…counsels Dep. Gov. to focus on his campaign, stop profaning God’s name

The Edo State Government has asked the Deputy Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, to desist from using things like religion to whip up political sentiments.

This follows the controversy over the renovation of the Government House Chapel.

In a statement on Tuesday, the SSA, Religious Matters and Pastor-in-Charge, Edo State Government House Chapel, Rev’d Osagie Ehrunmwunse, said it was unfortunate that Shaibu “has continued to stir controversy over the renovation of the Interdenominational Government House Chapel, trying to use things that we as Nigerians and Edo people see and hold as sacred such as religion, to whip up political sentiments”.

Ehrunmwunse said there have been posts on social media and various media outfits in the last couple of days suggesting that the State Government has shut down the Chapel and prevented people from using it as a place of worship.

“Following closely from this narrative, our dear brother, the Deputy Governor held an outdoor mass with some Catholic faithful, clearly showing that he is the mastermind behind the persons circulating the video and the accompanying false commentary, as his actions seek to curiously authenticate their false claims,” Ehrunmwunse said.

He said it was unfortunate that the Deputy Governor had embarked on such a lowly adventure, attempting to stoke religious animosity to embarrass the government, in which he serves.

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“We want to bring the attention of the public and other relevant stakeholders to the fact that the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, was present (as shown in the EXCO Extract attached to this statement) at the 57th EXCO Meeting held on 1st of November 2023, when approval was given for the renovation and remodeling of the Government House Interdenominational Chapel. He served as Vice Chairman of the Council in that meeting.

“The project is being handled by the Edo State Public Building and Maintenance Agency.

“In the portion of the EXCO EXTRACT marked GC (2023) 85, with the heading ‘Conclusion 8 (Item No 12)’, the document reads: “Council approved that the contract for the Renovation and Remodeling of Chapel inside Government House, Benin City, Edo State be awarded to BOUMS MULTINATIONAL CONCEPTS LIMITED at a negotiated tender sum of N300,161,278.17 (Three Hundred Million, One Hundred and Sixty-One Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-Eight Naira, Seventeen Kobo Only),” Ehrunmwunse said.

He said the Deputy Governor “has full knowledge of Government’s action to renovate the chapel but rather prefers to act out a script to stir religious animosity in the State”.

“But this is indeed mischief taken too far. We advise him to deploy these efforts being used for mischief to his political aspiration and not use sacred matters as materials for his campaign.

“We believe that many things may be permissible in politics but not profaning God’s name for the purpose of gaining cheap sympathy and trying to blackmail the government in which he serves as the number two citizen of the State,” the SSA Religious Matters said.