Big Interviews

I need Ighodalo, PDP, Edo citizens to work with me for victory- Shaibu

Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philips Shaibu, who was also declared winner of Peoples Democratic Party candidate in a parallel congress held in Benin City ahead of the state’s governorship election slated for September, says he has the capacity and experience to govern the state based on the achievements of Governor Godwin Obaseki. In this interview on Arise TV ‘News Night Programme’ monitored by David Lawani, Shaibu said, among others, that Edo people do not need a trial and error candidate at this trying period


What makes you the legal and official candidate of your part, the PDP?

I am Comrade Philip Shaibu the PDP candidate for the 2024 governorship in Edo. I thank our delegates for what they did. What makes me the authentic candidate is the fact that PDP as a party has always followed rules. The rules say that ad-hoc delegates had to be elected, and these ad-hoc delegates that were elected will in turn elect the party’s flagbearer. So, the authentic delegates that were elected in the last delegates’ election elected me as the flagbearer of the PDP. For me, the other factional primary that took place is cosmetic. You can see everybody wearing uniform clothes. I have never seen a primary where people wear ‘Asoebi’ to the election, and you can see from our primary the organic support. They tried to disenfranchise the authentic delegates and struggled to have their delegates. I want to thank the Edo people and I want to thank PDP.


This must be a big one for your party in Edo State. What is your view?

There is no problem in PDP. I can assure you that if the PDP wants to win this 2024 election, the people have made their choice, and their choice is Comrade Philip Shaibu as their candidate.  Anything short of Philip Shaibu as their candidate that means the PDP is not ready to rule Edo. The people have spoken. What they did in that primary election is an expression of uniting the Edo people, and the will of the people cannot be subverted. Any attempt to subvert the will of the people, the consequence can be dangerous. I am going to follow up on what the governor said before the primary. He said any of us that wins he will support. So, I am using this opportunity to appeal to Governor Godwin Obaseki, for the sake of our party, to please keep to his words. I won the primaries. We should work together.



Do you think the PDP with these seeming troubles in the last eight years can produce the governor?

Our party, the PDP has the wherewithal to produce the next governor of Edo. If they allow the will of the people to prevail. The will of the people was very loud at the primary because they were determined to vote. Beyond PDP, the Edo people know the name, Comrade Philip Shaibu. They know my name is synonymous with projects. They know too that when I say I will do something, positively they know I will do it because I have a track record. So, this election is not just going to be about the party, it is also going to be about the individual that the party is fielding, it is critical. People are looking beyond parties now. They are looking at the person. It is the person that matters. Can we connect with this person? Do they know this person? His temperament matters. Can they connect with this person? They don’t know this person. Does he connect with them? Do they know his temperament? Does he live with them? Does he understand the terrain? These are the questions that will be asked. Can he sharpen the minds of the people? Our people are very intelligent and sound in terms of judgement and they are spot on. Some of those issues will determine and sharpen the election. This year, who is the guy? Is the guy known to the people? Does he live with the people? Does he know the terrain? Does he know what the people want? These are the things that will be coming up. It is beyond party. The party that produces the homeboy, the party that gets the candidate that connects with the people will be the party’s candidate and person that will win the election.  That is where the PDP and the delegates have made it clear that that person is Comrade Philip Shaibu.  And I thank them for it.



What next is the move of your faction?

Like I said, primaries have come and gone. As a leader, what I will be doing next is to reach out to other aspirants. Already, we have a statement union. So, the person I will be calling on board now is Dr Asue Ighodalo to join us to build an Edo of our dream. By the grace of God, what Edo people need now is food on their table. The economic situation is so hard that the people don’t need all this quarrel. They need us to put food on the table, and that is what I am bringing. When I say I am bringing government to the doorstep of the people, I am going to practicalise government, not theory for the people. I am going to bring the local government areas to the doorstep of the people. That is what I am going to be bringing from my experience. And don’t forget, amongst us who are contesting, this election I am the most qualified.



But who is to announce your candidate? In the interesting case of Asue Ighodalo, it was the Governor of Zamfara who announced the primary in your state. Do you have something against it?

It is just unfortunate that the Governor of Zamfara State, my very good friend, and former colleague in the legislative arm, and my brother the governor of Delta State, who is doing beautifully well, were in the other parallel congress that took place. Nonetheless, I think they were invited to come and preside over a cosmetic primary. It is cosmetic in the sense that the delegates that were given to them to use to produce the next governor are not the delegates that were meant for the election.  So, what drives the process is the delegates not the chairman of the primaries. It is the delegates that are the key as far as the primary election is concerned. The real delegates voted for Comrade Philip Shaibu, and I know the Zamfara governor and my brother, the Delta governor, will all support the PDP to win the election under Philip Shaibu as candidate. So, that is an internal thing we will resolve very soon. I am sure by the time these issues are resolved, they will all join. I don’t want to reveal a lot of things. Don’t forget revolutionary tactics are not discussed in public. There are a lot of things that as we go on, will become known to people. The public and Edo people will know that I am the authentic candidate for the PDP. I am not arrogant about it because I need everybody on board including Asue Ighodalo, Anselm Ojezua, and every other person.



And you need your party. Because people have said it is the sole responsibility of political parties. What if your party is insisting that the man is the same as Ighodalo? What would you do?

We are guided by the electoral laws. All political parties must be guided by electoral laws and their bylaws. Flowing from the bylaws, and the electoral law, I am the candidate of the PDP.  And like I said, there are a lot of things I cannot say. As we move forward, you will discover those things very soon. It will be in the public domain to know what has transpired. There were mistakes in one or two places. Those mistakes they will discover later, and as I said, I am not arrogant about the victory because it is for all of us. I will need all of them to work with me to victory. PDP has to win with Philip Shaibu as the candidate.



What do you have to say about some suggestions among Edo people, that the next governor is supposed to come from Edo Central? What do you have to say about the argument?

I do not want to go to this Edo North and Edo Central argument. I like to join Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. You heard about Comrade Adams Oshiomhole saying the Edo election is not about zoning. It is about capacity and competence, and that is what I believe in. I believe in capacity. What I am bringing on board, that some of the aspirants don’t have is experience. I am experienced in the public sector and private sector. Some of them are coming from the private sector. They don’t have public sector experience. We have seen it, and Edo now does not need to experiment with any aspirants or candidates. Edo people need somebody who will hit the ground running from day one. I have shown capacity as a member of the state House of Assembly, member of the House of Representatives, and deputy governor. If they ask the deputy governor of some states, many people don’t even know. The deputy governor of some states many people do not know. But when you ask the deputy governor of Edo State, even primary school children will tell you Comrade Philip Shaibu. This is because I have shown capacity and I am visible. From my days as President of NANS, member of Edo State House of Assembly to member of the National Assembly.




How do you feel going into the election despite having been hailed by some political actors and leaders as a courageous person standing up to the governor? How is it expected to be in your favour?

Interestingly, my governor whom I fondly call my senior brother and boss is somebody who likes people with capacity and people of courage. I can bet you, he has said, whoever wins, he will support. I can bet that he will keep to his words. My insistence that I will contest the election is supposed to be a plus for him knowing fully well that when I agree on something, I will do it. When I say we are going to build bridges, rail lines, Edo will become an agricultural hub, a food basket competing with Benue and Niger states. I mean it. He has seen it in what I have done in sports under his watch; he has seen it with what I have done with our internally generated revenue under his watch; he has seen it with what I have done with our immunisations system. To the extent, that Federal Government had to adopt them. It is what is called Immunisations one-one roof. In terms of capacity, he knows that Philip Shaibu can take over from him and build on what collectively we have done to take it to the next level. What is critical that I will bring to the table are changes. I will not make the mistakes that he has made. But I will build on the gains and positives that he has achieved. And we have achieved together. Very soon, we are in one family. The governor, Asue Ighodalo, and already my other brothers have congratulated me. We are all working together. I think the person I need to bring on board is Asue Ighodalo. The governor is already on board by the grace of God.



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