By Emma Njoku
Comrade Philip Shaibu is arguably Nigeria’s most popular deputy governor.
The Edo State Deputy Governor is a man of many parts. He is an accountant, politician, activist and businessman.
However, his passion for sports, especially football, has won him many accolades.
He holds the record of the first ever governor or deputy governor to register and play in the Nigeria Football League. Fans of Bendel Insurance Football Club of Benin will remain grateful to him for the role he played both on and off pitch, towards the club’s return to top flight football after over a decade of relegation to the lower cadre of the professional league.
The comrade deputy governor will also be remembered for ensuring that players of Bendel Insurance FC earn the same salaries and allowances with their female counterparts, Edo Queens FC, thereby, setting a record in the history of Nigerian football and, indeed, world over. Not even in the United States and the entire Europe are male and female players placed on the same salary scale.
Shaibu headed the committee that successfully organised the last National Sports Festival hosted by Edo state, tagged Edo 2020. It is on record that all the facilities used for the sports fiesta were ready ahead of the event, in spite of the huge chal- lenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He went ahead to write his name in the history books as the country’s first major political office holder to win a football gold medal at the National Sports Festival, after leading Team Edo to a 3-2 win over Team Lagos in the final of the men’s football event at the festival.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after featuring in a professional league match for Bendel Insurance at the Agege Stadium, in Lagos, as to whether he was not afraid of sustaining serious injuries, Shaibu said: ”Why should I be afraid of attacks, I have been playing active competitive football right from my university days. I also played for my club in Abuja, so, it is nothing extraordinary. To me, it is a normal thing despite my present office as Edo State deputy governor.”
Born in Kaduna to the late Pastor Francis Osikpomobo Shaibu and his mother, Lucy (née Momoh) Shaibu was raised with strong Christian virtues.
He started his early education at St. Augustine Primary School, Tundu Wada, Kaduna, but finished at L.E.A Primary School Barnawa, Kaduna State, where he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate.
He proceeded to Saudana Memorial Secondary School Kawo, Kaduna, where he obtained his West African Senior School Certificate in 1989. Comrade Shaibu received a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours) in Accounting from the University of Jos, in 2000. He later earned master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Benin, in 2015. As a student activist, he was the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) between 2000 and 2001.