Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has allegedly asked his deputy Philip Shaibu to publicly drop his ambition to run for the 2024 state governorship poll or be excluded from all government activities, including the state Executive Council meetings.
The governor, who is from Edo South Senatorial district, and Shaibu (from Edo North) are reportedly at loggerheads over the latter’s ambition.
Obaseki allegedly supports Asue Ighodalo, a lawyer from Edo Central and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alaghodaro, an annual investment drive by the state government.
Shaibu has, however, insisted that he would partake in the governorship election.
According to The Nation, Obaseki held the state’s weekly executive council meeting/ retreat in Lagos without Shaibu.
Obaseki allegedly sent the deputy governor to Abuja, apparently to get him away from the meeting/retreat.
The two-day retreat for newly-appointed Edo commissioners and other top officials of the government was tagged: “Exco Retreat with Mr. Governor.”
An Obaseki ally, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the retreat was a yearly ritual for strategic events to brainstorm on the programmes of the government and set an agenda for the coming year.
It was gathered that during the retreat, Obaseki told members of his cabinet that should Shaibu dare to participate in the Peoples Democratic Party governorship primaries, his security vote and participation in government activities would be halted.
A source said: “Obaseki surreptitiously sent Shaibu to represent him in two Abuja events, while he (Edo governor) went to a Lagos resort, along with his commissioners and heads of Edo Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), to hold the state’s weekly exco meeting, without any prior notice to Shaibu on either the change of exco meeting’s day or venue.
“Obaseki’s decision to send his deputy on a wild-goose chase to Abuja is connected to his (Edo governor’s) decision to ensure that his deputy could not justifiably argue that he was deliberately schemed out of the Lagos exco meeting when he was also on state assignments.
“Shaibu was deliberately not informed of any decision to hold the exco meeting on Monday instead of the usual Wednesday or that it would be taken to Lagos.
“Notice of the meeting was kept top secret and deliberately shielded from the deputy to ensure that even if he managed to return to Benin City from his Abuja assignments before the end of the meeting, he would not be able to attend.
“Edo governor does not want his deputy to be with him at the Lagos exco meeting and retreat until he is able to meet all conditions set for reconciliation, one of which is that he must publicly renounce his governorship ambition, for Obaseki to consolidate on his choice of Asue Ighodalo as his successor.”