Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu Sunday dared his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, by unfolding his ambition to succeed him next year on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Explaining why he threw his hat into the ring, he said “Edo needs a practical leader.”
The 2024 succession plan has been a bone of contention between Obaseki and Shaibu, who was endorsed by his ward for governor last week.
The governor had declined to endorse his deputy, who hails from Edo North, claiming that another politician cannot be fielded by the party in succession to himself, who succeeded former Governor Adams Oshiomhole from the North District over seven years ago.
Although Shaibu has apologised to his boss and reiterated his loyalty, his declaration of ambition may retard the reconciliation.
Shaibu, who said he was still consulting on his next moves, said the outcome of his consultation would be made known soon.
He said what the state needed was practical and not experimental governance, a vague reference to alleged moves by the governor to anoint a technocrat as candidate.
Shaibu told reporters in Abuja that Edo cannot afford to experiment with someone who does not understand the needs of the people.
He said: “With the 2024 Edo governorship election fast approaching, the state can not afford to experiment again with someone who does not understand the politics of the state or the needs of the people.
“Edo people need practical governance and you cannot experiment again with somebody that do not understand the politics of a good state and the needs of the people.”
The deputy governor said citizens were asking the government to stop pushing for projects that are not needed in any environment.
He said: “So, everything we have to do should be assessed. You cannot know the need of the people when you don’t live with them. So for me, competence and experience should be the watchwords as we go into the election in 2024.
“Who is competent? Who is more experienced? Who will hit the ground running from day one?
“Are we going to experiment with a new person again? And the person will spend the first four years learning on the job and he will spend another four years trying to embezzle, set up his businesses in the name of consolidating on the gains of the first term.
“Or do we need a governor that from day one will hit the ground running?”
Shaibu said for any government to succeed, there must be collaboration between the state and the Federal Government.
He said: “From my own experience, I have seen that for me to succeed as a governor, there must be collaboration.
“I understand the debt profile of the state and where I feel I can get funding to put up structure in the state. So, I won’t be coming to learn on the job, but to hit the ground running.”
Shaibu, who also spoke on zoning and rotation among the three zones in the state, said while the other zones have had more than a turn at producing a governor, Edo North has had one turn.
He added: “Whereas other senatorial districts have had more than one turn in the governorship position in the state, Edo north had only one turn. We have had four governors from South, two from Central and only one from North.
“Just like my ambition to be the deputy governor was not mine, but I made myself available, so also the ambition to be governor is still not mine. I’m only making myself available.”