Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, says no room for godfathers in Edo state Politics. He said that the struggle for the emancipation of the people of the state from the hold of godfathers was ongoing and had come to stay.
Shaibu, in an interview with select journalists at his residence in Benin on Friday, thanked his political mentor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, whom he said spearheaded the struggle.
There had been political disagreements between Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki, on the one hand, and Oshiomhole, who is also a former governor, and some other political figures in the state, on the other hand.
Shaibu, however, noted that he and others were helping him (Oshiomhole) to sustain the struggle, adding that his political differences with the governor had not changed his father-son relationship with the party leader.
He said, “As the deputy governor, I thought I was just to hide behind the governor, but I found out that the struggle for the emancipation of Edo people from the godfather continues.
“The joy I have is that ‘no to godfathers’ has come to stay in Edo. We thank Oshiomhole for leading that struggle. We are helping him to sustain it. Like he said, you need to fight these people till you succeed for you to be able to free resources for the state to deliver dividends of democracy to the people. That is what we are doing.”
The deputy governor, who is celebrating his 50th birthday on Sunday (today), described Oshiomhole as someone he would continue to respect.
Shaibu said, “He’s my father and nothing has changed. What has changed now is that people are now able to read my role as a son and my role as a politician. We have political differences, no doubt about that, but it has not changed that relationship of father and son.
“Even when he made some statements that suggest what I am not, I refused to reply because when the chips are down, it is me that will still say I am sorry, whether he is right or wrong. I don’t want to say those things for people to say I said this or that.
“He is the one talking and I am not talking. I am comfortable with him talking. That shows I was properly brought up by my father and by him (Oshiomhole) not to respond to elders. The other one he taught me that I refused to use is that he told us that a godfather does not have age. We must kill them. As a good son, I will choose certain things.
“Father and son will definitely come back together. Politically, now we might be on different sides. I am not the first son that will disagree with his father politically and I will not be the last. The good news is that it has not changed relationship of father and son. We are on recess politically.”
Meanwhile, speaking about the governor, Shaibu said learning leadership from both Oshiomhole and Obaseki had made him a better person.
He said, “One part of governance I learnt from comrade (Oshiomhole) is the communist aspect and I am learning the capitalist aspect from Obaseki. You can imagine if I have to combine both, how effective I will be.
“My relationship with Obaseki is like an older brother and younger brother and it’s my first time of being under somebody; I have always been on my own, but as we move and I begin to understand him, he is also able to understand me.”
Shaibu added that if he had known most of the things he now knew about the enormous power at the disposal of government, he would have done certain things differently as an activist.