Strong indications emerged, last night, that the embattled Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, may rejoin the All Progressives Congress (APC) next week, barring any last minute change of mind.
A high-ranking member of the APC confirmed that talks on his defection had been concluded and he would be received into the party early next week by the APC National Working Committee (NWC).
“It has been confirmed. We have it on good authority that the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has concluded plans to join the APC. He is to be received along a few of his supporters into the party early next week by the National Working Committee of the party. Shaibu has been in talks with the state and national leadership of the party even before the feud between him and the governor went public and has been negotiating his way back into the party. The deputy governor has now perfected his defection to the party and we are glad and ready to receive him into our folds. It is no longer if but when the defection would come. I can tell you that all plans have been finalised.”
The defection would end months of speculations on his future with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is amid the political turmoil between him and his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, over alleged non-support for his governorship aspiration.
The decision by Shaibu to pitch tent with the APC, it was learnt, came after his move to the Federal High Court to seek an injunction against an alleged impeachment plot against him. Obaseki has, however, debunked the impeachment plot allegations, saying Shaibu’s court order to stop his purported impeachment was preemptive ahead of his defection to the APC.
However, both the state chairman and secretary of the APC, Col David Imuse (retd) and Lawrence Okah, respectively, denied knowledge of Shaibu’s planned return to the APC.
“Well, APC is not aware of that, so maybe it’s a rumor and it remains as that,” Imuse said.
Asked if Shaibu would be accepted back to the party, he replied: “Philip is like any other human being, so I don’t need to dissipate energy considering whether he is coming or not. APC is a democratic party, and the more the merrier, we are not laying emphasis on anybody, but if anybody finds APC attractive, APC is here waiting, but we are not laying emphasis on the deputy governor, we are laying emphasis on Edo people.”
Speaking in the same vein, Okah said: “If he comes, whether we will receive him or not, is a different matter, let that time come but I have not heard any issue about his coming and nobody has told me anything about that.”
Meanwhile, former governor and Senator representing Edo North, Adams Oshiomhole, has expressed opposition to the planned defection of his former god son, saying APC is not rehabilitation ground for politicians running away from their political parties when they have lost out.
He spoke when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Benin High Chief, David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, who passed on recently at the age of 94 years.
Reacting to the face-off between Governor Obaseki and Shaibu, Oshiomhole said during his tenure as governor, he never supported the aspiration of his deputy, Pius Odubu, to succeed him, but his deputy never took him to court on the issue.
“Regardless of party divide, it is my wish for Edo to be governed in peace and harmony because the supra party to which we all belong to is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The political parties given the rate of camping, decamping and re-camping show that the only thing that is constant is Nigeria, not the political parties.
“But I don’t know how court adjudicate over suspicion. Let me say this, to say somebody wants to run to APC, APC is not a rehabilitation centre, I can tell you that for free. We in APC are satisfied the way we are, we are happy in opposition, and we are not about to receive people who are coming because they have lost out. We don’t have IDP Camps in APC. My advice is that those who are having challenges should learn to respect their bosses,” he said.
On the late Chief Edebiri, Oshiomhole said in his life time, he had a cordial relationship with President Bola Tinubu. He asserted that the late high chief stood by the president throughout the campaign period.