Tony Osauzo, Benin
Alleged failure by Governor Godwin Obaseki to adequately fund his re-election campaign has pitched his deputy, Philip Shaibu, against him, with Shaibu reportedly telling Obaseki at leadership last Thursday that he (Obaseki) was not serious in winning the September19 governorship election.
Trouble was said to have started during the meeting also attended by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Charles Idahosa and Sen. Domingo Obende, when the governor commenced the meeting by saying all hands must be on deck for them to be able to defeat the APC.
It was learnt that after the governor’s comment, Shaibu raised his hands to speak. He was said to have told the governor that he (Obaseki) is not serious in winning the coming election, reminding the governor that different committees were set up in the past two weeks but the governor had refused to fund them.
The deputy governor was said to have lamented that the APC has been busy in serious campaigns while nothing has happened regarding the PDP campaign.
Tension reportedly heightened when Shaibu accused the governor of luring him to fight his godfather, Oshiomhole and now he, Obaseki is showing no commitment or seriousness in funding the forthcoming election.
“We have been sitting here doing nothing while Oshiomhole is all over the town, we are losing members every day and all we do is setting up committees every day without funding. I will not take this nonsense and you pushed me into fighting a man that made me what I am today yet all we are seeing everyday is committees with no funding.
“Mr governor, I see you dont understand what this election is all about. You are not serious about it. Do you think it is the little boys carrying laptops here that will do it. If you don’t want to fund the election then I have no business being here. I will back out”, Shaibu reportely told governor Obaseki.
It was further gathered that attempts by Ogie to stop Shaibu further infuriated the deputy governor who rebuffed the Secretary to the State Government.
At this stage, Hon. Charles Idahosa, reportedly intervened and backed Shaibu, expressing his fear that Oshiomhole will send all of them to jail if they lose the election.
He was said to have urged the governor to release money for the governorship election campaign.
It was learnt that Obaseki who looked visibly confused at that moment, requested for the budget of each of the six committees set up for the campaign.
The governor’s request was said have furthered angered Shaibu who thundered that he was still asking for the budget when APC had been campaigning day and night and warned the governor that if nothing serious is happening he will walk back to his APC which he said he left in pains.
Shaibu reportedly walked out of the meeting after describing his boss as unserious, even as the governor was said to have later regretted allowing is deputy to speak.
A credible source who confirmed the face-off to Sunday Sun, said the deputy governor was provoked to speak in that manner because he has been spending his personal money to fund the campaign without refund.
“It is the issue of money that got us to where we are today”, the source said in reference to the governor’s failure in carrying along members of the APC, his former party.
But reacting to the incident the Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said there was no clash between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu.
In a statement, Osagie said the falsehood could only have emanated from the All Progressives Congress (APC), who have no substance in their campaign and are only adept at spinning the rumour mill and concocting alternative facts to massage the egos of their paymasters who cannot run an issue-based campaign but rely primarily on tale-telling and propaganda.
“The lie that there was a clash between the governor and his deputy should be dismissed in its entirety. Whatever incident they allude to only exists in the imagination of the purveyors.
“There was indeed a meeting with key stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which ended with everyone in high spirit. There was a spirit of cordiality and everyone shared their ideas and inputs on how to deliver the party in the September 19 governorship election”, the statement said.
Osagie advised the general public to disregard the falsehood and any other such tales the band of dishonest people would spin in the days ahead as the election draws near.
He urged Edo people to ensure they are not kept away from government by voting en-masse for Governor Obaseki and his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, in the September 19 governorship election.