Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned what it calls ‘irritating pettiness’ by the Edo State governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his unnecessary executive antagonism directed at his deputy Comrade Philip Shaibu.
HURIWA stated as follows: “We have read series of stories in the media regarding the unacceptable level of pettiness that has become the governance modus operandi of the Edo State governor His Excellency Godwin Obaseki particularly with regards to his absolute disrespect for the office of the deputy governor of Edo State occupied by virtue of a jount ticket by His Excellency Comrade Philip Shaibu”.
“The two actions that speak to this act of treachery is that of expulsion of the deputy governor out of the premises of the government house in Benin City to a street flooded by muddied and dirty latrine water. And secondly, the refusal of the security officers attached to the government house to grant access to the deputy governor and thus presenting the high office of the deputy governor as that of an unwanted irritant when in fact there can’t be the office of state governor without that of deputy governor.”
“We think that the Edo state house of Assembly, if it exists, should investigate if these decisions of the governor against his deputy fall within the Jurisdiction of decisions made in an atmosphere of ‘unsound mind’ in which case if the legislators determine that the quality of such decisions can be so classified to have possibly originated from ‘directives emanating from an unsound mind’, they should impeach the governor. There is the need for the house to constitute an investigative panel including clinical psychological experts to examine if it is possible for such decisions against the deputy governor who holds a joint mandate with the governor to have been originated from ‘a sound mind’. But if the contrary is the determination reached by the House that such decisions are from a sound mind, then the people of Edo State should be told transparently.
HURIWA refers to Section 15 (5) of the 1999 constitution stated thus: The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.
Section 182. (1) Of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria stated thus: No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if –
(2) Where in respect of any person who has been (b). declared to be of unsound mind;
Section 187 (2) The provisions of this Part of this Chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and Oath of Governor shall apply in relation to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor. HURIWA therefore is of the opinion that the decisions of the governor against his deputy should be looked at to see if they are impeachable offences or not”.
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has been denied access to his old office at the Government House in Benin, the state capital.
Shaibu arrived at the Government House on Monday morning but met the gate leading to his office under lock and key.
He says is yet to receive a formal letter from the governor’s office and that according to him is the proper channel to transmit a directive pertaining to the relocation to a new office.
“Up till now, I don’t have any official communication that I should relocate. The only people that have official communication are my civil servants. The civil servants have official communication but I don’t. As I am speaking to you now, I am standing by the gate,” he said while on a phone call to a yet-to-be-identified person.
Last week, a letter said to be from the office of the Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, was reported to have been sent to the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor directing Shuaibu to relocate to a new office situated at No 7, Dennis Osadebey Avenue, GRA, Benin City.
However, sources close to Edo’s number two citizen claimed that the new office is abandoned and in dire need of rehabilitation.
The development is the latest in the tussle between Governor Obaseki and his deputy. While there have been speculations about plans to impeach Shaibu, the Edo Assembly has denied such.
Obaseki had also accused his deputy of plotting a coup against him. But at a recent gathering to mark the anniversary of the state’s creation, Shaibu described his principal as a brother, saying he remains loyal to him despite their political differences.
“As for the issues that are around town when I was away, I really would not want to talk. Issues that concern my governor are not things I like to speak about on camera. No, no, no! He is my elder brother and boss and I don’t think I should talk about anything. And if I have issues with him, I think it is better settled at home and not in the media. I am well brought up,” he said on the sidelines of a thanksgiving service in Benin to mark the 32nd anniversary of Edo State.
“I can tell you that from my Christian background if you make a vow with God that you want to do something, you must fulfill it. And the vow I have taken with God is that I will continue to support Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State from the beginning to the end.
“But that does not stop anything that has to do with ambition. Ambition is personal and it does not affect loyalty. My loyalty to the governor remains absolute. I see that everybody is doing solidarity. I am also in solidarity with the governor. I am also declaring my unalloyed solidarity and loyalty to the governor and nothing more.”