The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has said he is “not a comrade that speaks from both sides of his mouth”, apparently mocking the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
He also said he was almost killed for defending the party chairman.
Mr Oshiomhole’s name is usually prefixed with the title ‘comrade’ because of his past involvement in workers’ unionism in Nigeria.
Mr Oshiomhole is a former national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“I am a true comrade. I am not a comrade that speaks from both sides of his mouth,” Mr Shaibu said on Wednesday in Benin while he was being honoured by Midwest Tempo as the magazine’s Man of the Year.
The deputy governor’s remarks is contained in a press statement from the Edo State Government House.
Mr Shaibu, like Mr Oshiomhole, has the ‘comrade’ title prefixed to his name. Both men also have another thing in common – their regular appearance in Safari suits, otherwise called ‘khaki’.
“My khaki is authentic, I earned it with my contribution to the return of democracy in Nigeria. I suffered in the course of the struggle to return Nigeria to civil rule in 1999,” the deputy governor said.
“I am not copying anyone by putting on khaki, I earned it,” he added.
Mr Shaibu at the event said he almost lost his life and his family while trying to save Mr Oshiomhole from impeachment when the latter was the governor of Edo.
“I was brutalised for Comrade Oshiomhole. I laid down my life for him; threw my family through the fence for safety when I was attacked for his sake.
“My hands were stitched after I was attacked on the floor of the State House of Assembly to save Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from being impeached in his first and second terms in office,” said Mr Shaibu who was the majority leader in Edo State House of Assembly when Mr Oshiomhole was governor.
“It is now time for Edo people to choose if we want progress, but our progress must not be put in reverse. Some persons want to stop Edo State from progressing but this is the time to defend Governor Obaseki and Edo people,” he said.
Mr Shaibu wondered why Mr Oshiomhole was against Governor Obaseki’s bid for a second term.
“I remember Oshiomhole told me he believes in second term, saying four years is not enough for someone to make a difference. Edo people listened to him and the party gave him an overwhelming consensus, which made him emerge as the party’s candidate leading to his victory in the election.
“We promised to take good governance to the next level. Obaseki is positively transforming the state through his people-oriented policies that have birthed programmes like Edo State Basic Education Transformation (EdoBEST), Edo State Healthcare Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP), and the Edo Oil Palm programme in the agricultural sector.
“He has made giant strides, which now positions our state as an investment destination. The governor is doing well and needs our support physically and our prayers spiritually,” the deputy governor said.
Governor Obaseki and Mr Oshiomhole have been engaged in a protracted political fight that many people fear could affect the political fortunes of their party – the APC – in the Edo governorship election later this year.