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Thepledge Big Story: 2024: How Obaseki, Shaibu Rift Will Shape Edo Governorship Race

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By Augustine Akhilomen

The ongoing in-house crisis rocking two of the People’s Democratic Party’s leaders, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu in Edo State may jeopardize the party’s chances of retaining power in next year’s 2024 governorship election.

The two political actors, who have taken the fight straight to the media accusing each other of witch-hunt, have made themselves enemies after seven and half years of friendship in the corridor of power.

It will be recalled that their sojourn in power started right from the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2016 when Obaseki emerged winner of the governorship election beating PDP Candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Again, the duo were re-elected in 2020 under the umbrella of the PDP but not without strong opposition, First, they left APC after the party refused to grant them a second term ticket before facing stiff challenge from members of the PDP, who were displeased with the fact that he was given an automatic ticket.

However, with just months to the end of Obaseki’s tenure, it appears the once jolly friends are gradually becoming bitter rivals. Thepledge gathered that in the past two months, all have not been well at the Dennis Osadebey Avenue seat of power in Benin City between Obaseki and Shaibu.

Trouble started when Comrade Shaibu was seen in a viral video with Senator Adams Oshiomhole during the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in Abuja. Sources alleged that a few days after the Abuja viral video, the governor summoned all PDP members of the State House of Assembly to his mansion, excluding his deputy, which was extremely unusual.

The deputy, who was briefed about the meeting, drove directly to the governor’s mansion but was rebuffed and stopped by the DSS personnel, who told him he was not on the list of invitees.

This, Thepledge further learnt, didn’t go down well with the Deputy Governor considering his relationship with the governor. So, out of fear of being kicked out of office, the embattled deputy governor on Thursday, August 3, obtained a restraining injunction at a Federal High Court in Abuja, for protection from being impeached.

Among reliefs he sought were interlocutory injunction stopping the respondents or their agents from harassing, intimidating, embarrassing or preventing the applicant (Shaibu) from carrying out the functions of his office as Deputy Governor of Edo State, including attending State Executive Council meetings and other functions pending the determination of the substantive suit.

However, breaking his silence on the matter, Obaseki, on Monday, said that there was no plan in place to impeach his deputy. The governor, however, noted that the move by Shaibu seeking a court order to stop his purported impeachment was preemptive ahead of his alleged plan to defect to the All Progressives Congress.

The Governor further said: “There is no timetable yet for the Edo election; it will come later in the year. So, I believe that this action by him is just a pre-emptive move to get a court order to keep his position while he now moves to the other party to get the ticket.

“And I think it’s unfair on our party, it’s unfair on the state that we don’t need this sort of crisis and two our state is not being represented well locally and internationally. I have been getting calls from all over the world.

“It is rather sad that somebody who is part of an administration would do this to the administration he has been part of just because of his own personal ambition.”

Again, Obaseki, while addressing stakeholders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the ongoing rift between him and Shuabu, in a video posted by AIT on Friday, accused his deputy of planning to succeed him at all costs ahead of the state governorship election scheduled to hold in 2024.

“The constitution made me the governor of Edo State and it does not give room for a co-governor. My keen interest has been to unify and consolidate our party. That’s why I supervised the local government election.

“He has never come to me to talk about running. He just said he is consulting. He (Shaibu) went to Abuja and was boasting that he has connections in Abuja, that he has people in the National Assembly, that they are all with the president now, that they will take care of him.

“That if he cannot get the ticket in PDP, he knows what to do,” the governor said.

Obaseki continues: “During the nomination of the commissioners. About five of us were supposed to look at the list of nominees from the local government of the state. That morning I called him for the meeting, but he didn’t attend. That’s why Itsako does not have a commissioner. I still gave him the respect to provide his nominee when he’s ready.

Explaining further, he added, “I kept quiet and said I thought we were together. But what struck me, and I have never said this to anybody, is that after I proclaimed the House of Assembly, we were now going to elect officers.

“He was in Abuja, he came back that day. I am the chief security officer of this state. I get any information I need. But I have the responsibility to keep quiet and use the information properly.

“My deputy called the leader in APC, telling the leader that during the elections on the next day, particularly the speaker of the house of assembly, he has five members who are loyal to him and that he would like the seven members of APC to work with his five members of PDP to produce the next speaker.

“As far as I am concerned, that was not working in our common interest. Why would the deputy governor seek to have another speakership candidate outside of what the governor wants? Are we working together?

“That was when I knew we had a problem. That the deputy governor has become so desperate to take over that he would do anything, including carrying out a coup, against his governor. How can you say you are loyal and you will do such a thing?”

There is no doubt that Shaibu is hoping to succeed Obaseki as governor in 2024, considering the fact that Edo North last produced the governor when Oshiomhole ruled the state for eight years, between 2008 and 2016.

Shaibu no doubt helped his boss to fight his kinsman, Oshiomhole and so, wanted Obaseki to let him have a shot at the governorship position but his boss is for now vehemently opposed to it, given the fact that one senatorial district is still being denied the governorship seat and in the spirit of justice and fair play, they should be compensated.

It will be noted that on November 28, 2022, Shaibu stated that his politics won’t end as deputy governor. He said, “My politics will not end as deputy governor. That is not the contract I signed with God and the people, but where I am going next is in the hands of God. I don’t want to be distracted by what will happen in 2024.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of PDP in Edo, Dr. Anthony Aziegbemi, has disclosed that the faceoff between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, will soon be resolved. He said that the party leaders are not sleeping over the rift between Governor Obaseki and Comrade Shaibu as they are presently working round the clock to nip the crisis in the bud.

“You expect that such a rift will exist because even identical twins have different DNA. Moreso, when it comes to the political ambitions of human beings, the DNA can go haywire.

“So, as a party, we think that we will control it. We have it absolutely under our control. The rift will soon be a thing of the past.”

“The leaders of the party are not sleeping on it. We are looking at the various options.”

Also, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, representing Edo North Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, stylishly delved into the matter last week when he told the Edo State Deputy Governor, Shaibu, that the APC has no Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp to rehabilitate distressed politicians.

Oshiomhole, a former Governor of Edo State, made the assertion while commenting on the allegation made by Godwin Obaseki, the current governor, that Shaibu’s court case against him was a prelude to his defection to the APC. Oshiomhole therefore urged the deputy governor to respect and be loyal to his boss, insisting that his wish is for Edo to be governed in peace and harmony.

“But let me say this, to say that somebody wants to run for the APC, I want to say that the APC is not a rehabilitation centre. I can tell you that for free.

“We in APC are satisfied the way we are; we are happy in opposition and we are not about to receive people who are coming because they have lost out. I want to say that there is no IDP camp in APC.

“So my advice is that those who are having challenges should learn how to respect their bosses. I have always advised people that whoever you work with, be loyal,” Oshiomhole said to the delight of those at the scene.

But observers are of the view that the ongoing feud between the top leaders if not settled peacefully, may afford the APC and particularly Labour Party, who is being rumoured to give former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata the governorship ticket of the party, to make inroads and possibly dislodge the ruling the PDP from Government House.

Going by LP performance in the last Presidential election, where the party defeated APC, PDP and all comers to win the state for Peter Obi, then there is an outside chance for the party to create another upset if Obaseki and Shaibu fail to put their house in order.

LP is still a force to reckon with and could change the dynamic of the politics in Edo State if they present a candidate that can appeal to the mindset of voters in the state. All eyes are on the PDP and its leaders on how they go about resolving the current crisis. If the party goes ahead to zone the governorship ticket to Edo Central, they would have to convince the South and North on the viability of such a decision to be able to win the general election.

As it is however, the fall guy might well be the deputy governor who will eventually be in the cold given the indisposition of Oshiomhole, who is the APC leader and most influential member of the party in the state to his governorship ambition. But there is no doubt that how the current crisis plays out would shape the race to Osadebey House next year.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Civil Service

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Didi Esther Walson-Jack as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, with effect from August 14, 2024.

Prior to her new role, Walson-Jack was the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education.

She was also appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several ministries.

The announcement was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the President’s Special Adviser, Ajuri Ngelale.

The statement was titled ‘President Tinubu Appoints New Head of Civil Service of the Federation.’

“The new appointee will take over from the incumbent Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, who is due to retire on August 13, 2024.

“President Tinubu, while thanking the outgoing Head of Service for her stewardship, tasks the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation,” the statement read.

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PDP Governors Declare Support For Organized Labour Demand On Minimum Wage

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By Augustine Akhilomen

….Demand Political Solution To Rivers Crisis

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has declared their total support to the demand for a new minimum wage by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

This was made known following a marathon meeting in Enugu that lasted over four hours, Bauchi State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed, addressed the press on behalf of his colleagues.

He called for a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Rivers State between Governor Sim Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

The governors also supported the federal government’s stance on granting autonomy to local governments.

The PDP Governors’ Forum vowed to work together to achieve their goals, providing a united front to reclaim leadership positions and provide a credible alternative to Nigerians.

The governors present at the meeting included Gov. Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State, Chairman, Gov. Siminalayi Fubara, Rivers State, Vice Chairman, Gov. Peter N. Mba (Host), Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Adamawa State, Gov. Umo Eno, Akwa Ibom State, Gov. Douye Diri, Bayelsa State, Member, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, Delta State, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, Edo State, Gov. Seyi Makinde, Oyo State, Gov. Caleb Mutfwang, Plateau State, Gov. Agbu Kefas, Taraba State and Gov. Dauda Lawal, Zamfara State

According to the communiqué, “The meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues that border on our critical national interest, the state of our party particularly the forthcoming congress, the unprecedented hardship faced by majority of Nigerians as a result of the dismal performance of the APC-led Federal Government, the minimum wage negotiations, and the recurring issue of inter-governmental relations with special reference to local government autonomy and funding.

“Following exhaustive discussions and consultations, the meeting resolved as follows: In the spirit of the founding fathers of our great party who adopted internal democracy as the fundamental principle on which our party was built, the congresses leading to the election of party leaders, at the various tiers, must be all-inclusive, transparent, fair and in strict compliance with the constitution of the party.

“To ensure the successful conduct of the congresses across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.”

On the off season elections in Edo and Ondo, the forum admonished all the parties to the elections “to ensure that campaigns are issues-based, violence-free and in strict compliance with the provisions of the electoral act.

“Urges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide a level playing field that guarantees transparent, fair and unimpeachable elections as any act of bias will be totally resisted.

“Urges Mr. President to show leadership as a true democrat by refraining from making any statement suggestive of political interference in the entire process.

“The Forum notes with dismay and grave concern the mismanagement of the economy by the APC-led Federal Government.

“The minimum wage negotiations are becoming unduly protracted. In the face of the attendant unprecedented hardship and impoverishment of majority of our people, the Forum resolves as follows:

“That Labour’s demand for a substantial salary raise is eminently justified and therefore commands the total support of the Forum

“While the Forum fully supports Labour’s demand, agreement must take into consideration the ability to pay by the local government, sub-national and federal government.

“While negotiations are ongoing, we appeal for restraint in both utterances and actions that could lead to the complete breakdown of law and order and ultimately, the collapse of the economy.”

The governors also took a stand on the Supreme Court judgement on local government autonomy, declaring that they believed in the efficacy of the local government system which ensures that governance is brought closer to the people as provided for in the constitution.

“Will continue to support the autonomy of the Local Governments as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Forum holds the Supreme Court in the highest esteem, and is committed to obedience to court orders. However, the Forum urges that implementation of the court decision must be done in a manner that does not create a trust deficit between the federal governments and sub-national governments while also ensuring that the system does not suffer,” they further stated.

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‘You Must Pay For Everything I Did For You’ – Kizz Daniel Makes Demand Amid Rumours Of Marriage Crash

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Nigerian singer, Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, better known as Kizz Daniel, has requested a refund for all his expenses, amidst reports of his crashed marriage.

Recall that rumours made rounds online last week that Kizz Daniel’s marriage had crashed after his wife caught him with another woman in his studio.

In a post on his X handle on Wednesday, the singer listed the condition for anyone wanting to break up with him.

He wrote, “If you won breakup with me, Follow no My problem just pay me my PENSION $ For all the things I don do airtime, Gifts, The F**k etc then you can leave – BALACLAVA.”

Meanwhile, Kizz Daniel has opened up about why his latest single, ‘Double,’ was dedicated to his wife, who also featured as a vixen in the accompanying music video.

Recall that the new song showcases Daniel’s signature blend of afrobeat rhythms, infectious choruses and soulful melodies.

In a statement on Saturday, the ‘Woju’ crooner said the song is a celebration of love and double joy that comes with sharing it live with someone special.

Emphasising the reason for dedicating the song to his wife, the singer said the song also speaks to the beauty of partnership and family and hopes that the romantic anthem will resonate with his fans worldwide.

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