Surprise as security aide denies Edo deputy gov access to Obaseki in Church
The crisis between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, took a new twist when the Department of State Services (DSS) denied Shaibu access to the governor.
Shaibu was one of the guests who attended the church service to mark the 32nd anniversary of the creation of Edo State.
At the event which held at the New Festival Hall of Government House, Benin, on Sunday, the deputy governor stood up to greet Obaseki, but a DSS operative blocked him just a few meters away.
Obaseki, who was seated beside his wife, Betsy, and Charles Aniagwu, a former Commissioner in Delta State, looked away as Shaibu fruitlessly explained to the plain-cloth security operative who stood his ground.
This is not unconnected to the recent fallout between Shaibu and his principal over his rumoured 2024 governorship ambition following his return from vacation in the United States.
Commenting on the issue, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Andrew Okungbowa, said the DSS operative was only doing his job.
“Whatever happened at the church service was not at the behest of the governor, neither was he aware what the security aides were doing. In fact, the security aides were doing their job. Besides, the governor was not aware that the deputy was coming to greet him. The church is a public event, so the security aides had a duty to safeguard their principal,” he said.
Despite the embarrassing incident, Shaibu pledged absolute loyalty to the governor.
Speaking with journalists at the venue, the deputy governor described Obaseki as his elder brother.
He said: “My loyalty to the Edo governor remains absolute. I see that everybody is doing solidarity. I am also in solidarity with the governor. I am also declaring my unalloyed solidarity and loyalty to the governor.
“As for the issues that were around town when I was away (in the United States of America), I really would not want to talk. Issues that concern my governor are not things I like to speak about. He is my elder brother and boss. I do not think I should talk about anything.
“If I have issues with him (Obaseki), it is better settled at home, and not in the media. I am well brought up.
“I can tell you that from my Christian background, if you make a vow with God that you want to do something, you must fulfill it. And the vow I have taken with God is that I will continue to support Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State, from the beginning to the end. But that does not stop anything that has to do with ambition. Ambition is personal, and it does not affect loyalty. My loyalty to the governor remains absolute.”
Shaibu, who hails from Edo North Senatorial District, intends to succeed Obaseki, an indigene of Benin in Edo South senatorial district, but the governor is pushing for a successor from Esanland in Edo Central senatorial district.