Governor Obaseki To Shaibu: ‘Emilokan’ Won’t Work In 2024 Edo Election


The ongoing discord between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, has taken a more serious turn, with the governor conveying a clear caution to Mr. Shaibu that the notion of “emilokan” would not find acceptance in the state’s political landscape.

The term “emilokan,” borrowed from the Yoruba language and denoting “it is my turn,” gained prominence through President Bola Tinubu during his 2023 election campaign.

Governor Obaseki, in a recent statement, challenged the appropriateness of the “emilokan spirit” within the realm of Edo’s politics, declaring, “The ‘Emilokan’ syndrome or spirit is not a viable strategy for winning elections and leading the Edo people.” This statement was relayed to PREMIUM TIMES by Crusoe Osagie, the special assistant on media projects to the Edo State Government.

During a visit from the leaders of the Edo South Senatorial District at the Government House in Benin, the governor emphasized that Edo’s populace would not embrace the “Emilokan” concept as a legitimate strategy, asserting, “It is the people who will determine. Edo’s ethos is not built on such principles.”

Although he did not explicitly name Deputy Shaibu, it is widely understood that the remark was directed at him due to his purported ambitions for the 2024 gubernatorial election in the state.

While both were members of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), Deputy Shaibu had staunchly supported Governor Obaseki during their time in the party, especially during the political clashes between the governor and Adams Oshiomhole. When Mr. Oshiomhole, then the APC national chairman, blocked Governor Obaseki’s pursuit of the party’s governorship ticket, the duo moved to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) together, eventually clinching victory in the election.

Governor Obaseki’s invocation of the “emilokan” concept suggests that he wants to prevent Deputy Shaibu from feeling entitled to succeed him in office. Recently, Deputy Shaibu sought legal intervention to thwart an alleged plot by Governor Obaseki to remove him from his position.

Governor Obaseki accused Deputy Shaibu of manipulating the youth council election to further his political ambitions, remarking, “Even if you have ambitions, this is not the appropriate time to assert them. The election schedule has not been released. You cannot simultaneously be a part of a government while attempting to destabilize that very government.”

Governor Obaseki expressed his expectations for continuity and unity within their shared governance, stating, “Let the people acknowledge your good work and then make their own decision. They should determine whether we continue, regardless of circumstances.”

Furthermore, the governor defended his choice to grant Deputy Shaibu substantial visibility within the administration, asserting that elevating a deputy governor’s profile is a reasonable course of action and should not be misconstrued as a misstep. He expressed hope that young individuals provided with opportunities in leadership would not misuse them.

Deputy Shaibu denied any discord between him and the governor, contending that political agitators were attempting to sow discord between them. He emphasized their shared commitment to Edo State’s development and urged fellow politicians within the Edo State PDP to pursue unity and peaceful collaboration in pursuit of the greater good.

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