Shaibu manipulated the youth council poll for selfish reasons, says Obaseki

There seems to be no end in sight in the conflict between Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy,  Philip Shaibu, as the governor over the weekend accused the deputy of manipulating the election of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Edo State Chapter, to install an Executive Council to advance his alleged selfish ambition of becoming Edo State Governor next year.

Obaseki, who was speaking during the celebration of International Youths Day with youths at the Youth House in Benin City, said he needed to apologize

on behalf of his deputy.Recall that the emergence of the immediate-past exco of the NYCN, Edo State chapter sparked controversy among youth groups in the state as various interest groups protested the imposition of persons on the organization

and its organs.Obaseki had then disbanded the exco and called for fresh elections, to restore order and sanity to the council.

Speaking at the weekend, Obaseki said Shaibu worked behind him in an attempt to further his ambition through the youth council.

He said, “I want to apologize over the unfortunate incident that happened with the Youth Council election. It was done without my authorisation and knowledge.

“As you can see now, the reason why my deputy governor manipulated your election is because he has political ambition and thought he could control and use the council to achieve his political goals. Please, I apologise. Going forward you will have an independent, well-organised and well covered transparent election.”

Commending the youths, the governor’s wife, Betsy Obaseki, said, “You are the ones we are looking up to. That is the reason why we are getting involved in your affairs and life and are here to support you. We are expecting great things from you and are confident that you will not disappoint us.”

Meanwhile, there are insinuations that the Edo State government is finalizing plans to commence renovation in the office of the deputy governor.

According to a source in the government, the renovation will commence this week and will make it impossible for Shaibu to operate from his office.

The source said, “I don’t think there is a need for any renovation but the state government will decide on that.

“If they begin the renovation, it means the deputy governor will not be able to operate from that office. Except a new office is assigned to him, I am sure it may be difficult for him to operate.

“I am sure this is about to happen because of the rift between the two. Events of the past two weeks, which started with the deputy governor approaching a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop any impeachment proceeding against him, though the governor said his deputy has not informed him of his governorship ambition, it is clear it is the issue that has caused problem between the two.

“I hope they find a solution to this problem because it will drag the state back which is not needed at this time.”

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Andrew Okungbowa, in a reply to text message sent to him, said he wasn’t aware of such development, noting that there was no official memo to that effect.

He said, “I am not aware of such development because there is no official circular to that effect. However, I will get confirmation from the appropriate office by the new week.”

Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly will sit today to deliberate on sundry issues that bother on the development of the state.

Though the court has barred any impeachment move against the deputy for now, today’s proceedings may confirm whether or not there are impeachment moves against Shaibu.

On Sunday, leaders of Edo State Peoples Democratic Party passed a vote of confidence in  Obaseki, knocking Shaibu for not first exploring internal dispute resolution mechanisms before heading to court.

The Edo PDP leaders, who met in the Igueben Local Government Area, included the party’s chairman, Tony Aziegbemi; former Chairman, PDP Board of Trustee, Chief Tom Ikimi, former senator representing Edo Central Senatorial District, Clifford Odia; former House of Representative members, Sergius Ogun and Joe Edionwele, among others.

In a communique after the meeting, they said: “During the meeting, a vote of confidence in the Governor of Edo State,  was moved by Chief Francis Ulinfun and seconded by Elder Johnny Abhulimen. The motion was unanimously passed by all the leaders in attendance on behalf of the party in Esanland.

“The meeting noted with satisfaction the speedy and effective progress being made on the peace and reconciliation efforts to unite the contending forces within the party, particularly in Esanland.

“However, the deteriorating relationship between Governor Obaseki and his was noted with utmost dismay.”