By Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah.
Opinion: An old adage reminds us that “one rope does not sever another,” and it’s especially relevant in the wake of recent events in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, which unfolded like a dramatic spectacle before the eyes of Nigerians.
In this unfolding drama, Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu found himself locked out of his own official office at the government house. This embarrassing incident was not only witnessed by those present but also broadcast to a global audience, as it captured the deputy governor’s astonishment upon encountering a hefty chain and padlock obstructing his entrance.
The state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, refused to allow him into his office, causing significant embarrassment to the Deputy Governor’s office.
It’s essential to note that Philip Shaibu has chosen to exercise his rights to run for the state governorship election next year. However, this decision should not serve as a justification for the Governor to disgrace the Deputy Governor’s office.
Before I proceed, it’s important to emphasize that Philip, like any other individual, has the right to exercise his fundamental rights. However, it is crucial that this exercise of rights does not become a precedent that disrupts and ridicules our state on the global stage.
We may have initially seen this circumstance as a humorous amusement and had some fun with it. But, as time passes, it looks that the situation is deteriorating, and the Governor must proceed with greater prudence.
The issue at hand transcends Philip Shaibu as an individual; it concerns the office he represents. It is disheartening that this crisis unfolded shortly after Philip Shaibu withdrew his lawsuit against the governor. This legal action was not an attempt to impeach Governor Obaseki but rather a means of self-defense in the face of impending impeachment.
In the history of Edo State, deputy governors aspiring for the governorship is not unprecedented. Governor Obaseki himself benefited from a similar situation when he was anointed as the gubernatorial candidate against the wishes of his predecessor’s deputy, who had served loyally during their eight-year tenure. The dynamics of such contests should be managed with respect for the institutions involved.
Governor Obaseki’s decision to relocate Philip Shaibu’s office to less-than-adequate premises, devoid of basic amenities like electricity and a functional generator, is unfortunate. Such actions not only reflect poorly on the office of the Deputy Governor but also bring national ridicule to the state.
What is the purpose behind subjecting Philip to this humiliation? Is it aimed at him as an individual, the Deputy Governor’s office, or the Afemai Nation?
The adage, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face,” should serve as a reminder to Governor Obaseki. While Philip Shaibu may have his flaws, Obaseki should be mindful that any act of humiliation directed at Shaibu should not desecrate the office of the deputy governor itself.
Edo State is a region rich in cultural heritage and history. Every action of its leaders carries significant implications, and Governor Obaseki should consider the broader consequences of his actions, particularly in light of his deputy’s audacious gubernatorial aspirations.
It remains unclear why Governor Obaseki is intent on subjecting institutions such as the deputy governor’s office to public ridicule. The best course of action in dealing with Philip Shaibu would be to sideline him politically, rather than dragging an institution through the mud.
It is incumbent upon the citizens of Edo State to advocate for prudence and counsel Governor Obaseki to exercise caution in handling the office of the deputy governor. This ongoing episode sets a regrettable precedent that goes against the high esteem in which many hold His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki.
Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah is the Chairman and CEO of Bush Radio Academy.