The Edo State Government has disbanded the media crew attached to the Office of the Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu.
The state government also directed the deputy governor to henceforth request the Ministry of Communication and Orientation for media coverage of activities of his office.
Obaseki, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation Chris Nehikhare noted,”This directive followed the ugly and unfortunate incident that happened during the colloquium held to mark the 60th anniversary of Midwest Referendum celebration held at the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Soundstage, where some journalists, who claimed to be the media crew of the Deputy Governor, attempted to force their way into the hall where the governor and other invited dignitaries were already seated”.
“This act was contrary to the accredited protocol that had been established for the media coverage of the event.
“The orchestrated and stage managed walkout and disruption is highly regrettable”.
Earlier yesterday, there was mild drama at the venue of the colloquium when the deputy governor’s media crew were ordered to leave the event, an incident which created tension in the hall.
This is coming barely 24 hours after a viral report and picture of Department of State Security (DSS) officials prevented the deputy governor from exchanging pleasantries with his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki at the venue of an Interdenominational Church service held in Benin, the state capital.
Shaibu’s media crew, who were seated at the venue prior to the commencement of the events, were allegedly ordered out of the venue by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Mr. Andrew Okungbowa.
Obaseki’s media aide was said to have acted under an instruction from above.
The relationship between the deputy governor and his principal had gone south following Shaibu’s allegation that his boss had plotted to impeach him over his intentions to contest the 2024 governorship election.
When contacted, the deputy governor confirmed the incident and simply said: “Yeah! We are good.”
Meanwhile, Obaseki hailed Oba Eweka II, Oba Akenzua II, Chief Dennis Osadebey, and Chief Anthony Enahoro, among others who secured the creation of the then Midwestern Region.
Obaseki said these heroes braved the odds and battled to create a distinctive political identity for a people who have always loved and cherished their freedom, culture and creative energies.
The Edo governor who stated this in a welcome address on the occasion of the 60th year of the Midwest Referendum at the Sir. Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, in Benin City, capital of the state, also declared that the Midwest Region in 1963, which was carved out of the then Western Region, three years after Independence and colonial rule, was a product of the bold character and love for freedom of our forebears.
According to him, the region, which later came to be known as Bendel State in 1976, was the first State in Nigeria to be created by a referendum, signalling our staunch belief in democratic ideals, noting that it was the foresight, sacrifice, and struggle of courageous and notable leaders such as Oba Eweka II, Oba Akenzua, Chief Dennis Osadebe and Chief Athony Enahoro, among others that secured the creation of the then Midwestern Region because they had braved the odds and battled to create a distinctive political identity for a people who have always loved and cherished their freedom, culture and creative energies.
Obaseki however, said 60 years after the referendum, the people are still bedevilled with numerous socio-economic challenges, which require a reset of the institutions and structures that propped the region up in the past.
He therefore advocated the need for the leaders continue to work together to build a state that stands as a beacon of progress, a model of good governance, which had been a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people.
His words: “It is with great delight that I welcome distinguished guests and dignitaries to this auspicious occasion as we celebrate 60 years of the Midwest Referendum and the 32nd anniversary of the creation of Edo State.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our history as we reflect on our journey as a people, celebrating our achievements, acknowledging our challenges, and renewing our commitment to the ideals that shape our present and future.
“Six decades ago, the people of Edo and Delta States united in agreement for their self-determination, to chart their own course to political and economic freedom and break free from the chains of regional dominance.
“The Midwest Region in 1963, which was carved out of the then Western Region, three years after Independence and colonial rule, was a product of the bold character and love for freedom of our forebears.
“The region, later came to be known as Bendel State in 1976, was the first State in Nigeria to be created by a referendum, signalling our staunch belief in democratic ideals.”
He also noted, “It was the foresight, sacrifice, and struggle of courageous and notable leaders such as Oba Eweka II, Oba Akenzua, Chief Dennis Osadebe and Chief Athony Enahoro, among others that secured the creation of the then Midwestern Region. They had braved the odds and battled to create a distinctive political identity for a people who have always loved and cherished their freedom, culture and creative energies.
“We must continue to work together to build a state that stands as a beacon of progress, a model of good governance, and a testament to the indomitable spirit of our people. Happy anniversary to all Edo people.”
In a goodwill message, immediate past governor of Edo State, Senator Adams Oshiomhole the great initiative for organising a colloquium to mark the 60th anniversary of Midwest referendum and 32 years of the creation of Edo State which has brought people of Delta and Edo States and part of Bayelsa State.
Oshiomhole who noted that a lot has been achieved since the 1963 referendum, added that if the people of Edo and Delta were to be still part of the Western region, persons like himself, Prof Oserhiemen Osunbor and the present governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki would not have had the opportunity to become governor’s.
He said forum of this nature was apt as it will help the youth to know where that are coming from.
Oshiomhole therefore, asked Obaseki as the most senior governor of the South-south, to reactivate the Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta (BRACED) Commission, a regional body aimed at championing the welfare of people of the core Niger Delta.
He assured the Edo governor that working together with other senators of the South-south irrespective of party differences, they will continue to voice out the plight of the people until government at the centre begin to see the reason why it should listen and take positive actions.
The colloquium was graced by the deputy governor of Delta State, Sir. Monday Onyeme, former governor of Edo State, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor; Representatives from the governor of Bayelsa State, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe; Secretary to Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Blessing Agbebaku, amongst others.