June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Philip Shaibu favoured by fate for Edo 2024 (3)

CentralNews began this series of “Personality of the Week” last Monday focusing on Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu. It concludes today, with our opinion that only the majority of voters should have the right to decide who would be the next governor. By Chukwuemeka OKORO

WERE one to be close to Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki, one would encourage His Excellency to read up the canonical liturgy of Leviticus, chapter 16. Read only verses 10 and 26. It is about the scapegoat.
Then, classical American essayist James Baldwin, who later denounced his clerical calling, teaches a great lesson of the scapegoat which His Excellency seems to be making of his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu.
Baldwin wrote in his evergreen Michael Joseph (London) classic of 1972 “No Name in the Street,” thus:
“That the scapegoat which pays for the sins of others is well known. However the scapegoat may be made to suffer, his suffering cannot purify the sinner; it merely incriminates him the more, and it seals his damnation ….
“The suffering of the scapegoat has resulted in seas of blood and yet not one sinner has been saved, or changed, by the despairing ritual. Sin has merely been added to sin, and guilt upon guilt.”
Why this preachment? An acknowledged, hardworking deputy governor Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu says he wants to run for governor as the irreducible dual tenure of the incumbent is about to expire. His Excellency says no, he could only be succeeded by a person of his own choosing.
It does not seem to matter that Gov. Godwin Obaseki came to power on a mantra of, “Away with Godfathers,” and Philip Shaibu is a well-known successful combatant in that agitation. It may well be that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)– the plank on which the Obaseki-Shaibu second term is anchored– seems from history to be averse to deputies succeeding the top-dogs. Yet, the germane poser is, has Shaibu merited the baton he seeks to take over? Let’s return to the baton shortly.
In the beginning of PDP’s political hegemony, then President Olusegun Obasanjo was asked whether Vice- President Atiku Abubaker would succeed him in office. Obasanjo replied “I laugh!”
That jargonistic ambivalence became the character of the PDP of that epoch: no deputy succeeded to the political throne, nobody seemed to be thinking of merit, equity, capacity or loyalty. You could hardly take this stance too far away from the scenario playing out in today’s Edo State PDP.
While the battle lasted to redeem Edo from the political shackles of godfathers, no gerrymandering politician in the area could honestly deny the impact of Philip Shaibu’s savvy on the allies. Adams Oshiomhole became the pristine beneficiary of the victory.
Little wonder while Oshiomhole’s two-term tenure was coming to a close in an off-season election year, he opted to draft Shaibu to “strengthen” the political shoulder of technocrat Obaseki for the governorship race with the flag of the All-Progressives Congress (APC). At the time Shaibu was already elected member of House of Representatives.
Recall also that when Obaseki finished his first tenure, Oshiomhole was already re-introducing godfatherism and he had become national chairman of the APC and vehemently opposed Obaseki for second term.
Competent, loyal
It is doubtful that any honest person would deny Philip Shaibu his share of credit in first fighting off the Oshiomhole putsch and then the seeming seamless integration of the Obaseki-Shaibu campaign into and the victory with PDP. Oh, about credit, from their first term together as governor and deputy governor, Obaseki always entrusted Shaibu with the two most-critical cash-cows of the state: internal revenue generation, and sports development.
The deputy governor has manned these and other assignments to great acclaim, even from the governor, for the past seven years. It may not be fair to say that the deputy has been incompetent or disloyal.
Without any claim to understanding the cultural nuances of the vernacular here, “Esangbedo” now being introduced into Edo State’s politics is more corrupt than corruption. Somebody wrote in Vanguard newspapers that Esangbedo translates to something like, “the Eshan should, could, would not hurt the Edo.” If that is an interpretation meant to rob Shaibu of his due ambition, then you ask, what does it mean “Edomaruse,” or indeed “Obaseki”?
Political trickery
Is it possible that there is a historical reason for this flash showing? Is Gov. Obaseki hoping, promising to atone for a historical indiscretion his forebears might have committed against the Benin throne, for which he requires a scapegoat?
One is not an Edo person, nor claim to care more than my friends there but I know that political trickery is the evil of all human endeavours. Is it true that a long-demised Oba of Benin was once betrayed by a supposed palace loyalist-clan? If that were so, is there a promise to assuage a cultural sacrilege with political “settlement”? Is that where the people are stuck today with this Esangbedo resurgence?
Surely, the people are more concerned about the achievements and integrity of the persons they entrust with the power to move forward.
Naked truth
One is minded to agree with Sis Levin that, most of man’s dilemmas are largely a result of lying. Evil stems from lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about the hurtful things we believe, such as prejudice. Back to the scapegoat.
Isaac’s wife Rebecca cheated first son Esau to enthrone Jacob: Jacob had to flee from home. His uncle Laban whom he went to, cheated him by giving him Leah in marriage, instead of the Rachael he had slaved seven years for. Rachael eventually had a son Joseph who was hated by his elder brothers, Leah’s sons who sold Joseph into slavery.
That is the trajectory of Israel’s (Jacob’s later name) generations ending up in Egypt, in servitude, for more than 400 years. Ask and answer the question whether Israel’s troubles have ended even today, just because of an original act rooted in malice and dishonesty.
Fact: truth is naked. Make no effort to clothe it. If a greater demography of Edo State voters would let their deputy governor today become chief servant tomorrow, let their wish be. Politics must not always be about letting ego becloud merit.