By Dapo Akinrefon
Barring any last minute change, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu will dump the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to an undisclosed political party.
Vanguard was made to understand that if the body language and recent marathon meetings that took place outside the country last week between the Edo Deputy Governor and some party bigwigs in the country, are anything to go by, then Shaibu may dump the PDP anytime from now.
It was gathered that series of meetings took place outside the country, during the deputy governor’s vacation before he returned to Nigeria last week.
A source, who confided in Vanguard, said: “Philip Shaibu is one man I admire as a political tactician and Maradona in the Edo political space. Quitting PDP may frustrate the developmental plans of the Obaseki’s administration due to his nuts and bolts experience as a voracious student of politics, as well as his sterling track record and pedigree as a fearless and charismatic lawmaker.”
According to the source, there are strong indications that the Deputy Governor may not join any other political party immediately after quitting the PDP.
Another source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said: “This rumour, however, did not come as a huge surprise to many, because the Deputy Governor was once quoted to have said he merely escorted Governor Godwin Obaseki to PDP.”
The source said it is a widely held belief across Edo State that Shaibu was, no doubt, the major face of the Edo 2020 governorship election, as many still believe that it was an election between Shaibu and his political father, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to secure victory for the incumbent.
However, while some have expressed curiosity that after such hard-earned victory, one wonders the justification for the Deputy Governor to quit the PDP, others have also chided the Governor for operating a one-man show without appointment of cabinet.
A source, familiar with the development, told Vanguard that “The Governor’s rigid position on some critical decisions that are now causing considerable disaffection between the Deputy Governor and some of his most loyal and committed supporters, who stood firmly by him, contributed morally and with resources and even risked their lives to deliver the Obaseki/Shaibu ticket and ensure that the Deputy Governor was not disgraced and embarrassed politically in his Constituency, which he shares with Comrade Adams Oshiomhole may have also justified his reason for defection.”
Multiple sources, who confided in Vanguard, noted that should the Deputy Governor finally quit the PDP, the action “will go a long way to justify the political resistance of the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, against the choice of Godwin Obaseki in the September 2020 Governorship election.
Efforts to reach the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr. Benjamin Atu, to clarify the rumour and the exact day of defection proved abortive, as calls out across to him were unanswered just as he did not respond to several messages sent to his known telephone number.
Prior the 2020 Governorship election, Governor Obaseki and his Deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu had led their supporters to the PDP.
Comrade Shaibu, who spoke to journalists after obtaining his PDP membership card at the party secretariat in Benin City, expressed disappointment over the undemocratic actions and tendencies of Comrade Adams Oshiomole in his management of the APC at the national level.
He said: “I have a mixed feeling with this action. First, one struggled to form a party and after forming that party, those that benefitted from the party took over the party and became tyrants. It is not always easy that after one helped to form and nurture a party, one individual would say he is an Adolf Hitler in the system and becomes undemocratic. That was what happened in the APC.
PDP keeps mum
When contacted, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP spokesperson, Mr. Duran Odeyemi said he was not aware of the development.
But party source told Vanguard that “it is strange that Obaseki and Shaibu are not in good terms because I know they have a cordial relationship.
“What I know is that there has been a delay in the appointment of commissioners in the state; the governor wants to bring in some APC members who helped him during the Governorship election but the PDP leadership is not disposed to this. Their argument is that you cannot use our platform without us not benefiting from you. I know that issue has been on ground for sometime now, but it will be resolved.”