…Deputy Gov now operates from personal residence
…No end in sight to saga
By Titus Akhigbe
Except the unforeseen happens, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, may not have an office inside Government House, Benin City till his joint-ticket tenure with Governor Godwin Obaseki ends next year.
This because the Deputy Governor, who was last Monday locked out of his office in the seat of power based on what a security agent told him was ‘order from above’, is presently confronted by another massive hurdle.
In a leaked memo dated September 18 this year, Gov. Obaseki has allegedly asked the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barrister Osarodion Ogie to immediately allocate the office building of the Deputy Governor in Government House to the trustees of a private economic group, Alaghodaro Summit, as their Secretariat.
Alaghodaro Summit is overseen by Lagos businessman, Asue Ighodalo, the man widely believed to be favoured by Obaseki to succeed him as Governor, rather than the youthful Shaibu.
The issue of succession is at the center of the still-running rift between the state’s two topmost citizens.
While Shaibu, who hails from Edo North, is said to seek to succeed Obaseki in 2024,sources close to the latter said the Governor wants a candidate from Edo Central, which has not produced the state’s Governor aside the ill-fated, brief period of Professor O.Osunbor, to succeed him. Ighodalo is from Edo Central.
It was reliably gathered that the Chairman of Alaghodaro Summit, Ighodalo, through the SSG, had written to the Governor to allocate a permanent Secretariat building to aid planning and logistics for the 2023 Alaghodaro Summit.
The summit is billed tentatively for the second week of November this year.
The annual event is a forum where promoters of the summit parade some of the local investors they have attracted to the state as well as offer advice to the government on economic matters, among other services executed in the interest of the Obaseki administration.
It is said to be an event dear to the Governor’s heart.
According to the Governor’s leaked memo, the office space closest to the venue of the summit is that which was hitherto occupied by his embattled deputy, ordering, therefore that it be allocated to the Board of Trustees (BoT) of Alaghodaro Summit with immediate effect.
As of now, Shaibu operates from his personal house, having being locked out of his office in Government House.
About 9am on Monday, he reported for routine work and on arriving the gate to his office, he discovered that he had been locked out.
In a drama that lasted about an hour, the Deputy Governor made efforts to get in, but was told that a superior order had ordered that he be locked out.
The embattled Deputy Governor denied reports that he had received official correspondence relocating his office outside Government House, insisting that he had not been communicated.
Sources close to him quoted him as saying the Governor had no constitutional authority to move his office outside the official joint seat of power.
When The Daily Times got to his personal residence, the Deputy Governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Musa Ebomhiana, said Shaibu was holding a meeting with members of Christian Men’s Organization (CMO) of an unidentified church and requested journalists to ”please, leave now.”
Shaibu begs Obaseki, says ‘I’m missing my governor’ In an unexpected move yesterday as the printing press was set to roll, report emerged that the Deputy Governor had begged the Governor to forgive him for perceived wrongs.
Speaking to a select group of journalists in his residence, Shaibu apologized to Obaseki and asked for forgiveness.
He said: “So we have resumed there is no problem with it; the governor has asked us to go there.
“Like I always tell people, I am a loyal servant; there is nothing that has changed. I took a personal vow to support the Governor, and you can see my Catholic people are here. Everything about me if I have a vow with God, there is nothing that will change it.
“And I can only wish that the relationship that we had in the next few days and weeks, I know it will come back.
“I’m missing my governor really and by the grace of God, I know God will touch the governor’s heart and touch all of us and even those that are trying to be in between, God will touch them to know that I mean well.
“If there is any mistake that I have made as human, it’s just human, it’s not an act of, maybe, wickedness, because I’m not wicked. I have a very clean heart.
“I will use this medium to appeal to Mr. Governor: if there is anything that I don’t know that I have done, please forgive me, so that we can develop our state together.
”We have just less than how many months, just one year, to go. We’ve been the envy of the entire country; it is still possible.
“So, Mr. Governor, please if there is anything that you think I have done, I am sorry. I need us to work together to finish well and strong because that is my prayer for you.”