Edo State Deputy Governor, South South Nigeria, Philip Shaibu has cried out that he was being intimidated for declaring his ambition to succeed his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Gatekeepers News reports that Shaibu unfolded his aspiration in Benin City, the state capital, yesterday.
He complained that the allocation to his office has been withheld in the last five months.
Although the declaration was scheduled for Eterno Hotel, Aiguobasimwin Crescent, off Ikpokpan Road, Government Reservation Area (GRA), it was shifted to Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin, after supporters of the governor under the aegis of ‘Finish Well Group’ stormed the place for a rally.
Obaseki, who has refused to endorse the deputy governor as his successor in next year’s election, offered his best wishes.
Edo Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, who reacted on behalf of the Edo State Government said: “We wish Shaibu well. His incompetent handlers should be blamed for losing initial venue of declaration.”
He added:”So shameful that he (Shaibu) could not make adequate arrangement for his declaration. Shame on him and his handlers. Edo State Government or Governor Godwin Obaseki should not be blamed. Eterno Hotel is a private business. We do not interfere with the management of the hotel.”
My allocation seized, says Shaibu
Shaibu, who said has suffered intimidation, complained that his office has not received any allocation from the state government in the last five years.
The deputy governor, who spoke on a live television programme, said he was unperturbed by his ordeals, adding that as the candidate to be, he would not be distracted.
Shaibu has been in the eye of the storm since his ambition became a public knowledge.
His official office was relocated from Government House and his media crew disbanded.
The deputy governor said it was unfortunate that Obaseki has allowed some individuals with vested interests to come in between them.
Dismissinv insinuations of rift with his boss, he said he was only being threatened for declaring his bid.
Shaibu said he was sure of getting the support of Edo voters because his style of governance since 2016 has reflected competence and capabilities.
He said: “I’m sure of getting support from Edo South, Central and my own senatorial district, which is Edo North.
“This because I’m completely home boy and detribalised. I have support base from across the three senatorial districts because I am a grassroots person and I relate with people seamlessly.
“I use the word that I am a street boy as I’m always with the people. So, I’m confident and sure of winning the race.
“With how they have been going after me, I have therefore, seen that I am the candidate to beat. This is why they are blocking me from declaring.
“How come I am the only one that is being asked not to contest? I am the only one that my office was relocated because I wanted to declare my intention.
“I am the only one that, close to five months now, no allocation to my office just because I declared.
“When I said I was pressed, but not distressed, I understand the kind of intimidation and oppression I have gone through.
“Notwithstanding, the truth is that all these point to the fact that I am the candidate to beat and I will not want to reveal my plans.
“I have my strategies and all I’ve done is that I refused to be distracted. I can bet you that even the Governor will support me when the time comes.”
Shaibu said he would defeat Obaseki’s anointed candidate.
He said, “Definitely, I’ll defeat the so-called candidate of the governor, not because I have the power, but because Edo people want their own and I am their own. Edo people do not want importation; they want their own.
“The problem I have with the governor is that he has allowed certain individuals that have interest in governance to come between us. He is managing in his own style and the way he feels he can manage it. I am also managing it the way I feel I can manage it.
“They are beating me and I am crying and I am buying handkerchiefs to clear the tears.
“People say we are fighting, but I’m not fighting. I’m being beaten.
“They’re doing everything to stop me, but they can’t. The truth is that Edo people have made up their mind.
“Edo people hate intimidation. Ah, the kind of intimidation and harassment I have received within this period is only God that has actually seen me through. Irrespective of the intimidation, I have resolved not to fight.
“If PDP wants to win the race, the party needs a unifier, who I am.”
‘My plan for Edo’
Shaibu, a former Majority Leader of Edo House of Assembly, and ex-member of the House of Representatives, maintained that he remained undeterred, focused, and determined.
Shedding light on his achievements, he said: “Back in the day, you did not just call me ‘Mr. Constituency Project,’ for nothing. In my time as a legislator, I delivered 49 constituency projects at the state level, and 13 solid constituency projects within my short stint at the federal level.
“I have fought the good fight for you, my people. Along the way, I suffered humiliations, and enjoyed many moments of victory, but I am thankful in all things.
“I have been pressed, but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, badly hurt but not destroyed. I resonate with the tireless and irrepressible spirit of the Edo People. By the grace of God, nothing and no one can stop us. After all, I be original Edo son, 100 per cent home boy.
“This is why today, I stand before you with great conviction and resolve, as I declare my intention to run for the office of the Governor of Edo State, on the platform of the PDP, in the upcoming 2024 election, and I am confident that with your support, we can take Edo State to even greater heights.”
The deputy governor said he joined the race to fulfil the vision of the founding fathers of the state.
He said: “When Edo State was created in 1991, our brilliant leaders, fully aware of our ancestral destiny named us ‘The Heart Beat of The Nation.’
That was not an ordinary slogan. It was a call to destiny…mandate that we must collectively achieve.
“As your Deputy Governor in the last seven years, I have had the privilege of working closely with our amiable Governor, His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki, to lay a solid foundation for progress in Edo State. Under our administration, we have seen remarkable achievements and milestones, but there is still much work to be done.
“I am aware of the need by the greater Edo people for a more inclusive government, a government of the Edo people, by the Edo people, and for the Edo people. A government of individuals who have been there and know the pains and wishes of an average Edolite. A government, together, with the greater Edo people, will reignite the Edo spirit and transform our tomorrow.
“Since my foray into politics three decades ago, I have lived among you and you have loved me as your very own son. I have felt your pains at close quarters, sat with the elders to benefit from their words of wisdom, led the youths in many struggles for their rights, visibility and freedom, learned the intricacies of modern governance and built adequate service capacity.
“You all are witnesses to my antecedents in government. When the waters of the Lagdo dam flooded our lands and threatened our means of livelihood, I led the emergency response team that managed the impact and kept it in check, and continued to be involved in most humanitarian issues within the state.
“When COVID-19 came to threaten our very existence, I put my life on the line in its very early days, when protection was not available, and worked to restore calm and order at the isolation centres.
“Our sporting treasure, Bendel Insurance Football Club, became my responsibility at some point within this administration. Through strategic management and relentless commitment, we have returned Bendel Insurance to the height of glory it belongs.
“When kidnappers took some of our citizens from Ubiaja and Igueben train station, I worked with the rescue team, led the rescue mission from the front and brought back the kidnapped citizens safe and sound.
“Under my supervision as the Deputy Governor, our Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) has grown impressively. Thanks to the introduction of digital and cutting-edge ideas.”
Shaibu said his campaigns would be built upon five core pillars, which are vital to the transformation and prosperity of the state.
These are infrastructural development and economic transformation; education, sports, skills’ development and job creation; healthcare and social welfare systems; agriculture, rural development, and poverty alleviation; and security, environmental sustainability, and transparent governance.
He said: “These five pillars of our agenda, among others, represent the values and priorities that we hold dear as Edolites. They represent our commitment to building a prosperous, inclusive, and viable future for all.
“To our traditional rulers and religious leaders, we acknowledge your place in the development of our state, and we would ensure that under our watch, our ancestral heritage is promoted and preserved.
“It is time for us to rise above partisanship, sentiments and unite under the banner of progress and development. Let us all come together to build a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.
“My dear people of Edo State, this declaration is not just a political affair, it is a call to destiny, a call to become the heartbeat of this nation, not just in words, but indeed.
“I humbly seek your support, your trust, and your nomination in this upcoming election, as we embark on this journey together; united in our determination to make Edo State a better place for ourselves and generations to come. I am Philip Shaibu, your guy. Your one hundred per cent homeboy. Together, we will reignite the Edo spirit and transform our tomorrow.”