Politics

February 24, 2024

EDO 2024: PDP cannot win without me – Philip Shaibu

Edo 2020: APC, Shaibu, Security Aide trade words over purported planned attack

Edo State deputy governor, Philip Shaibu

By Henry Umoru, Abuja

AHEAD of September Edo State Gubernatorial election, Deputy Governor of the State, Philip Shaibu has said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP will be defeated without him, just as he described the primaries that produced Asue Ighodalo as the candidate of the party as an Owambe party and laughable.

According to him, the event even though was attended by the party’s heavy weight where people wore aso-ebi, was not an issue against the backdrop that delegates determine primaries and not party big wigs.

Speaking with Journalists yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session, Shaibu who emerged winner of parallel Edo PDP primary election, said that rumours of impeachment plot against him because he has expressed his constitutional right of contesting for election is a joke carried too far, warning that with the present scenario, intimidation and harassment of people from any quarter was not needed now, but consensus on how to build the party.

Shaibu said, “in the coming days, I don’t want to go into details of certain things that we will be meeting in court because some of these things are not something I should speak to. But as we move on, things will keep on unfolding and you’ll get the nitty-gritty at the end of the day. So that is where we are today.

“And I am appealing to the PDP National Working Committee that if they want to win Edo state, they should just abide by what has happened. They should just support my candidacy and PDP will win Edo state. You can see how the primaries have gone now in Edo.

“Labour Party has Olu Akpata from Edo South and APC has Monday Okpebholo from Edo Central, a Senator from Edo Central. Now, I am from Edo North. It shows that the three Senatorial districts now have candidates.

“And this comes to the point I have been saying that Edo state, we have not met or we are to agree that there is zoning. And if we are meant to have a convention to say we now have zoning formula, when it leaves here, it goes here. By now, nobody will be contesting in the three senatorial districts.

“All political parties will know the next elections that are coming, it is this senatorial district we will be looking at for our candidates.

“But because we have not actually met as a people and there is no convention or any agreement to say there is zoning, everybody is eligible to vote. And that is where parties now look at the best of their own, those that can win elections, to vote them forward as their aspirants.

“Labour Party has voted in Benin now. If not that, APC primaries was rescheduled, that was adjudged inconclusive, already, their candidate was also coming from Edo South senatorial district that presently has the governor of Edo State. So what is key is competence now in Edo and I think those that are clamouring for zoning, I am with them in terms of zoning so that everybody will have a fair share. But we must agree. I am not against zoning.

“I am saying for now, we don’t have zoning. We have not agreed on a zoning formula until we sit down as a people. And I think those are some of the things I am going to address when I win and when I am sworn in to now bring Edo people together to say okay, now the issue of zoning was one of those issues in the last election, let’s now agree that going forward, we will not be zoning our political positions.

And that means all the political parties, traditional institutions, stakeholders must come together to agree because if we don’t carry the political parties along in that agreement, the next election, the political parties too will be looking at the three senatorial districts.

“So for me, that is where we are now. We have a lot of work to do and what I try to do now is that I set up a committee yesterday before I left Benin to get our people now to reach out to the other side to see how we can bring everybody on board for us to start our campaign.

“Because we went into the election seriously divided; so now I have set up a team, I inaugurated them yesterday to see how we can reach out to the Asue group and to see how we can also get the leaders for us to come together as a party so that PDP will be a strong force going forward into the elections.”

On if the party submits the name of Asue Ighodalo as the candidate of the party, Shaibu said, “Yes, the party is supreme, the party is given the right to produce its candidate. But the party is not given the ultimate right to produce because you must produce in line with the electoral law and its own guidelines. If any of the guidelines is not followed in the process of producing your candidate, that candidate cannot see the light of day.

“So, the ultimate right for the party is to follow your rules in producing that, if not, there is no need to even say you are doing primaries. You can just sit in your office and just write the name of the person and say this is the name the party is filling in this election.

“But because the party knows they don’t have the ultimate right, supreme right, to just sit in their office and send the name, that is why the constitution and the electoral law and the party law insisted that there must be primaries or consensus. There are rules to everything. So, those rules, if they are not followed, the party has derailed in the process of producing that candidate. When the court says the party has the right, then that right is not absolute right. That right is in line with your regulations that is not in conflict with the electoral law.

“So, whatever you want to do must be in line with your own rules and that rule that you have adopted must not be in conflict with the electoral law. If your rules are in conflict with the electoral law, everything you have done is nullity. The courts, there are a lot of authorities in these cases.
Anyway, I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty. There are a lot of authorities that are there in these cases.”

When asked on what really happened, the Deputy Governor said, “Interestingly, it was not without any fight, like I said. The men of the state vigilante security force were deployed shooting sporadically at the venue, close to the venue of the primaries. But these people insisted that if they must kill them, they were ready.

“And I was actually amazed at the level of determination by those delegates and I think if we have to commend people, they are heroes of this particular election this year.

“One of them had a bullet pierce his hand, and the Chief Okumayi from Akoko Edo was one of those that were the state vice chairman of APC and the senatorial chairman of APC that joined the governor when he was disqualified as the candidate of APC in 2020. And he was one of those that were shot in that primaries.

“So you can see the level of determination, and that is an elderly man, Mr. Okumayi and if an elderly man like that was determined, and not just an elderly man, a known elderly man, a leader in his own caliber, and he was shot, and he was one of those that sacrificed his position, resigned from APC, resigned his position as the state vice chairman, and the senatorial chairman of APC to join PDP, just because for him there was injustice being meted at the Governor’s at that time. And he was one of those shot.

“So, it was a battle, but thank God that through determination we have survived, and today we are the candidate.

“I’m aware that they had another primary and in the coming days you will know who is authentic and who is not authentic because even from the results that they declare, it’s laughable.

“A deputy governor that was NANS President that was two-time majority leader, eight years in the House of Assembly, a Deputy Governor that was House of Rep, that was pulled back because of his political strength to compliment a ticket that would have failed without a politician that is known and accepted is now getting one vote. Somebody that is not known at all is now getting 577 votes.

“It tells you where the results were written, and if you check what they did, it was more like a celebration of either wedding reception or burial reception. You see the primaries where every local government had an aseo-ebi, it tells you, it speaks volume, check what they did. Every local government has its own uniform and that is the primaries.

“It shows that there was no contestation, that is what they did shows, there was no contestation because if there was contestation, you don’t have local government by local government wearing the same attire. It shows that it was more like a party, what the Yoruba popularly called “owambe”.

On whether PDP National Working Committee, NWC and INEC observed the primaries that produced him, “If the party wants to win the election, they will not go for Asue. If the party wants to win the election, the people have spoken and they have spoken very loud and clear.

“If people can stand bullets to say this is who we want, then the party should follow that direction.”