the Edo governor remains absolute. I see that everybody is doing solidarity. I am also in solidarity with the governor. I am also declaring my unalloyed solidarity and loyalty to the governor.
“As for the issues that were around town when I was away (in the United States of America), I really would not want to talk. Issues that concern my governor are not things I like to speak about. He is my elder brother and boss. I do not think I should talk about anything.
“If I have issues with him (Obaseki), it is better settled at home, and not in the media. I am well brought up.
“I can tell you that from my Christian background if you make a vow with God that you want to do something, you must fulfil it. And the vow I have taken with God is that I will continue to support Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State, from the beginning to the end. But that does not stop anything that has to do with ambition. Ambition is personal, and it does not affect loyalty. My loyalty to the governor remains absolute.”
Governor Obaseki recently admitted that there was a rift between him and his deputy, Shaibu.
According to the governor, Shaibu has become so desperate to succeed him that he can do anything to remove him (Obaseki) from office.
Obaseki who spoke while addressing stakeholders in a video recently posted by AIT, revealed how his deputy, Shaibu allegedly conspired with seven members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state House of Assembly to enthrone another Speaker in the House against his preferred choice.
He asked how Shaibu could be so desperate to succeed him ahead of the Edo governorship election in 2024, without even telling him that he was interested in succeeding him.
He said, “The constitution makes me the governor of Edo State and I know the powers of a governor. The constitution does not provide for a co-governor. Does it? It provides a deputy governor who carries out responsibilities the governor gives to him, it does not give him the power of the governor.
“Before now, he has been going around saying he is consulting because after the national assembly elections we met, we had a small meeting and I said ‘Look I know the next major election will be the governorship election, how to choose the person who will succeed me but it is too early.
“The things we do now, and how we finish well will determine how strong we are to sell the person who will take over. But more importantly, we must solidify our party (Peoples Democratic Party) because PDP must by the Grace of God produce the next governor.’”
“Till tomorrow, the deputy has never come to meet me one-on-one to say ‘Oga, you know what, I am thinking of running oh! I want to see how I can succeed you when you finish’. Meanwhile, he said he is consulting and I kept quiet and said if you think I am someone you impose your idea on when you have finished consulting I will be watching. I didn’t say anything.
“He is going around doing all sorts; let me go back to the main issue, what happened and created this problem.”
“He went to Abuja and was boasting that he has connections in Abuja, that he has people in the national assembly, that they are all with the president now, that they will take care of him,” Obaseki said.
“That if he cannot get the ticket in PDP, he knows what to do.
“I kept quiet and said I thought we were together. But what struck me, and I have never said this to anybody, is that after I proclaimed the House of Assembly, we were now going to elect officers.
“He was in Abuja, he came back that day. I am the chief security officer of this state. I get any information I need. But I have the responsibility to keep quiet and use the information properly.
“My deputy called the leader in APC, telling that leader that during the elections on the next day, particularly the Speaker of the House of Assembly, he has five members who are loyal to him and that he would like the seven members of APC to work with his five members of PDP to produce the next Speaker.”