By AUSTIN OTAS – OSEGBE
Like the proverbial golden fish that has no hiding place, the Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, Edo State Deputy Governor needs little or no introduction by virtue of his antecedents as a vibrant activist in students’ unionism which dates back to the dark days of the military dictatorship, especially during the era of Abacha Must Go. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the name Philip Shaibu is a household in Nigeria. Of the 36 Deputy Governors across the States, the name stands out.
For this rare gift of divinity to humanity, the first day of December every year has become so significant in his eventful years on earth for the celebration of his birthday anniversary by family members, admirers, friends and associates. His golden age two years ago was understandably celebrated with funfare. Today’s celebration like that of 2020 will be low-key; purely dedicated to praise, worship and appreciate God in his life. Shaibu’s modest achievements in life so far can be attributed to his humble beginning, deeply rooted on good upbringing by his parents of blessed memory. His father was a Pastor in the vineyard of God, while his mother was a trained teacher. No wonder, he is a core disciplinarian, workaholic, diligent and God-fearing in all he does. Though very tough and a near-perfectionist, he is humble, humane and generous to a fault. Shaibu is reputed to be a highly detribalized Nigerian, who entrusts people with tasks and responsibilities – irrespective of tribe, sex or religion – provided you can deliver on the assignment. Of the three major Nigerian tribes, he speaks Hausa and Yoruba fluently. A man of the people, he connects very well with the grassroots. He is unconditionally loved by his people. Any time he travelled to his hometown in Jattu, Etsako West Local Government Area, on private or official trip, it could best be described as the biblical triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The people, young and old, troop out in their numbers, lining the roadsides all the way from Agbede to give a rousing welcome to their own son, regardless of the weather.
Shaibu is one man who believes in 100 percent loyalty. This was manifestly demonstrated when he ditched his benefactor of over 35 years, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), during the political crisis between the Governor and Oshiomhole. In consonance with his oath of office, his loyalty to the Governor was never in doubt, as he stood solidly and supported his boss in the fierce battle against godfatherism and anti-democracy forces.
Some politicians being what they are, have attempted, on several occasions to sow seeds of discord between Mr. Governor and his Deputy, but their antics have proven to be unsuccessful, due to the unflinching loyalty of Shaibu to his principal and largely on account of the trust his boss has in him. On several occasions, he has been asked by Journalists: “What is your next political move?” Hear him: “Everything about me and my involvement in politics is in the hands of God. Like you know, it is only God who created us that shapes and decides our fate and destiny in life. Wherever God directs me, I go”.
A responsible family man, Shaibu who is a father of four adorable children, is a loving husband and an exemplary mentor. He met his wife, Maryann, during the struggle against military dictatorship under the Abacha regime by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
Like husband, like wife, Maryann Shaibu was also a dogged activist during her time as a student at the then Auchi Polytechnic, now Federal Polytechnic, Auchi. She was once the Vice President, Student Union Government (SUG) of the school. She studied accountancy and presently a Chartered Account and cum active member of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN). Maryann is a senior official of the National Assembly Service Commission, Abuja.
Shaibu is an alumnus of three prestigious universities: the University of Jos (UNIJOS), University of Benin (UNIBEN) and the Harvard University. He is also an accountant by training and former President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). What a unique combination between husband and wife. This underscores why Shaibu is an astute manager of men and resources. He ensures that every kobo that is appropriated and released in the Office of the Deputy Governor is judiciously utilized; no room for wastages. He abhors all forms of discrimination and he sacrifices quality time for people; identifying with them when it matters most. Even when he is indisposed or constrained by the exigencies of official engagements, Shaibu has a peculiar way of connecting with the people to express love and solidarity.
Shaibu is an embodiment of discipline and works round the clock – from Mondays through Sundays. All the political offices he has been privileged to occupy and served the people till date is on account of the grace and benevolence of God Almighty. Like the complete sportsman that he is, Shaibu is a professional footballer, an ardent golfer and sports enthusiast of many positive parts. Ladies and gentlemen, join me to celebrate the Sun Newspaper Sportsman of the Year 2020, Rt. Honourable Comrade Philip Shaibu on this auspicious occasion of his 52nd birthday anniversary.
Otas-Osegbe is Public Relations Officer, Office of the Deputy Governor