By Henry Ebireri
A positive political horizon which signposts the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 governorship election, rejection of godfatherism, people’s power in politics and the state’s agenda for sustainable development were given at the weekend by Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Phillip Shaibu as the four main reasons for quitting the All Progressives Congress (APC).
‘’I am keeping the tenets of what we believe. Comrade Adams Oshiohmole told us that Godwin Obaseki is a team player and member of the family. He told us Obaseki knows the tradition of the family. I also know the tradition of the family. What is the tradition of the family? Say no to godfatherism, say yes to development. That is the tradition of the family. Our project has become the people’s project. It is not just our project but the Nigerian project because of the victimization we suffered. I am excited. I am happy that I am doing the will of my people. I am happy that the decisions taken so far are decisions that are blessed by my people. I am happy that I have not disappointed them’’ he said.
The deputy governor says the odds are in the favour of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
‘’I don’t think I have opponent in Etsako West. Politics is all about people and for the benefit of the people and the good of the people. Politics that we play now is the politics that is defined as politics of the people and by the people. We returned power to the people. That has been our slogan. Let the people lead. It is that slogan that propels some of us to continually do the will of the people. When you check at Phillip Shaibu being a member of the Edo State House of Assembly, voted for by Etsako West Constituency 11 and you check Phillip Shaibu that was voted for in the House of Representatives and you check the Phillip Shaibu that is the present deputy governor and by the grace of God and the support of the people second term deputy governor and compare Gani Audu, who was a member of Edo State House of Assembly –first term, got second term by luck but refused to be sworn in. Check his records and check my records, check the record of the governor of Edo State. It is the first four years of Governor Godwin Obaseki as a politician. Check the record of his opponent. Adams Oshiomhole has told us all. He has defined us. Oshiomhmole has defined me as a politician. Oshiomhole has defined the governor as a politician and Oshiomhole has also defined pastor as a politician. Without me saying it, Oshiomhole has helped us to say who is popular and who should be voted. Oshiomhole has always said that Obaseki is the best among these two in terms of qualification and doing the will of the people. He is number one and he has always told us that the second man, Ize-Iyamu is a thief. I can tell you Oshiomhole is proud of me’’ he said.
Shaibu told reporters in Uzairue, Etsako West that every taken step so far made had been accepted by the good people of Edo State.
‘’Edo North is the home of development. Edo North is home for politics and Edo North is where we established the new tradition of development when we brought in Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole. When people say I sacrificed a lot to have a government and a system that is working, I say yes I sacrificed a lot to have a system that is working but I can tell you that one of the greatest sacrifices I have made in my political career is leaving the party I helped to build, the party I labored for. I wrote the mission statement of Grace Group that metamorphosed to AC and ACN that merged to now have APC. So you can call me a foundation member. We formed APC. So to leave that party to PDP is one sacrifice that we have to make for the development and the sustainability of the tradition of development in Edo State. That is they joy I have. I did not hesitate to move when we were chased out by the man that is a beneficiary of our collective struggle’’.
He said it was regrettable that Oshiomhole moved away from the family tradition in Edo State.
‘’Adams Oshiomhole threw us out, disqualified us from the party that we formed. Oshiomhole had always told me that when a man throws a stone into your house and you do not show that there is a man in that house, then you are not manly to be called a man. So it was a time to actually show him that a stone has been thrown into our house and that there are men in the house that are capable of dealing with that. That is what we have done by moving to PDP. I am excited about the warm reception we got in PDP. It is the first time and I can tell you that it is the people that made the party, not the party that made the people. I can tell you that the vision that we established in APC has not changed. We are taking it to the next level. I can also assure you that the wealth of experience and that developmental strive are what we are bringing in to PDP. By the grace of God, our people will be the best for it. For us, it is all about the people and the people must continue to lead. We are in PDP and we will make PDP work just like we made APC to work. That we have left APC, the foundation of APC is gone. One man cannot dictate the destiny of Edo North. That is what we fought against. No one man can determine what Phillip Shaibu will be tomorrow. No one man can determine what you will be tomorrow. Leadership must start from the grassroots. The people must decide. The people must lead. I am happy that the man that was a beneficiary of this struggle is still alive and is seeing his children sustaining that legacy which is the tradition of the family that was defined by Oshiomhole’’
Shaibu, in a joyous mood throughout the interactive session with newsmen, thanked the peopleof Etsako West for their support.
‘This period is not the best time for me when it comes to politicking because my style has to do with crowd and direct contact with my people. The corona virus is not giving us that space. That they even came out today shows the love that they have for me. I was only concerned about their health. The crowd is always there and that crowd is what has been keeping me far from coming home because I know there is no way I can control that crowd each time I come. I am deeply excited. I have never doubted their support for me. God has helped me not to disappoint them in all the elections that I have been voted in here’’