The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) has issued a strong condemnation of the recent mistreatment of Philip Shuaibu, the Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Edo State. The organization has criticized actions that it suggests are in breach of the rule of law and democratic principles.
Footage recently surfaced online showing Deputy Governor Shuaibu locked out of his office, seemingly an escalation of a disagreement with Godwin Obaseki, the Edo State Governor. CHRICED has called this an “unacceptable denigration” of a position mandated by the constitution.
“Political disagreements are a normal part of democracy, allowing for a variety of viewpoints,” CHRICED’s Executive Director, Ibrahim Zikirullahi said.
“However, the reduction of the importance of an office established by the constitution, through illegal actions, such as blocking an elected official from accessing his office, undermines our constitution, the rule of law, and natural justice.”
CHRICED argues that such actions are not merely an attack on Deputy Governor Shuaibu, but also on the office he holds as the collective heritage of Edo State’s citizens.
The organization emphasizes that the Deputy Governor is not an employee of the Governor, but rather a collaborator, selected alongside the Governor by the electorate of Edo State. While it recognizes the Governor’s precedence as a leader, CHRICED condemns any treatment of the Deputy Governor that disrespects the honor of his office.
If the Deputy Governor has acted inappropriately, CHRICED suggests there are established procedures for holding him accountable. To degrade and humiliate him without respect for his office, they claim, is to engage in lawlessness and extreme executive overreach.
CHRICED has called on the Edo State House of Assembly to address this issue. However, if the Assembly fails in its oversight function, CHRICED urges the national legislature and relevant law enforcement institutions to intervene.
The organization also issued a warning to “power-drunk” State governors, advising them to use their powers responsibly and in the interest of the citizens. As an example of power misuse, CHRICED cited the case of an Ogun State Governor, who allegedly harassed and removed a Local Government Area (LGA) Chairman from office for criticising the diversion of LGA funds. The organization has called on citizens, activists, and human rights defenders to put these issues at the forefront of their advocacy to protect Nigeria’s democracy.