In a nuanced statement on Thursday, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki declared that his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, is within his constitutional rights to contest for the state’s governorship in 2024. Despite the ongoing political rift between them, Obaseki emphasized that discouraging Shuaibu from pursuing his ambition was not within anyone’s purview.
Speaking to journalists in Bauchi after a closed-door meeting with Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, Obaseki shed light on the purpose of the gathering. While congratulating Governor Mohammed on his victory, Obaseki revealed that discussions encompassed issues related to the People’s Democratic Party Governors’ Forum.
Addressing the elephant in the room, Obaseki addressed the strained relationship with his deputy. He acknowledged that Shuaibu’s aspiration to run for the office he currently occupies is a constitutional right that should not be impeded. The governor, however, strategically sidestepped the question of whether he would throw his support behind Shuaibu, stating that his single vote wouldn’t singularly determine the party’s flag bearer.
The political tension between Obaseki and Shuaibu reached a legal impasse, resulting in a court case. Obaseki took a noteworthy step by relocating Shuaibu’s office out of the government house, further highlighting the complexity of their dynamic. Despite this, Shuaibu formally declared his gubernatorial ambitions in Benin earlier in the week.
Obaseki acknowledged the cordiality of their relationship and affirmed that the party and its members would ultimately decide on the flag bearer for the upcoming governorship election. While navigating the intricate political landscape, Obaseki expressed a commitment to addressing broader issues affecting the state and the nation, emphasizing a collective effort to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.