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‘Comrade, Do Not Say I Told You. Did You See Philip Around?’ Obaseki Patches His Bridge To Oshiomole, Dumps Deputy

The Oasis Reporters

August 29, 2023






The whisper and the chuckle. Obaseki, Oshiomole.

By Greg Abolo

For avid watchers and followers of political matters in Edo State, it doesn’t look like all is well between the State governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu anymore.


This really should be no cause for concern because in Nigerian politics, rarely would you find governors and their deputies on the same page from start to finish. Indeed, even between a president and his vice, a time would come when they would hardly talk to each other. We saw it between Babangida and Ukiwe, between Abacha and Diya and between Obasanjo and Atiku.

Even in the larger African continent, the animosity between then president Uhuru Kenyatta and his former Vice, now President William Ruto of Kenya, that same animosity was evident.

In Nigeria, rare is the case of a governor supporting his deputy to succeed him. Even when it happens, the two leaders often pounce on each other and the legacies are torn to shreds soon afterwards.

Then came the experiment in Edo State. It seemed refreshingly different. The outgoing governor at the time, Adams Oshiomole looked over his deputy and picked a technocrat, Godwin Obaseki as successor.

He also gave him another gift. That of a deputy. Oshiomole gave Philip Shaibu to Obaseki as his deputy. He backed them to the hilt, and the duo won. The stage was set to have Adams Oshiomole as the looming godfather.

But there was a little snag. Philip Shaibu is from the same political zone as Oshiomole. Yet Edo State sits on a tripod. In order for fairness to reign and cohesiveness to be enthroned, the governorship office ought to rotate from one zone to the other.

Oshiomole is from Edo North. After 8 years in office, the next governor to come was Obaseki from Edo South. Fairness doctrine dictates that the next governor after Obaseki should be from Edo Central.

Philip Shaibu is from Edo North, like Oshiomole. But governor Obaseki took Shaibu to heart and showed him unusual love. Where governors and deputies put up only smiling faces in public for the photo ops, in private, they fight bitterly. Reason you have very many famous governors dumping their deputies after the first tenure. Such deputy governors quickly slide into oblivion. Cases abound in almost all the regions of Nigeria.

In the case of Edo State, the synergy was unprecedented. Obaseki could go on vacation and duly hand over to Shaibu to act as governor. The Oasis Reporters regularly publish news from Edo State, so we know. We have several thousand photos and videos from Edo State as evidence.

Whenever Obaseki is receiving visiting dignitaries, or hosting events, Shaibu would be found by his side.

L-R: Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Governor Godwin Obaseki; Senator Daisy Danjuma, and Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, during the commissioning of the Senator Daisy Danjuma Women Centre, in Benin City, on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.



L-R: Controller, Correctional Service, Edo State Command, Emehinola; Commanding Officer, Nigeria Army 4 Brigade, Brigadier General Danlami Ndahi; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Dankwara, and Commander of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), after the monthly Security Council meeting, at the Government House, in Benin City, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.


L-R: Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq.; Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, during the Code of Ethics Engagement programme for the Senior Management Staff in Edo State Civil/Public Service (Grade Level 12-17), at the Government House in Benin City, on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

At the end of their first four years in office, things fell apart between Adams Oshiomole ( the erstwhile former governor of Edo State who would probably have loved to be seen as the godfather) and the successor, Godwin Obaseki.

The rift between the two of them was so debilitatingly serious, to the extent that Adams Oshiomole orchestrated the denial of a reelection ticket to Obaseki.
So embittered was Obaseki that he left the All Progressive Congress (APC), to be welcomed into the arms of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).


To prove his loyalty to Obaseki, Shaibu joined him in the PDP, thus dumping Oshiomole who brought him to political limelight.

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus (right) presenting the party’s flag to Governor Godwin Obaseki (2nd right) who is flanked by his running mate, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, and other party leaders, at the flag-off of the party’s campaign for the September 19, 2020 governorship election, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, on Saturday July 25, 2020 .File photo.
R-L: Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Pro Chancellor, Edo University, Iyamho, Emeritus Prof. Thomas Audu, and the Vice Chancellor, Edo University, Iyamho, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, during a courtesy visit by the university’s Governing Council to Governor Obaseki, at the Government House, Benin City. File photo.

With his sterling performance as governor in the first term as testimonial, Obaseki easily won the election for a second term and the descent into political oblivion seemed to stare at Oshiomole’s political miscalculation.

As time went on, dreams of the likely successor to Godwin Obaseki started being dreamt. So far, Shaibu who has received enormous pampering from his days as a House of Assembly member to the time he was a House of Representatives legislator and then, deputy governor, it seemed he didn’t look at the wall clock at Dennis Osadebey House and the calendar, therefore his dreams were interpreted as massive.

Edo Central watched the dynamics with unease. There’s one thing people say about Obaseki. He kind of resents the syndrome of entitlement. He made his move.

The events in the last two months have been a revelation. For the first time in about six years or so, there are events that shut Shaibu out. His media team has been shunted to the side.

The broken bridge between his end to the side of his estranged benefactor Oshiomole has been fixed and both of them can whisper sweet nothings into the ear of the other.

Their groove is back.


Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (left), with former Edo State Governor and Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, at the 60th anniversary of the Midwest Referendum, in Benin City, on Monday, August 28, 2023.

But in politics, nobody knows the next few seconds. Therefore there is no final word on Shaibu.

We know that Midwest at 60 (diamond jubilee) was being celebrated and Philip Shaibu was not seen in the ‘precincts’. Oshiomole was there. He has come out of the cold.

Edonimosé. It means, “Edo that is beautiful” in Bini language.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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