Deputy Governor of Edo State, Hon Philip Shaibu, has denied allegations by National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that he (Shaibu) was responsible for Saturday’s attack on the convoy of Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu at Oshiomhole’s residence.
Shaibu said the different statements given by Oshiomhole as regards the incident did not add up. He urged Oshiomhole to be courageous enough to own up.
Oshiomhole had insisted that the Deputy Governor mobilized over 200 commercial motorcycle riders (Okada riders) and thugs to the venue of the convocation of the Edo University, Iyamho to embarrass him and his guests.
But Shaibu said Oshiomhole’s accusation by itself was contradicting in the sense that it alluded to the rising reception that greeted Governor Godwin Obaseki by the youths of Etsako West on his arrival at Iyamho, the previous day on Friday, 1st November, 2019.
Shaibu who spoke in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Musa Ebomhiana, on Monday evening said he was nowhere near Iyamho on that Friday as he was fully engaged in official matters in Benin.
He said it was a joyous reception, no violence nor negative incident occurred on that day as youths were only on ground to show solidarity with the government of Godwin Obaseki.
According to the statement, “The Deputy Governor was himself a victim of the Saturday attack, considering the fact that he was actually in the same bus with the Governor, Oba of Lagos and other dignitaries.
The simple truth is that the national chairman felt offended and intimidated by the huge crowd of party youths that came out in solidarity with the Governor. He then decided to “teach” the Governor and his Deputy a lesson by organizing those misguided elements to take up arms against the state.
“I see this as clearly a case of entrapment, because the national chairman invited them to his house knowing very well that he had prepared for them, an attack by his political infantry as the statement dished out at the Sunday press conference did not add up.
“It is a pity that our national chairman now sees okada riders as thugs considering the fact that these were the same people who were in the vanguard of his struggle to reclaim his stolen mandate. He rode on their backs to judicial victory in 2007/2008.
“How come that the fighters of justice are now being labeled as thugs by no other person than the SOLE beneficiary of their struggle. So, position can really change a man?
“The Deputy Governor is a man of peace and honour who has never been associated with thuggery or merchants of violence. As much as I would not want to banter words with our highly respected national chairman. Nigerians know better between him and Edo State Deputy Governor who has thugs as associates, fondly referred to by him as “my infantry division”.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Political Matters, Edo-South, Hon Osaigbovo Iyoha, has denied allegations that he was sighted inside the bus that was taking Obaseki and other dignitaries to the Iyamho residence of Oshiomhole.
Iyoha said it was worrisome that Oshiomhole alleged on Sunday 13th October 2019 that he organised and conspired with thugs to attack his residence in Benin City.
He described the accusation is false and defamatory.
According to him, “Already, he has written a petition against me, which I have gone to answer at the Police Headquarters in Abuja. The Commissioner of Police in Edo State also came out publicly to refute his claim.
“Two days after I returned from the Police interrogation in Abuja, Oshiomhole has again alleged that Governor Godwin Obaseki; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Pro-Chancellor of Edo University, Iyamho, Prof. T.O.K. Audu and other dignitaries, who attended the convocation of the Edo University, were attacked on their way to his Iyamho home because the thugs saw me in the governor’s convoy.
“Oshiomhole and his media aides have twisted the story of the condemnable incident more times than we can recall, which only points to a harebrained attempt at a cover-up. They had earlier claimed that the attack was masterminded by the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shuaibu. If this earlier version was the case, one wonders how this new version holds true.
“His litany of lies without regard for his person as a former National Labour Congress (NLC) President, former governor and now National Chairman of the ruling party is appalling and quite worrisome.
“On the said date, I was at the convocation ceremony with Governor Obaseki but I never left the university premises throughout the programme. I arrived with the governor within the premises of the university on board the helicopter and left from same location.
“Nothing will take me to the house of someone who barely two days before took me to the Police Headquarters from Benin City to faraway Abuja under trumped-up charges that I led thugs to his house to cause mayhem. It still amazes me how easy it has become for the National Chairman to cook up lies to haunt his assumed enemies.
“The former governor’s new found love for false statements is a threat to the progress of our party, Edo State and the entire country. He must restrain from these statements which are attempts at character assassination as he is endangering my life. It can only be assumed that he is trying to hold me up so that birds of prey, thugs employed and empowered by him, can feast on me.
“I restate that I do not have any problem with him. He has his work cut out for him at this time as a National Chairman of the APC, as elections are coming up in Bayelsa and Kogi states in a couple of days. Oshiomhole as APC chairman should channel his energy to making sure that our party, the APC emerges victorious in those elections rather than haunting me for no just cause. He should please leave me alone.”