The ongoing conflict between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his deputy, Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu, escalated on Monday when Shaibu was denied access to his government office.
Security operatives at the government house heightened tensions by refusing entry to individuals who couldn’t properly identify themselves.
The confrontation began around 8:00 am when Shaibu arrived at the government house with his personal aides and security team, only to find the entrance gate to his office locked with chains and heavy padlocks.
Witnesses at the scene reported that Shaibu and his aides waited for approximately an hour before leaving.
In an attempt to resolve the situation, Shaibu attempted to contact Governor Obaseki but was unsuccessful.
He then engaged with the state Commissioner of Police and the State Director of State Security Services (DSS) to alert them to his predicament.
Shaibu also summoned the Government House Camp Commandant, identified as Ibrahim Babatunde, a Superintendent of Police, and inquired about the reason behind his office being locked.
Babatunde explained that it was a directive from higher authorities, suggesting that the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of Government House, Williams Wabba, might have more information. However, it remained unclear whether Williams responded to Shaibu’s calls at that time.
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Meanwhile, an online report, believed to have been posted by Governor Obaseki’s allies, claimed that Shaibu attempted to force his way into the governor’s office despite being informed of the governor’s absence. The report alleged that security operatives had repeatedly asked Shaibu to contact the governor if he wished to see him but that he continued to push the gate, causing a commotion.
An aide to Governor Obaseki, who wished to remain anonymous, accused the deputy governor of intentionally seeking to disrupt the peace at the government house. He insisted that Shaibu’s office had been relocated more than two weeks ago, and the deputy governor himself had publicized this information. According to the aide, Shaibu’s actions on that day were disruptive and unnecessary, as he had an office to which he had relocated.
It is worth recalling that amid the ongoing dispute between the two leaders, Governor Obaseki had relocated the deputy governor’s office to No. 7 Dennis Osadebey Avenue, and the civil servants from the deputy governor’s office officially moved to the new facility, which previously housed the Edo State Procurement Agency. The conflict initially arose about two months ago when Shaibu filed a suit at the federal high court in Abuja, seeking to prevent an alleged plan to restrict his functions, deny him attendance at executive council meetings, and impeach him. However, Shaibu withdrew the lawsuit recently, citing the intervention of traditional and religious leaders, particularly Catholic Archbishop Augustine Akubeze of Benin.