The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has vowed not to allow himself be intimidated out of the September 21, 2024, governorship election.
According to him, he joined the Edo Governorship race to stop schemes by vested interests to return power to businessmen.
Shaibu said this soon after returning his governorship nomination form to the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “We started the journey of rescuing Edo State in 2006, and we were conscious of what we wanted to achieve.
“We said that we needed to take our state back and return it to the people, and we did take the state back and return it to the people. Along the line, something happened, and the state is about to be hijacked again, so we said no.”
He affirmed that the forthcoming election is another challenge and that even though those intimidating him want to take the state from Edo people and return it to businessmen, he is saying “no!” Saying, “Because Edo State cannot return to Egypt”.
He further stated, “Edo State will continually move forward, and the only way it can move forward is if power resides with the people. PDP says power to the people, not power to business friends or business colleagues.
“I will tell the leadership of PDP that some of us have been harassed. I have received a lot of intimidation, but unfortunately for me, it is like a cross that God has asked me to carry.
“All my life has been a life of harassment and intimidation, but in all the intimidation, I have always come out successful.
According to Shaibu, the PDP primary in the state is also going to be a triumphant one for him because, although, they have bought all the elders, l they have not been able to buy the youth.
He said, “All the elders have bought them, except the elders who have their youths in mind. This is another challenge.
“It will get to a time when the money they are using to buy those guys will bring some of the money to me, and I will use some of it to campaign so that the PDP will win.”
Shaibu further said, “I am not looking ruffled because I knew the result from the beginning. I know when I will win an election. When I am not intimidated, that means that the election will not be successful.
“The intimidation and harassment show the character of my victory. When you don’t intimidate me, I don’t win an election.
“By the grace of God, our support is organic; it is not procured. I am not an aspirant that is being pushed; I am not an aspirant that is cut off from the people. The voters know me; they touch me; they feel me.
The deputy governor stated that they are already receiving the blueprint of what they want to do in Edo State. He said he had already set up a committee to decide what he would do.
He said, “Edo State now has a midterm election, and as the governor of the state, if you are a newcomer or an outsider, before you understand what to do, you are already one year in office, and as you are entering the next year, you are already preparing for the election.
“So if you don’t know or understand how governance in Edo State works—no experience—you will just forget about the original plans you have.
“I have been in the legislative house for 8 years and not just a passing member; I was the majority leader of the House back to back, and I was chairman of rules and business in the government house. For eight years now, I have been the deputy governor.”
Reeling out his achievements while in various offices of government including his current office, he said, “The functions I have been given by the governor—sports, immunisation, revenue—turned it around from 1.7 billion to 4 billion. I digitalized our collections.
“The ‘agberoism’ is no longer there; they now wear suits. In immunisation, we were number 34 when I took over, and in three years, we became number one consistently for two years.
“I was able to reorganise the system. I discovered that other ailments that can be prevented through immunisation for adults and women, such as cervical cancer and hepatitis B, which is a killer disease and contagious, can be prevented through vaccines.
“I was able to bring immunisation under one roof, and today the national government adopted what I started four years ago in Edo State to become a national programme on immunisation under one roof.
“I turned it around, and it was very low-cost. I digitalized the process of bidding when it was handed over to me and was able to save 4.5 billion for the state. That is to tell you about the level of transparency and accountability that we brought in.
“In all my transactions, I audit all my accounts by both internal and external auditors. Before I present any of my reports, I audit them, and that is why I have not received any queries.”
He further emphasized, “I am the first chairman of the National Sports Festival that will do that, and I also presented the same document to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and presented it to all state and national agencies, including the EFCC. That shows our level of transparency and accountability.
“I am contesting for governor today, not because Philip Shaibu has inordinate ambition, but because my ambition is to save Edo State from businessmen who now want to take over the state.
“We have already dealt with the issue of godfatherism, but it is rearing its ugly head again. I am happy that the governor told us that even if he is trying to bring somebody in as a godfather, we should deal with him.
“We are standing on the mandate of the people. My support is organic, and with Philip Shaibu, the PDP will retain its seat in Edo State.
“If you give me this ticket, from the day I am announced as the PDP candidate, the Labour Party, APC, YPP, and SDP will all move to the PDP, and there will be a mass movement of people coming into our party.”