The Casualties of Shaibu War, Peace with Obaseki


There are losers and winners in every war and when the war is political and involves two men occupying the very top positions in a state, the number of casualties can be as long as the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos

That is the fate of Edo State where the governor and his deputy have fought each other almost to a standstill.

Nobody knew the duo were at daggers drawn until the deputy governor, Comrade Hon. Philip Shaibu blew the lid of the crisis open when he took the pre-emptive step of instituting a court case against the governor and the state assembly over an alleged impeachment plot

It was, indeed, so sickening for the two to be embroiled in what political observers called a political roforofo fight whereby everything is used,

As the face-off raged on, the two sides resorted to washing their “dirty linens” in public, which also put a question mark on their celebrated cozy relationship

Cashing in on the enormous power at his disposal and our lame-duck Constitution which makes a deputy governor a “mere spectator” in the art of governance, Gov. Obaseki unleashed mayhem on a poor Shaibu.

At a Church Thanksgiving Service, Gov. Obaseki watched helplessly and refused to intervene as a DSS official blocked Shaibu from “greeting” his boss who was just a few steps away

This was followed by the denial of access to the media crew of the deputy governor at the venue of the 60th Anniversary celebration of the creation of the Midwest region. In anger, Shaibu stormed out of the venue upon realizing the security officials acted on the instructions “from above”

Faced with a barrage of assaults directed at his person including the relocation of his office from the Government House to an obscure location, a subdued Shaibu withdrew the court case and also tendered a public apology to his principal who reluctantly accepted it.

Though the face-off may have temporarily taken a back seat, at least for now, as the combatants take an audit, it did leave some collateral damages on the political front, at least for the brief period it lasted

The first casualty is Shaibu. He ended up as a prisoner of war (POW) in the political chess game. Sadly, once a POW, one is stripped naked and left with nothing .

His vaunting ambition to succeed his boss went up in flames before his very eyes. Can he survive the onslaught and bounce back? Tough to say. Not many deputies labeled as “disloyal”to their principal survived in the past

Then came the set of civil servants and other political office holders, including the Permanent Secretaries (PS), who came in through Shaibu. One of the PS, Shaibu’s sister-in-law, was first redeployed and then retired in the heat of the crisis.

She and others were the casualties of the political war between the governor and his deputy. Most of them suffered the indignity of either early retirement or being sacked for being close to Shaibu

Those who managed to retain their offices and are of the Edo North extraction are watching the events keenly from their shell expecting the worst scenario any moment

And, of course, there are the hangers-on and praise singers. They are ever-ubiquitous and rely on the crumbs from the table to get-by.

They can be found everywhere: ministries and other government departments clutching portfolios and wearing big robes. They peddle influence and also engage in name dropping

While the rift lasted, the group of contractors and other hangers-on who had gotten used to enjoying the “free largesse” from the Office of the Deputy Governor found, to their chagrin, that they had been shut out and nothing was coming forth again

Even their master, Shaibu, had to look elsewhere for survival knowing he had become a pariah

Above all, the Edo people were the greatest losers while the macabre drama played out.

For a state already reeling from a myriad of problems, including the deplorable condition of federal roads and insecurity, it was, indeed, a nightmare.

Edo people were heckled and taunted as people who could not put their houses in order. They become the butt of criticism around the country. Almost daily, the social media and the traditional media feasted on the face-off between the two men as they danced naked in the market square. Even governance took flight during the crisis.

The only winner was the flawed 1999 Constitution which failed to provide clear-cut functions for the deputy governor.

As long as the situation remains the same, deputy governor’s will continue to remain as “mere appendages” and governors can do to them as they like

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