AFTER months of controversy and uproar, Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, bit the bullet on Monday when he officially declared to run for the 2024 governorship election in the state.
In a pre-recorded speech aired today, Shaibu, who has been the deputy governor of the state since 2016, said he would run for the office of the number one in the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
After his official declaration, Shaibu launched his campaign office in Benin City, the state capital, at an event crowded with party supporters in branded accoutrements.
“After all the consultations we have made, we needed to now make the answer to our consultations known to our people. And the answer is clear: they have asked me to run,” Shaibu said amid reverberating cheers of loyalists.
The 53-year-old politician said he has put his life on the line for the development and growth of the state and he was determined to make the South-South state great again.
Shaibu, who has been having a running battle with his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, for sometime over his political ambition, said though he was persecuted, he was not crushed.
Shaibu is from Edo North Senatorial District, the same district as ex-governor of the state and current lawmaker representing the district in the 10th National Assembly, Adams Oshiomhole.
Both Obaseki and Shaibu were once allies of Oshiomhole but the political association among them tumbled towards the 2020 governorship election when the ex-labour leader was accused of ‘godfatherism’ which he denied.
In the last election, Obaseki and Shaibu trounced Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) despite that the APC candidate was backed by Oshiomhole and other APC heavyweights including ex-governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.
The hurdle ahead of Shaibu is a rough patch. To succeed Obaseki, Shaibu would have to first contend with other PDP aspirants for the party’s ticket and then with other main gladiators on September 21, 2024, the date fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold the governorship poll.
Edo is one of the eight states with off-cycle governorship polls due to litigations and court judgements. The others are Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo.