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‘It’s All Illegality’: Erstwhile Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu Challenges Impeachment

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BENIN, Nigeria – The Edo State’s House of Assembly impeached Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu on Monday, April 8, 2024.

The impeachment, conducted during a plenary session in Benin City, the state capital, marked the culmination of a protracted conflict between Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The assembly’s decision followed the recommendation of a seven-man committee established by Edo State’s Chief Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, to investigate allegations of misconduct against the deputy governor.

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According to Charity Aiguobarueghian, the Majority Leader of the House, the committee’s findings indicated Shaibu’s involvement in the disclosure of government secrets, although it cleared him of perjury charges.

Aiguobarueghian detailed the judicial panel’s two findings and its recommendation for Shaibu’s impeachment, which the assembly’s members overwhelmingly supported.

Out of the 19 members present, 18 voted in favour, surpassing the two-thirds majority required for impeachment proceedings.

The assembly’s clerk, Yahaya Omogbai, confirmed the outcome and the procedural adherence to the requisite majority for the deputy governor’s removal.

This legislative move came as a federal court in Abuja was scheduled to continue hearing a lawsuit Shaibu filed in an attempt to forestall the impeachment effort, which gained momentum last week with the initiation of formal proceedings supported by 21 of the 24 assembly members.

Shaibu, responding to his impeachment, decried the action as an assault on democracy. He characterized the assembly’s decision as a manifestation of dictatorial tendencies and a peril to democratic foundations, linking the impeachment to his declared intention to run for the governorship of Edo State in 2024 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Shaibu’s ambition, he argues, is a lawful right and his impeachment obstructs that pursuit.

The feud between Obaseki and Shaibu, highlighted by accusations of political manoeuvring and impeachment threats, has been a bitter public struggle for supremacy within the state’s political arena.

The discord stems partly from Shaibu’s governorship aspirations and the subsequent internal divisions within the PDP, leading to a contentious primary election process.

As the political drama in Edo State unfolds, the implications of Shaibu’s impeachment for the upcoming governorship election and the broader political stability of the region remain subjects of intense speculation and concern.

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