• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

May Philip Shaibu not happen to you

By Ikeddy Isiguzo

Philip Shaibu is the type of Deputy Governor that only a few Governors would keep for longer than a few months. He carried on as if he was a co-Governor with Godwin Obaseki who never made any effort to conceal the fact that he did not like Shaibu. The feeling was mutual.

Shaibu was not likeable. He did not seem to care. Only one thing mattered to him – succeeding Obaseki whether Obaseki liked it or not. He was also sure that the ticket was his as Obaseki would not forget to repay the favour Shaibu did him.

Read also: Edo Assembly moves to impeach Philip Shaibu amid rift with Obaseki

No opportunity was wasted by Shaibu to highlight his contributions to Obaseki’s electoral successes. They seem to be things that were not public. His bragging rights to the ticket failed to factor in the zoning practice in the state’s politics.
During the more trying second term campaign, Shaibu cornered the right to abuse Obaseki’s predecessor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who responded in more measures. Shaibu excelled in the role. Oshiomhole and Shaibu are from Edo North Senatorial District.

Shaibu’s adult exuberance ticks some off. He makes a point of proving that his office was powerful enough for him to be seen and heard. He was not a spare tyre, as Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State once described Deputy Governors.

When I saw Shaibu forcing his dance steps on Obaseki, in public, I knew his days were not just numbered. He was gone. How was he the one deciding the campaign dance steps? He made a show of leading the Governor, even teaching him moves that could have been Shaibu’s spheres of core competence.

Obaseki maintained an inscrutable face. He was merely tolerating Shaibu. Their divisions resulted in many public spats. We can only imagine what went on behind the door.

Many would be wondering why it took that long for Obaseki who was not known for respecting the law to sack Shaibu. When he did he confirmed the worst fears about him. He was more ruthless than some thought.

Shaibu had contested for the party’s primary. His victory that the party refused to recognise was an affront to Obaseki who had done everything from re-locating the Deputy Governor’s office to locking him out of events.

Obaseki is one of the Governors who find immunity as a convenient cover for doing as they please. They are above the law. They ignore the courts in their race to desired outcomes.

Impeachment processes went on not minding court orders that tried to stop them. Shaibu is looking up to the courts to re-instate him as Deputy Governor and more importantly retrieving the governorship ticket that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will not give Shaibu unless the courts say so.

Obaseki claims he is fighting for equitable distribution of political power in the state. Will that be adequate reason to discard the law? The Supreme Court’s 2008 annulment of the election of Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, successor to Lucky Igbinedion, has seen Edo Central Senatorial District without a Governor in 16 years.

Shaibu sticks to the argument that zoning was not a law but an internal party arrangement that should not be used to scuttle his ambition. He could just be discovering that a Governor is notches ahead of a Deputy. Protocol lists are part of the deceit as they place a Deputy next to a Governor.

Most Governors are emperors. It is not a mistake that they prefer to be addressed as Executive Governor though the Constitution says they are Governor. The distinction, seemingly trivial, is important. There are no Executive Deputy Governors.

Read also: Edo deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, impeached

We can laugh at Shaibu. We can fail to realise that without being Deputy Governors we suffer similar fates as Shaibu when government officials acquire our property, refuse to be transparent in managing public resources, or security agents abuse us.

They will tell us “to go to court” well aware that justice is distant and that even if we get a favourable judgement, we do not have the political power to implement it. When the powerful in government use public resources in settling legal matters, we stand no chance.

It is left to the courts to decide what happens to Shaibu whose rights under the law cannot be abbreviated by Obaseki’s powers as Governor. It is about time too that Governors are stopped from resorting to self-help each time they think that the arm of justice moves too slowly, or may not be in their favour.

Finally…

More sadness enveloped Nigeria through the death of two Nollywood icons, Saratu Gidado, popularly called Dasso, who died at home and Junior Pope, as Pope Odonwodo was more famously known. Pope’s drowning on Anam River while returning from shooting a movie, takes us back to the absences of life jackets, emergency services, first responders, ambulances, hospitals that have oxygen, and medical professionals who can handle emergencies. These issues remain ignored until there is an accident. Water safety regulations are largely observed in breach. Will we wait for the next accident to act?

Our miracle-generating pastors still missed the fame and fortune that raising Junior Pope would have funnelled into their flagging missions. For a group famous for competing for converts, and more importantly cash, why not raise Junior Pope from the dead and charge his colleagues and followers for the expenses? We know everything is expensive now – miracles cannot be excluded – but Nigerians will pick the bill once any of the pastors, or a consortium of them, raises Junior Pope. Dasso has been buried.

Prince Paul Adekaye, Special Assistant to the President on Logistics should speak up for himself. Letters written on Presidency headed-paper, bearing his name, signature, as well as his title are on the desks of Nigeria’s Local Government Council Chairpersons nominating them for awards. The awards are part of a two-day Regional Stakeholders Summit on Local Governance and Rural Development that is being organised from Prince Adekaye’s office in the presidential villa. Who manages the President’s logistics if the Prince is busy with his six-regional Local Government Summits? Has Local Governance and Rural Development been added to the Prince’s brief? Imagine the audacity of sending those letters out in a manner that suggests they have the imprimatur of the President!

Wadume is his street name. Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) of Ibi Local Government Area, Taraba, State had a kidnapping ring that covered most of Northern Nigeria, supplied arms to terrorists, using Takum and Ibi Local Government Areas, as his base. He had a bizzare relationship with soldiers that resulted in the death of police officers who arrested Wadume and were taking him to Abuja. The soldiers cut Wadume’s handcuffs, aiding his flight to hiding. The case that nailed Wadume was the kidnappping of Usman Garba at his filling station in Takum. Garba paid a ransom of N106 million before Wadume released him. Last week Wadume, jailed in 2019, was freed from Kuje Correctional Centre to a rousing welcome in Taraba. He now looks like a victim instead of policemen and others who died during his operations. Obviously, the last has not been heard of Wadume.

David Umahi, Minister of Works, has been gracious enough to tell us that the 700km Coastal Highway from Lagos to Calabar would cost N15.6 trillion, a little over half the 2024 federal budget. The project was awarded to Hitech, a company that belongs to the President’s associate Lebanese-Nigerian Gilbert Ramez Chagoury, born in Lagos 78 years ago. No transparency will suffice in this contract. Could that explain why there was no bid for it?

Stories of the hunger in the land appear to be far from ears of the authorities who are too busy applauding the pendulous swings of the value of the Naira against the Dollar. They pay little attention to insecurity that hampers food production. It is our fault – especially those who see nothing good in the patriotic sacrifices our leaders are making. It is even possible that we are eating too much to have the strength to blame the President who we are told spends sleepless nights over Nigeria’s challenges.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues