The feud between Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, widened on Monday when the deputy governor claimed he was denied use of the state’s official vehicles at the Abuja Liaison Office to transport him to Auchi, the headquarters of the state’s Etsako West Local Government Area.
Shaibu, speaking during the 2024 edition of the yearly Auchi Day event at the Palace of the Otaru of Auchi, described the development as “an attempt to ridicule the Office of the Deputy Governor.”
The deputy governor emphasized that the “ugly situation” was not about him as a person, but about the office, which he said must be protected and respected.
Shaibu, who announced in December last year that he had not received any office allocation for six months in a row, specifically named the State Government Liaison Officer in Abuja, Deacon Festus Osaigbovo, as the government official who denied him the use of official vehicles from Abuja to Auchi due to a lack of fuel and Hilux vam to convey his security.
The Liaison Officer, according to the embattled deputy governor, opted to assist him (Shaibu) in hiring a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) at a cost of N250,000.
“I called the Liaison Officer to provide vehicles to take me to Auchi to be part of this year’s edition of Auchi Day Celebration. Unfortunately, he started giving me all sorts of excuses as to why he could not provide the vehicles.
“He talked about fuel, non-availability of a Hilux for my security, and ended up saying he can only assist me to hire a SUV to take me to Auchi, the cost at which he put at N250,000.
“However, I managed to be in Auchi because I was determined to be part of this celebration. It is a sad commentary because as a government, we should imbibe the spirit of respecting the institution rather than trying to ridicule them.
“We are here today as government officials, we may not be here tomorrow but the institution remains for generations yet unborn,” Shaibu bemoaned.
When contacted, Osaigbovo denied the allegation, saying he did not only provide vehicles for the deputy governor, he included a protocol officer to be in the entourage from Abuja to Auchi.
Osigbovo also put the said protocol officer on the call, and the latter did not only confirm that the needed logistics were provided, but hinted that the vehicles, while on their way back to Abuja, developed faults, which he added had been fixed and were about leaving Okene to continue the journey back to Abuja.
“It is not true. I even sent a protocol officer to accompany them on the trip,” Osaigbovo added.