Edo: Face-off Between Governor Obaseki, And Deputy Shaibu
• He uses security officials to harass me; refused to pick my calls eight times
• Accused me of dining with his enemies
• Edo govt official accuses Shaibu of declaring war on gov
• Court orders maintenance of status quo in alleged impeachment plot
The cold war between Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, blew open yesterday with the latter going public with alleged serial humiliation he has been subjected to by his principal over the last one month.
Shaibu claimed he has even been penciled down for impeachment by the governor through the State House of Assembly.
Immediate relief however came the way of the deputy governor after the Federal High Court Abuja, to which he ran for intervention, ordered status quo ante belum pending when the respondents in the suit will be able to show cause why they should not be restrained.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in the certified true copy (CTC) of the motion which was seen yesterday, asked the plaintiff and the defendants to allow things remain the way they were before the suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/1027/2023 was filed.
The defendants are the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the State Security Service (SSS), the Edo State Governor, the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly and the Chief Judge of Edo State.
Justice Mohammed said: “It is hereby directed that parties shall maintain status quo ante bellum pending when the defendants have shown cause as directed by the court in its ruling of 27/07/2023.”
The judge directed the issuance of hearing notices in the IGP, SSS and the Governor (who were not represented in court by any lawyer) and adjourned till August 10.
Shuaibu said he incurred the wrath of the governor after expressing his interest to contest the next governorship election in the state on the platform of their party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
The deputy governor said that sequel to his public declaration to seek the PDP governorship ticket, Obaseki has been denying him opportunity to function in his official capacity, including threat to withdraw his security details.
He therefore sought, in the suit commenced via originating summons, for an order restraining Obaseki, the Speaker, the Chief Judge and their agents from taking steps to impeach him or constitute a seven-member panel to investigate him for the purpose of his removal from office.
He also prayed the court to issue an order restraining the IGP, SSS and the Governor from withdrawing the security details attached to him and his office.
Shuaibu, in the supporting affidavit, detailed the genesis of the friction between him and his principal, saying: “Sometime this year, I made clearly known my intention to contest for the post of Governor of Edo State upon the expiration of the tenure of the 3rd defendant (Obaseki) in the year 2024 with my experience as the Deputy Governor of the state for eight years.
“Ever since I made known my intention, the 3rd defendant was not pleased and openly told me to jettison any idea of succeeding him in office, to which I refused and has since then become his enemy.
“The 3rd defendant has been doing all he can to prevent me from carrying out my official functions as the Deputy Governor of the state and has ever since refused to involve me in all matters pertaining to the state administration of which I hitherto participated and acted creditably with commendation.”
Shuaibu listed instances when Obaseki and his agents allegedly prevented him from performing his official functions.
His words: “On Thursday, 13th July, 2023, a circular (letter) emanated from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to all MDAs that all Ministries, MDAs including Local Government Councils should henceforth deal with Mr. Governor, saddled with the responsibility of Internally Generated Revenue, which used to come through my office.
“The office of the 3rd defendant posted, as usual, the schedule of meetings of the Governor for Monday, 17th July 2023.
“Amongst the meetings for that day was the one scheduled for 11:00am with HOLGAs, bankers, tech partners, EIRS and Edo-GIS – which was to hold at the State Executive Chambers.
“Before the appointed time at the Exco Chambers, all the named persons and bodies, including the Deputy Governor and the SSG, were all seated.
“The said meeting for 11:00am at the State Executive Council Chambers however never held as the 3rd defendant did not come to the Chambers for the meeting, but the attendees, except the Deputy Governor, were invited into the Governor’s Office by the Chief of Staff to Mr. Governor for discussion and dispersed from there.
“Since that day, the Office of the Deputy Governor has not been receiving any schedule of the meetings and events of the 3rd defendant, contrary to the existing practice and procedure in Government House.
“On Wednesday, 19th July, 2023 it was when briefs for the State Executive Council Meetings were forwarded to my (Personal Private Secretary) that I knew that there would be Exco meeting that day at 11:00am for the meeting at 10:00am as no schedule of Mr, Governor was sent to my office as it used to be.
“On Friday, 21st July, 2023 at about 3:45pm, I was going for an engagement outside the office when my Protocol Officer called the Chief Detail to inform him that there was going to be Security Meeting at 4:00pm as I saw Security Officers and Commanders in the Government House premises which placed me on enquiry and I got to know of it.
“On 15th June, 2023, I was informed that there was going to be a meeting in the 3rd defendant’s house to determine the leadership of the House of Assembly, but when I got to the gate of the 3rd defendant’s house, the State Security personnel informed me that I was not invited to the meeting and would not be allowed into the meeting.
“I called the 3rd defendant over eight times on the phone, but he refused to pick my calls.
“The following day, the 16th of June, 2023 when I was to go to the Governor’s office, I met the gate between the two offices locked and on enquiry, the DSS personnel from the Governor’s office told my DSS personnel that they were under instruction from the 3rd defendant not to allow me in or open the gate for me.
“While trying to know what happened, there was a meeting at the instance of the former Deputy Governor, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, between the 3rd defendant, myself and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
“At the meeting the 3rd defendant alleged that the reasons for his actions were that I was dinning with his enemies and that the only way our relationship can come back to what it used to be was for me to go to the public space (media) to renounce my interest for Governorship of the state.
“In spite of the intervention of well-meaning stakeholders in Edo State, including the Oba of Benin, the 3rd defendant is hell bent on dealing with me and has vowed to use all machineries in his power to remove me from office as the Deputy Governor of Edo State.
“The 3rd defendant has been holding meetings with key actors and players in Edo State Government, including the 4th defendant (Speaker) and other members of the Edo State House of Assembly, with a view to coming up with spurious allegations against me and using unconstitutional means to remove me as the Deputy Governor of Edo State by way of illegal impeachment and use the 5th defendant to perfect their plans with the setting up of a seven man panel of inquiry.”
Shuaibu added that his lawyer has told him that the Governor’s alleged action of instigating the IGP and SSS and their officers “to harass, intimidate, embarrass and prevent me from attending State Executive Council Meetings and carry out my functions as the Deputy Governor of Edo State is unconstitutional.
“I have committed no constitutional infraction for the 4th and 5th defendants (Speaker and Chief Judge) to be instigated by the 3rd defendant to commence impeachment proceedings against me.
“The deliberate refusal of the 3rd defendant to involve me in the Edo State Executive Council Meetings and carry out my responsibilities as the Deputy Governor of Edo State is unconstitutional and in breach of the constitutional provisions.
“Without the intervention of the court, plans have been perfected by the 3rd defendant to deal with me as he has vowed to remove me from office through his stooges in the state by commencing impeachment proceedings against me for no justifiable reasons,” Shuaibu said.
He is then praying the court for the following:
A declaration that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants lack the constitutional powers to harass, intimidate, embarrass and prevent the plaintiff from carrying out his constitutional duties as the Deputy Governor of Edo State in line with Section 193 of the Constitution.
A declaration that the 4th and 5th defendants lack the constitutional powers to remove, commence impeachment proceedings or cause to be removed from office the plaintiff as the Deputy Governor of Ede State on any ground other than gross misconduct, as provided in Section 188 of the Constitution,
A declaration that the deliberate refusal of the 3rd defendant to invite or involve the plaintiff in the Edo State Executive Council Meetings and functions is a violation of Section 193(2) of the Constitution,
An order of injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, their agents, servants, privies and assigns from harassing, preventing , embarrassing or intimidating or causing the harassment and prevention of the plaintiff from attending Edo State Executive Council Meetings and other meetings for the purpose of carrying out his constitutional duties as the Deputy Governor of Edo State.
An order of injunction restraining the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their agents, servants, privies and assigns from embarking on any action plan or take any other step by commencement of impeachment proceedings or setting up a seven man panel of inquiry for the purpose of removing from office, the plaintiff as the Deputy Governor of Edo State on account of the 3rd defendant contrary to constitutional provisions.
An order of injunction restraining the 5th defendant from acting on the instruction of the 3rd defendant or impeachment notice from the 4th defendant or any other person on their behalf with a view to removing from office, the plaintiff as the Deputy Governor of Edo State.
An order of injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants form withdrawing the security details or personnel attached to the plaintitt or his office as the Deputy Governor of Edo State.
An order of injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their agents, servants, privies and assigns from disturbing, or preventing the plaintiff from freely entering his office or attending any executive function in Edo State or outside the state for the purpose of carrying his duties and functions as the Deputy Governor of Edo State.
An order of mandatory injunction directing the 3rd defendant to henceforth, issue the plaintiff with notices of meetings and involve the plaintiff in carrying out state executive functions as required by the plaintiff to carry out in line with constitutional provisions.
Shaibu, a former member of the House of Representatives, had been sighted at the National Assembly, Abuja to celebrate with his former colleagues there.
Shaibu had also used the occasion of his Abuja visit to celebrate with former Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was sworn in on that day as the Senator representing Edo North.
Why Shaibu declared war against Obaseki — Edo govt official
An official of the Edo State Government however said yesterday that Obaseki merely advised Shaibu to halt his 2024 governorship aspiration in order to let the administration focus on good governance.
The official, who asked not to be named, also claimed that the deputy governor became uncomfortable when he realised that the PDP zoning formula for the next governorship election would not favour him.
He further alleged that Shaibu has been holding talks with the leadership of the APC to prepare ground for his return to the party which he left together with Obaseki in the turbulent build up to the September 2020 governorship election.
The source said: “The pre-emptive move at the FHC, Abuja by Shaibu is meant to prevent his impeachment, and keep his position. From day one, he (Shaibu) never favoured Governor Obaseki’s move to the PDP, as he never bought the idea.
“He felt he would not be able to fulfill his governorship aspiration in the PDP. Impeaching him has never been contemplated. So, it is a strategy by him to prevent it and keep his office while fighting to succeed Governor Obaseki.
“He (Shaibu) started his surreptitious move immediately after the 2023 presidential election by forming a campaign group in all the 192 wards of the 18 local government areas of Edo State. He is driven by his inordinate ambition.
“Comrade Oshiomhole, who handed over to Governor Obaseki, is from Etsako West LGA in Edo North Senatorial District as Shaibu, and he wants his boss to hand over to him.
“What then happens to the five other LGAs in Edo North Senatorial District
The people of Edo Central Senatorial District are also agitating to produce the successor of Governor Obaseki, who hails from Edo South Senatorial District.
“Governor Obaseki told his deputy that it was not time for politics, so that governance would not suffer. He maintains that at the appropriate time, attention will be given to politics, but Shaibu is not ready for that, and wants governance to be abandoned for politics.
“His move is meant to force Governor Obaseki into the trenches. He has insisted on his boss supporting him as the next governor. By this move, he is just digging his grave, as there are no plans to impeach him.
“We are not prepared to dirty our hands with him (Shaibu). He has shown that he lacks the courage to approach Governor Obaseki, and discuss his ambition with him. Instead, he is going about it in a surreptitious manner.
“The move is a defensive mechanism by him (Shaibu). The only thing that Governor Obaseki has done is to insist on him following established government protocol, which he flagrantly breaches.
Reacting to the development yesterday, an APC chieftain in the Edo, Prince John Mayaki, said Shaibu was simply facing the law of Karma.
Mayaki said: “The sweet embrace of karma, a feast best savoured in solitary delight. As the curtains of fate unfurl and the cosmic scales tip with poetic precision, our protagonist, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, finds himself seated at the table of retribution, relishing the sumptuous banquet of karma, all to himself.
“Shaibu is dancing from political entanglements to the gleeful embrace of legal theatrics. A saga as curious as a cat chasing its own tail. It commenced with Shaibu pointing a finger at former Edo governor Oshiomhole, accusing him of plotting a gubernatorial eviction against Obaseki.
“The plot thickens, for our valiant deputy has embarked on a legal escapade that will make even the bard himself chuckle. With a swish of his metaphorical cape, he has chosen to forsake the local courts of Edo, for the grandeur of Abuja’s judicial arena, as if seeking refuge from political storm clouds beneath a different legal umbrella.
“Gone are the days of Edo’s courtroom melodies, as Shaibu sets his comedic sights on forum shopping, a maneuver worthy of a seasoned traveller navigating the bazaars of legal options.
“Like a knight seeking a magical shield, he has beseeched the courts in Abuja for protection against the impending storm of impeachment from Obaseki’s realm.”