Philip Shaibu, the Edo state deputy governor, on Monday officially declared his interest in contesting the forthcoming 2024 governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in a pre-recorded speech.
Shaibu launched his campaign office in Benin City, the state capital, at a crowded event filled with party supporters wearing branded accoutrements, following his official declaration.
“After all the consultations we have had, 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,” he said amid the 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.
The Edo deputy governor, who has been engaged in a continuous conflict with his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki, over his political ambition, asserted his unbroken spirit despite facing persecution.
Shaibu is from Edo North Senatorial District, the same district as the 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.
Obaseki and Shaibu defeated Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election, despite the backing of the APC candidate by Oshiomhole and other APC heavyweights, including the 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 litigation and court judgements. The others are Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun, and Ondo.