Nigeria’s ruling APC in crises; factional congresses held across states

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, held its state congress in several states on Saturday. The congresses were to elect new leaders

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, held its state congress in several states on Saturday. The congresses were to elect new leaders for the party in Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja.

The congresses at several states, however, show a party that is unable to resolve its differences as parallel congresses were held in many states.

The parallel congresses occurred both in states governed by the APC and those governed by opposition parties. The split of the party, in many states, also shows the rift among top leaders of the party including those holding sensitive elective and appointive positions in the federal government.

KWARA (Saraki VS Lai Mohammed)

Two parallel state congresses of the APC took place in Ilorin on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

While the faction loyal to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, held its congress at the Banquet Hall opposite the Government House, another congress by a faction loyal to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, took place at Arca Santa Event Hall.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed; APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi; a senator, Shaaba Lafiaji; and lawmakers representing the state at the National Assembly and state House of Assembly were present at the congress held at the Banquet Hall.

Mr Saraki, while speaking at the congress, commended members of the party for the peaceful conduct of the ward and local government congresses.

He said most of the executive members at the wards and local government level were youth, adding that this was a sign of good things to come in 2019.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki [Photo: Sahara Reporters]

“In 2019, it will be a test for the youths to demonstrate their ability to take charge in the state,” he said.

Mr Saraki, however, appealed to the delegates to comport themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [Photo: Daily Trust]

The party’s chairman, Ishola Balogun-Fulani, commended members for their conduct during the last two congresses of the party.

The congress, loyal to the information minister, held at Arca Santa Hall. It had Moshood Mustapha, a former Special Assistant to the Senate President on Special Duties and Inter-Parliamentary Affairs in attendance.

Raheem Adedoyin, a former Commissioner for Information under the Saraki administration, was also in attendance.

Also present was a former Secretary to the State Government under the Saraki administration, Ganiyu Cook-Olododo.

NAN reports that executive members of the two factions emerged through consensus arrangement.

While delegates at the Banquet Hall still cast their votes in spite of the fact that the candidates had no opponents, those at the Arca Santa Hall only affirmed the return of candidates.

Moshood Bolarinwa emerged the state chairman of the faction loyal to the minister while Abdullahi Samari was affirmed the deputy chairman.

Others were Abdulganiyu Saka, Secretary; Abegunde Goge, Assistant Secretary; Rahmat Abolaji Women leader; and Samuel Isaac, Youth Leader.

Also included were Olayemi Olabanji, Kwara South Senatorial Chairman; Sulyman Yahaya, Kwara Central Senatorial Chairman; and Raheem Usman, Kwara North Senatorial Chairman.

Kayode Oyin-Zubair emerged Publicity Secretary of the faction while Abiola Nasir was affirmed Financial Secretary, with Wahila Sakariyah becoming the Organising Secretary.

OYO (Ajimobi vs Shittu)

The two Oyo factions are those of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and that of the communications minister, Adebayo Shittu.

In a repeat of the May 13 parallel local government congresses in Oyo State, the state congress of the party also held in two locations in Ibadan metropolis on Saturday.

Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Mr Ajimobi attended the congress held at the Lekan Salami Stadium, the Unity Forum of the party held its own at the Liberty Stadium.

Apart from Ajimobi, also present at the Lekan Salami Stadium were former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Abdulfatai Buhari (APC-Oyo North), Olagunju Ojo, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly; and Teslim Folarin, a former Senate Leader.

Moses Adeyemo, the Deputy Governor, and his predecessor, Taofeek Arapaja were, however, absent at the congress.

Akin Oke, the APC Chairman in the state and several others were returned through consensus for another four-year term as party executives.

NAN reports that the exercise was conducted by the National Congress Committee led by Abdullahi Gwarzo, a former deputy governor of Kano State, while INEC officials were present.

Mr Gwarzo, who read the guidelines for the congress to members, urged them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.

He also stated that he was unaware of a parallel congress, urging aggrieved members to channel their petition through the party’s Appeal Committee.

But at the congress of the Unity Forum held at Liberty Stadium, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said members must check the impunity that had characterised the running of the party’s affairs in the state.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]

He expressed concern over what he called the dictatorial attitude of a few persons running the party without any consideration for those that had worked for its success.

“It is in the course of our efforts to liberate the party from these individuals that we have brought this congress and we will continue to do the wishes of the people so as to bring sanity into the system,’’ he said.

The minister assured all party faithful to remain focused and steadfast, saying the interest of all members would prevail.

Among prominent members of the group apart from Mr Shittu are a senator, Monsurat Sumonu, representing Oyo Central and Adedapo Lam-Adesina as well as some federal and state lawmakers.

The 26 candidates for the state executive positions were elected unopposed by the 2,840 delegates across the 33 local government areas.

Isiaka Alimi emerged as the State chairman while Remi Olalekan was elected the State Secretary.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Alimi pledged to ensure internal democracy prevailed in the conduct of the party’s activities.

He solicited the cooperation of all members to ensure that the party wins all the state and national elections in 2019.

ABIA (Different Supervisors From Abuja)

The APC in Abia on Saturday held parallel state congresses, leading to the emergence of two factional state executive committees.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two congresses, which held at different venues, under heavy security, were peaceful.

While the Donatus Nwamkpa-led faction held its congress at the Umuahia Township Stadium, the faction loyal to Ikechi Emenike, held its own in a private building on Ossah Road, Umuahia.

While Mr Nwamkpa and Perfect Okorie were returned as Chairman and Secretary, respectively, along with the former executive members, the Emenike-led group elected Emmanuel Ndukwe as the Chairman.

While the congress at the stadium was conducted by a four-member State Congress Committee led by Jonathan Zwingana, the one at Ossah Road was conducted by Rabiu Sulu-Gambari and Garba Sani.

In separate speeches, Ms Sulu-Gambari and Mr Sani said that the national leadership of the party sent them to Abia to conduct the exercise.

They described the congress that produced Mr Ndukwe as the authentic and legally recognised one.

They said that the committee was committed to upholding the rule of law.

NAN reports that all the contestants at the Ossah congress were returned unopposed.

Notable chieftains of the party who attended the exercise at the stadium included a former deputy governor of Abia, Chris Akomas; Nkechi Nwogu and former governorship candidate of the party, Nyerere Anyim.

On the other hand, the congress at Ossah Road was attended by Mr Emenike and Paul Ikonne, two notable chieftains of the party.

In an interview at the end of the congress at Ossah Road, Mr Ndukwe said his leadership would make APC strong and capable of winning the 2019 governorship poll in the state.

“Therefore, I’m inviting everybody who wants a change in Abia to come and join APC right now so that we can salvage Abia.”

He promised a level playing field for all the aspirants, saying “There will be equal opportunity for everybody.”

The party held similar parallel congresses at the ward and local government levels following a protracted leadership tussle between Emenike and Nwamkpa factions.

The parties are currently in court over their disagreement.

LAGOS (Challenging Tinubu)

In Lagos, stronghold of party leader, Bola Tinubu, some members dared him to hold a parallel congress.

APC Chieftain, Bola Tinubu

A faction, led by Fouad Oki, challenged the other faction of the party led by Mr Tinubu.

Mr Oki, until recently a loyalist of Mr Tinubu, was the campaign director for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s 2015 gubernatorial contest. Mr Oki also acted in that capacity for both Mr Tinubu and former governor Babatunde Fashola.

He had in February, launched the Broom United Movement, a faction of aggrieved party members.

While the faction held its parallel congress at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, the Tinubu faction held its own congress at the party secretariat, Acme Road, Ikeja.

PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondent who was at the congress reports that the faction led by Mr Oki claimed that it would elect officials into the state executive of the party.

The congress held at the Event Centre of the Airport Hotel, has in attendance wards and local government delegates from different parts of the state.

A party stalwart told PREMIUM TIMES that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were expected to monitor the exercise.

Party stalwarts at the factional congress took turns to throw jibes at members of the other faction while addressing the crowd.

At the party secretariat where the faction believed to be loyal to Mr Tinubu held its congress, there were top political office holders in the state in attendance.

At the APC factional congress held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Mr Oki emerged as the chairman of the APC in the state, while Sanni Oloye and Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.

PREMIUM TIMES could not verify if the factional congress at Lagos Airport Hotel was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC.

But the congress conducted at the party secretariat on Acme Road was witnessed by the state congress committee headed by Uche Ekwunife.

At the end of the congress, Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner, emerged as chairman at the congress.

Similarly, Sunny Ajose emerged as the deputy chairman; Funsho Ologunde as vice-chairman, West; Kayode Olusanya as vice-chairman, East and Hakeem Bamigbala as vice-chairman, Central.

Others are Wale Ahmed as secretary, Ms Olasunmbo as treasurer, Joana Adebobuyi as assistant treasurer, Joe Igbokwe as publicity secretary, Abiodun Salami as assistant publicity secretary, and Ademola Sadiq as legal adviser.

They new officials emerged as consensus candidates.

In her address, Ms Ekwunife commended the members for the peaceful manner they conducted the congress.

She also promised to market Lagos to other states of the federation on how to organise a rancour-free transition.

She thanked the Henry Ajomale-led exco for leading the party right, adding that his leadership style has engendered growth in the party.

Mr Ajomale, in his address, thanked party members and leaders for their support and cooperation.

The congress at the party secretariat was attended by numerous party chieftains and about 1,500 delegates.

KOGI (Bello, Faleke battle continues)

Two different executive councils on Saturday emerged in the Kogi State chapter of the APC following the holding of two parallel congresses by the two main factions of the party.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the two congresses in Lokoja reports that the two executives emerged by affirmation.

While the faction loyal to the state governor, Yahaya Bello, held its own Congress at the Confluence Stadium, the Audu / Faleke faction held its own at St Peters Primary School, Felele, Lokoja.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello [Photo Credit: The News Nigeria]

At the Congress held at the Confluence Stadium, Abdulahi Bello emerged as the state chairman of the party, Ibrahim Abdulrahman, Deputy Chairman and Josiah Onoja, Secretary.

Mr Bello was until now a Senior Special Assistant on political affairs to the state governor. Aside from Messrs. Bello, Abdulrahman and Onoja, 34 other persons were elected by affirmation into various positions to make the state executive council of the party.

The congress was attended by Gov. Bello, his deputy, Simon Achuba, the Speaker of the state house of assembly, Mathew Kolawole, the Secretary to the state government, Folashade Ayoade, commissioners, some members of the House of Representatives and members of the state house of assembly.

Maman Magaji, the Chairman of the state Congress Committee from the headquarters of the party conducted the congress while the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, James Apam, led other officials of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner to supervise it.

Mr Bello, the new state chairman, in his acceptance speech promised to run an open door policy and lead the party to victory in the coming elections.

He also thanked the state governor, other members of his cabinet and delegates from the across the 21 local government areas of the state for their peaceful conduct before and during the congress.

However, the Audu / Faleke faction at the congress held at St Peter Primary School Felele, re-elected the outgoing state chairman of the party, Haddy Ametuo, as the new Chairman.

He and 34 other outgoing executive members were elected by affirmation by all delegates that attended the congress.

The Returning Officer for the congress, Theman Saurara, announced the results of the congress.

“Having successfully conducted the state congress, I announced the return of all but two of the former state officers,” Mr Saurara stated.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Ametuo expressed gratitude to the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promising not to let them down.

He also assured them that their sufferings for the party over the years will not go unrewarded, urging them to remain steadfast.

“We suffer for this party together and we will all reap the fruits of our labour together.

“This same set of APC executives from ward to the state congress we just conducted worked hard to give President Muhammadu Buhari Victory in 2015 and it is us again that will deliver Kogi State come 2019,” he said. (NAN)

KEBBI (Fear of the Unknown)

Haliru Abdu Stadium, Birnin Kebbi, the venue for the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was deserted on Saturday by both contestants and delegates.

Anxious journalists waited in vain between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for both the contestants, delegates and the officials from the APC headquarters.

The whereabouts of all were unknown.

Police presence was also visible at race course, another venue, apparently to stop an aggrieved group holding a parallel congress in the state.

A party delegate from Suru Local Government, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the whole absurdity.

He said that since he came into Birnin Kebbi for the congress, he was yet to see any party official.

“They just dumped us here for hours since morning. Nobody, including party officials, have said anything to us,” he said.

State publicity secretary, Sani Dododo, could not be reached on phone.

However, NAN learnt that party officials and electoral committee members from the national headquarters, party elders and APC Local Government Chairmen were holding a closed-door meeting in an undisclosed place to determine the fate of the exercise.

TARABA (Aisha Alhassan in Control?)

The Taraba State APC Congress was suspended, following crisis that rocked the exercise in the state on Saturday.

Chairman of the Congress Committee, Danjuma Dambazau, while announcing the suspension of the state congress said the committee would sit and look at the issues that led to the protest with a view to resolving them.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at about 4:45 p.m. when the exercise was about to commence at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, some chieftains of the party stormed the venue demanding the committee to use the list earlier sent to the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja.

The protesters were led by the former acting governor of the state, Abubakar Danladi, a former governorship candidate in the state, David Kente; and the National President of Trade Union Congress, (TUC), Bala Kaigama.

They accused the committee of tampering with the delegates list duly signed by returning officers during the ward and local government congresses.

As they were engaging the Electoral Committee sent from Abuja on how to resolve the issue of delegate list, one of the supporters seized the materials for the election, while others dismantled some items on the high table, causing pandemonium in the hall.

One of the protesters, Mr Kaigama told journalists that the team from Abuja was acting a script in favour of the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, to shortchange other chieftains of the party ahead of 2019 elections.

Aisha Alhassan

According to him the time of manipulation in the party was over.

“We are in the game to correct the rot in the system.

“Tarabans are now wiser and we will not take the manipulation of the five man committee sent to conduct the election in the state in favour of a particular candidate,” he said.

On his part, Mr Kente who noted that they had asked the committee to paste the delegates list at the party secretariat in Jalingo for verification before the delegate election, said the committee members were not fair to all.

“Three of the five-man committee agreed that the list they were using was not from Abuja but from the INEC office in Jalingo and that is where the problem lies.

“The State Congress will not hold here unless we sit down and resolve the issues involved,” he said.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Alhassan, refused to comment on the issue, saying “I don’t know what is happening, I am just coming into the hall.”

Answering questions from journalists, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Dambazau described the action of the protesters as a show of shame.

He explained that the committee discovered that the list sent to Abuja was tampered with and decided to use the list validated by INEC on the directive of the national secretariat of the party.

According to him the action was aimed at ensuring fairness, since INEC were part of the ward and local government Congresses that were held across the country.

“The list that was sent to Abuja was discovered to have been tempered with and the National Secretariat issued a directive for the withdrawal of the list and mandated this committee to use the list from INEC for the conduct of the state congress.

“However, since these people felt disgruntled and prevented us from using the list to screen delegates for the state Congress we will act accordingly.” he said.

ONDO (Akeredolu’s ‘thugs’ on rampage)

Political thugs suspected to be loyal to the Ondo State government on Saturday stormed the BTO Hall, Akure, venue of the state congress of a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state, disrupting the exercise and inflicting injuries on participants.

Although the attack was targeted at the factional members of the party, journalists were attacked by the thugs who inflicted varying degrees of injuries on them.

Sunkanmi Elujoba of Adaba FM, Damisi Ojo of The Nation, Bamigbola Gbolagunte of The Sun, Olumide Abudu of Radio Nigeria Positive FM, James Sowole, of Thisday and the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists in the state were among those injured.

A member of the House of Representatives, representing Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency, Bamidele Baderinwa, Commissioner for Regional Integration in Osun State, Bola Ilori; Idowu Otetubi and Tolu Babaleye; Leye Akinola, were also not spared.

The thugs chased the party members out of the venue using machetes, clubs and other dangerous weapons. They also vented their violence on properties and vehicles within the vicinity.

The presence of men of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps did not deter the thugs from carrying out the acts.

Those injured were rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Meanwhile, the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led APC held its state congress at the International Event Centre, Akure, where Ade Adetimehin was picked as the new chairman of the party.

Rotimi Akeredolu

Mr Adetimehin had been in acting capacity since last year after Isaac Kekemeke was suspended from office.

He was unopposed and was elected through a voice vote.

When PREMIUM TIMES reached the police public relations officer for Ondo State command, Femi Joseph, he said he was not aware of the event, but was only aware of the congress that held at the International Event Centre.

I’ll Jail Ajimobi When I Become Oyo Gov- Minister

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has declared that he will ensure that the incumbent governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has declared that he will ensure that the incumbent governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi is jailed when he, Shittu, eventually becomes the governor in 2019.

Speaking journalists Tuesday evening in Abuja after a closed door meeting with the APC national chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Shittu also about last Saturdays ward congresses in the state.

“He (Ajimobi) has failed in so many things including human relations and others I cannot say openly in the media. Why is he afraid of going to jail if another Buhari like me comes to power in Oyo state?

Why is he afraid of primaries? For seven years, he has been running the Local Governments alone without elected officers. What it means is that the LGA funds come directly into his pocket.

He committed so many atrocities and that is why he is afraid of a Buhari coming to power in Oyo state.

“I want to say that if anybody is desperate in the Oyo political firmament, it should be Gov. Ajimobi who believes that if Barr. Shittu succeeds him, he will be in jail.

That is what he is reported to have always told people who mentioned me to him. “He thinks that I am too principled, firm, unbendable and uncompromising when it comes to issues of morality. It is he who is desperate to stop me not me being desperate to become governor.

Vanguard

‘You are inconsequential…go contest for councillor,’ Nigerian minister tells Sowore

There was heated exchange between Nigeria’s communication minister, Adebayo Shittu, and a presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore, on a public affairs

There was heated exchange between Nigeria’s communication minister, Adebayo Shittu, and a presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore, on a public affairs radio programme in Ibadan on Saturday.

Mr Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, was in Ibadan in continuation of his campaign efforts. He arrived Lagos from the UK earlier in the week.

The programme, monitored by PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondent, held on Fresh FM, Ibadan, owned by foremost broadcaster and musician, Yinka Ayefele.

The interview had barely kicked off when the debate became heated.

“Minister, it is great to see you. This is the minister of an outgoing regime; the Buhari regime will be kicked off power by 2019,” Mr Sowore said shortly after the programme began.

He had barely concluded his introductory statement when Mr Shittu fired back, saying the Sahara Reporters’ publisher is a dreamer.

“By your wish or by God’s wish? You are just dreaming. You are a day dreamer” he said in response to Mr Sowore’s claim to which the presidential hopeful replied saying, “By the wish of the people of Nigeria, Sir. It is not a dream. It is the realisation you’d wake up to on February 15.”

Mr Shittu retorted: “Sowore, what’s your electoral worth? Whether in your Ife (sic), home or any part of this country.” Mr Sowore replied: “My electoral worth brought you to power in 2015. Nobody even heard about many of you in 2014.”

The minister thereafter said the Sahara Reporters publisher didn’t know about him because he was inconsequential in politics. “You are inconsequential…” he said.

In defence, Mr Sowore said he was consequential because Mr Shittu and others came to power by the efforts of young Nigerians like him.

He said, “I am consequential because you came to power on my back, on our back… on the back of young people who invested a lot of hope.”

In response, the minister described the publisher as a mere noise-maker. “What did you invest? Did you invest more than me, No? I will not sit here and allow someone make noise…You are just a noisemaker. You are just a noisemaker.”

The Sahara Reporters publisher thereafter warned that the minster’s conduct was typical of the same way handlers of former President Goodluck Jonathan treated Nigerians before they were defeated at the polls in 2015.

“This was the same way Jonathan people were sounding in 2014… you are gonna be shocked in 2019,” Mr Sowore said. On accusations by the minister that he was a dreamer and that his statements were politically motivated, he said: “The Nigeria of the future is for dreamers like me.”

Apparently angered by Mr. Sowore’s statements, Mr. Shittu said: “You think the presidency is for people like you? Go and start from being a councillor. I have been a member of the House of Assembly, I was a commissioner twice, I was already a lawyer… you wouldn’t know, you were too small. How old are you? How old are you? This is not a platform for minions like you to come… you think the presidency is something you can just buy in a market place? You are a giant in university politics (and) by the grace of God you will be put to shame.”

The anchor of the programme, Isaac Brown, momentarily brought the situation under control but the coordinated conversation didn’t last long before it turned into a shouting match yet again.

When asked to explain the rationale for vying for the presidency, the 47-year-old publisher said he had been around for thirty years fighting for the betterment of the country. He also said he had built a media platform whose reportage help bring the present government into power.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, [Photo credit: THISDAYLIVE]

“That’s rubbish!” Mr Shittu fired back. “I have been in politics since you were born. For forty years, I have been in politics and I was already a lawyer before I joined politics forty years ago. You can’t be here and talk rubbish.

“This is rubbish! You want to become president? You are a day dreamer. Who will make you president? You will be president of your Ife… not Nigeria. Go and be president in Ife. You think it is cheap as that? We will see…”

On the #NotTooYoungToRun initiative, Mr Sowore said it was not enough for the youth to simply contest on the basis of their being young.

“You have to take power because we are responsible and should be responsible for it. That’s why we are having a heated argument here. I have been doing this for thirty years; by next year, it will be thirty years. We are the ones that fought for the democracy they are enjoying today,” he said.

Few weeks back, an ex-aide to Mr Shittu had in an open letter accused the minister of gross abuse of power, accumulation of ill-gotten wealth and refusal to pay his aides’ allowances. The long letter, which was circulated widely online, was also published by Sahara Reporters. The minister would later refute the allegations and challenge the aide to publish evidences of his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

In the course of the programme on Saturday, Mr Shittu accused the publisher of publishing falsehood against him without contacting him to verify the fact, an accusation to which Mr. Sowore replied by saying the minister barely picked his calls and reply messages.

“We do (contact affected parties in a story for reaction) but they don’t react until they get into trouble,” he said. “I have your (Mr. Shittu) telephone number… I called you. I had sent you text messages even before now but because you think I am inconsequential, you ignored me.”

Mr Shittu, who said Mr Sowore needs ‘mentoring’, thereafter threatened to sue the Sahara Reporters publisher over the said publication.

“Minister, you know what Fela said: take me to court and I will open book for you,” Mr Sowore said amidst laughter.

Suspend Shittu Now, HURIWA Tells PMB

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu over

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu over allegations of sleaze.

In a statement made available to newsmen, HURIWA also enjoined the president to direct the nation’s anti-graft agencies to commence immediate investigations of the minister ‘following allegations of sleazy dealings made against him by his trusted aide’.

It would be recalled that Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, Special Assistant on Media to Mr Shittu, had alleged that his boss in the course of his 29 months as minister, had bought 12 luxury houses mostly in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan, and had acquired at least 25 exotic cars within the same period.

The former media aide who accused Shittu of excessive greed and monumental corruption also alleged that only recently, the minister bought a brand new printing press for N93million .

Although the minister denied the allegations, HURIWA expressed consternation that the President has done nothing about the allegation.

“These allegations are not difficult or too complex to unravel because the man who has made them is said to be a very trusted personal staff of the minister who is willing to help the prosecution to ensure that the real facts behind these allegations are obtained.”

“The allegations if found to be true then the minister must be sacked and prosecuted to serve as strong deterrent. This is the time for the government to act decisively to demonstrate a departure from the corrupt practice of protecting top ranking Presidency officials from investigations and effective prosecution.

“We are by this media statement urging the President to take a number of measures against the communications minister by suspending him from office and to order comprehensive investigations by all the relevant anti-graft agencies to guide against compromise”.

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Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu in another salary scandal, sacks aide over 28 months’ arrears

The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu is no doubt in another salary scandal over the non-payment of 28-months salary

The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu is no doubt in another salary scandal over the non-payment of 28-months salary arrears allegedly owed his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare.

DAILY POST gathered on Thursday that Oluwadamilare, a former Chairman of Oyo state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), who has worked along with other assistants with the Saki born legal luminary for 28 months, has, however been disengaged by Shittu after the former (Oluwadamilare) demanded for the 28-months arrears from Shittu through a letter personally written by Shittu dated Wednesday, 14th March, 2018.

Shittu in the letter of disengagement sent to Oluwadamilare, a copy of which was obtained by DAILY POST, said that Oluwadamilare from April 1st, 2018, had ceased to be his Special Assistant on Media.

The Minister in the ‘notice of disengagement,’ personally signed by him, however, informed Oluwadamilare that he had issued a draft of N1,300,000 in respect of his outstanding emoluments as at 31st March, 2018.

DAILY POST recalls that as at October 2017, no fewer than six aides to the minister had resigned. Shittu was inaugurated as Minister in 2015. Those who had left him since 2015 parted ways with him due to issues ranging from non-payment of salaries, non-payment of entitlements and other welfare related issues.

Among those who had resigned or left the Minister are Alhaji Rasak Olubodun who until his resignation in October 2017 was a Personal Assistant to the Minister. Olubodun who once served as Special Adviser on Parastatal to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, resigned his appointment after spending 23 months with the Minister without salary.

Olubodun who also hails from Saki, the hometown of the ex-Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in Oyo State was said to have written the minister through his lawyer, demanding the payment of the 23-month salary arrears and other entitlements running to over N10m. Rasaq Olubodun.

DAILY POST also gathered that apart from Olubodun whose resignation generated a lot of controversy last year, five other aides of the Minister had also resigned.

They include Hon. Ipoola Binuyo, Mr. Abiodun Oyaremi and lately, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare.

The duo of Binuyo and Oyaremi who until their resignations were Chief of Staff and Special Adviser on Special Duties respectively resigned over a year ago due to the same fate they suffered while working with the Minister.

Though, only the trio of Binuyo, Oyaremi and Olubodun’s resignation was made public, sources, however, informed that no fewer than seven aides of the minister have so far resigned their appointments in the last two years.

Presidency: PMB Remains Only Transparent Individual – Shittu

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications and two-time gubernatorial candidate in Oyo State shares his thoughts and aspirations with ADEBAYO

Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications and two-time gubernatorial candidate in Oyo State shares his thoughts and aspirations with ADEBAYO WAHEED. Excerpts:

You are in the vanguard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term re-election bid; considering his health status and age, do you think he will contest the 2019 presidential election as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate?

Well, I want to believe that when we talk of health, I have never seen any human being who does not fall sick. And when people fall sick and recover from the sickness, you don’t confine them, even when they are healthy, to the status of the sick.

The President was sick, he went for medical vacation, he is back and we can now see a more robust President, a stronger President. All can see a more sensitive President, who has been doggedly attending to the responsibilities of his office. So, I don’t see age as a problem. You will recall that age has no role to play in this. Not only the old die, even young people die. So, it is not about age. It is about the ability, capability, wisdom and good conscience. It is about the fear of God and about being passionate about the interest of our people.

Do you think President Buhari will be able to confront the challenges associated with electioneering campaign?

I don’t think there can be any challenges than what we went through in 2015, because we were challenging an incumbent, who was not only in office, but he was also in power. He had all the government arsenals at his disposal, legitimate and illegitimate money and he has the ground forces, yet we defeated the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and it’s presidential candidate.

Today, we have a lot to show for being in government for almost three years and at the appropriate time, the fact will be made available to Nigerians to compare. More importantly we have in President Buhari the most trusted Nigerian leader, who Nigerians know detests corruption with a passion. He is one person that will never compromise the interests of our country, will never resort to pilfering the resources of our nation. He will never subscribe to compromising the rights of Nigerians.

So, God has given us an enigma of a leader and it is my belief that Nigerians are very wise and intelligent, they will at the appropriate time do the needful in re-electing him into office.

Looking at the number of aspirants jostling to occupy the Agodi Government House in 2019, do you think you have what it takes to become the next governor of Oyo State?

What is the measure for qualification? Is it education, age, experience, acceptability or fresh ideas? Is it about how to bring about a new Oyo State? I believe I am the candidate to beat. With regards to experience, I say with all sense of respect for other aspirants, that I am the only one who has been a member of the state House of Assembly before, who has on two occasions been a commissioner, who has contested for this position in 2011 and 2015 and by the grace of God, the minister from Oyo State.

No other candidate combines all these critical positions. And these positions are about experience and if you check my records, there is no position I have held that I have not distinguished myself.

In terms of ideas, I am also second to none, with due respect to all others. I already have my manifesto. I have a clear idea of what I want to do if I am elected the governor. I am the only one who has had personal learning process from the sage of the Nigerian politics, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. No other aspirant has had this unique opportunity of learning the process of politics of reality from Chief Awolowo and my government will seek to reestablish the beautiful days of Awo’s government in the state.

At the appropriate time, we will have governorship candidate debate, which will bring out the facts which Oyo State people will appreciate that for once, we have a new Oyo State with refreshing kind of governance.

What is your relationship with President Buhari? How true is it that he may likely influence your choice as the governorship candidate of the APC in Oyo State?

The questions I should ask are: Is it because of my relationship with the president that I became member of the State House of Assembly in 1979 and 1983? Is it because of my relationship with Mr President that I became a commissioner in 1983 and 2007? Is it the President that asked me to contest on two occasions for the governorship? And if you talk about my appointment as minister, you should appreciate the fact that the President did not just pick me up along the stress. I had cut out an integrity for myself. Integrity in terms of having the right ideas about governance, having the right behaviour in governance, having the right perspective and having had a very fantastic education in the University of Ife.

You are from Oke Ogun axis of the state, do you think Ibadan axis is ready to let go the governorship seat to your area?

I thank God that I don’t want to become the governor because I am from Oke Ogun, but because I am the most qualified of the pack.

Again, with regard to Oke Ogun, we are proud to say that the present governor in Oyo State got the second term ticket to become governor only by the grace of Oke Ogun people, who voted for him massively. Recall that of the 10 local government areas, he won in nine. The same thing did not happen in Ibadan where he comes from.

So, in appreciation of our role in delivering the second term ticket, he was the one who started the campaign that an Oke Ogun man should be given the opportunity to be the governor this time around.

But, having said that, I make boast to say that I am also an Ibadan person. I have been in Ibadan since 1979, I have been living my professional, social, religious and political life in Ibadan. And that is why today by the Grace of God, I know virtually all the important persons in Ibadan. Those I do not know, I can be sure that they know me very well and since 1979 till date, nobody has had any negative thought about me.

More importantly, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, the paramount ruler of the eleven local government areas of Ibadan land graciously bestowed on me the Agba Akin Fiwajoye of Ibadan land as a testimony of the fact that I am considered as one of the Ibadan. I thank God that I cherish the recognition and I want to believe that being from Oke Ogun will not be a disadvantage, because on merit nobody has what to become the next governor of Oyo State more than I do.

Is there anything you think the present administration has not done that you may likely address when you become the governor?

It is not for me to judge the present administration in the state. During my campaign, I will tell the people of Oyo State what I will do as governor. Whatever the incumbent governor wants to do or has done, we must in fairness credit him in success. With construction of roads, especially in Ibadan land, he has done very well, he should be commended.

Having said that, I am not part of his government and I am not appointed to be a critic of his government. I have learned a lot over the last 40 years and all I have learned throughout the position I have been and particularly the connection I have today, both at the national and international levels, will put me in very good stead to excel when I become the next governor of Oyo State.

How did you meet the Ministry of Communication and how is the place now?

I came on board on November 11, 2015 and was initially ignorant of what Information Communication and Telecommunication (ICT) entails. Conscious of my lack of knowledge and expertise in the field, I decided to learn about ICT, learn about where the ministry was at that time, learn about where the ministry has been coming from and to decide on what to do to uplift the ministry. At the same time, a lot of stakeholders were protesting my appointment to the ministry, arguing that it would have been better to appoint an expert to help the ministry.

It is instructive to say that barely one and half years thereafter, the stakeholders of the ministry, many of whom have protested my appointment, came under the umbrella of Nigeria Computer Society to honour me with the award of Fellow of Computer Science. To me, this is funny because it is a case of a rejected stone becoming the corner stone of the house.

One of the first things I did was to organise a retreat, invited about 400 stakeholders, experts in the field from within and outside the country to come and brainstorm on where the ministry was coming from, where the ICT industry has been as at that time and where we should be looking towards.

I am happy that after a week, we collated all the views and recommendations and set up another committee to work on those recommendations and to bring out a blueprint of what will be the ICT roadmap for the country. The roadmap was approved by the Federal Executive Council as the roadmap for Nigeria for the year 2017 and 2018.

The highlight of the roadmap essentially addresses the way forward for the ICT industry. We do know that throughout the world, the ICT industry has become the greatest enabler of industries, education, health, agriculture even commerce and Telecommunication and that is why in the year 2017, the ICT industry contributed for the first time not less than 10 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria.

The feat had never been achieved in the annals of the financial history of Nigeria. That is to show that we have been putting in our best to ensure a steady and positive growth of the ICT industry.

Today, we have six agencies under the Ministry of Communication. These are the Nigeria Communication Commission, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NICOMSAT Company, NIPOST as well as Galaxy Backbone, the USIF. Each of them has had new policies arising from the roadmap.

The industry is becoming robust every day. One thing I have done steady is the fact that I have been engaging the stakeholders in the industry and that is why there is no conference or colloquium by different branches of the ICT industry that you invited to that I will not take active part. I also have the privilege of attending conference in more than 15 countries across the world to ensure that Nigeria’s presence is established and to use the platform to encourage foreign direct investments in the ICT industry.

As at today, I can say we have brought a lot of reforms; one of which is the declaration of year 2017 as the year of the customers of telecommunication services.

Time was when most of the subscribers were always complaining about poor quality of services. By the end of 2017, the number on complaints have reduced by more than 90 per cent, which is an indication that the quality of poor service is being addressed by NCC, an agency of the ministry.

With regard to NICOMSAT, I am also happy to recall that we worked hard to acquire more satellites so that we have enough capacity in terms of satellite communication. We will be in position that Nigerians patronize Nigerian satellite communication service instead of the millions of dollars spent on foreign satellite communication services.

Again, with the Galaxy Backbone, we have signed the second phase contract which will completely interlink all government agencies with the fiber optic backbone. All federal government agencies in all the states will be linked.

This will assist in data posting within the shores of Nigeria. By that, every part of the federal government agencies and ministries will be able to link up with every other office of the federal government. Ministries, agencies or departments will be able to inter connect. This, after its completion, will also allow for excess capacity to be utilized by private sector.

Again, with regard to NIPOST, of course, we are having a lot of reforms. NIPOST which remain as old as Nigeria itself went almost comatose because of the fact that GSM came and it becomes irrelevant to post letters. NIPOST will soon be rebranded, revitalized and repositioned to engage in many other services.

One of the services we are working towards is to establish NIPOST banking and insurance services, which will take banking services to all the rural areas where there is NIPOST facilities.

Again, we will be having a new company to be named NIPOST Property and Development Company, which will engage in providing excess NIPOST’s land in building estates, residential apartments, office complexes, malls and indeed garages.

Again, we will have NIPOST Transport and Logistics Services which will ensure that NIPOST facilities, particularly vehicles, are commercialised in such a way that more money will be brought to NIPOST’s coffers.

Again, we are working towards establishing NIPOST e-commerce service. It will ensure that you can purchase goods and services from any part of the world without going to location where those services are produced or being sold, you can order online, pay online and get your goods and services delivered to you in the nearest post office nearest to your residence.

Again, we are working towards having NIPOST e-government services, which will enable Nigerians to process government papers like passport, license from the comfort of their homes, using the platform of e-government service.

Again, we are working towards establishing an ICT hub in Abuja. This hub will have piece of land released on lease to all the major ICT companies throughout the world. It will also be an avenue for exhibition on yearly basis like what we witnessed in Barcelona.

We are working very hard to establish ICT Development Bank. It will be available to finance all ICT developmental projects from all over the world.

What are the challenges you face in the ministry?

The major challenge is ICT requires a lot of infrastructure. For instance, to buy or acquire just one satellite for the service of NICOMSAT, costs about $25 million dollars. If you change that to the naira, you will be talking about billions. That money, we do not have in Nigeria. It is a major challenge, but we are happy that the Chinese are coming to our rescue. Again, we have so many places without telecommunication, there are no connectivity in most places because it requires a lot of capital investment.

For instance, a telecommunication mast costs about N40 million and for one service provider in a state like Oyo, it will need certainly almost 100. So, to get money to acquire these masts even for one state is a huge challenge.

Again, we are working to pursue foreign investors to bring their capital to Nigeria. One simple thing that ought to have been taken for granted is that the Nigeria’s huge population of about 180 million.

Right now, we have only two or three companies producing and what they are producing is not up to one per cent of what we require for the domestic use. So, we just have to pursue the international investors to bring their resources here.

Again, when you talk of fibre optic laying, we have problems. The major problem we have is right of way. Right of way is your ability to lay fiber cables from one location to the other across the state and the country. The cost of doing that has been very frustrating at the instance of local and state governments. We are trying to persuade them that we must have a uniform price for permission to dig the land. I can assure you that all the challenges are being tackled headlong.

Of what benefit will this be to the socio-economic development of the country?

If we succeed in overcoming these challenges, the first benefit easily is the fact that more income will come to the coffers of not only the Nigerian government, where people will have to pay taxes, royalties and all that, but even the ordinary Nigerians will get more jobs as a result of expansion in the facilities of ICT industry.

Again, apart from the creation of more jobs is the creation on convenient life for Nigerians. So, easily both the government and the of people of Nigeria will be great beneficiaries in the expansion in the availability of ICT services across the country.

What measures are you putting in place for sustainability in the ICT industry?

Well, sustainability is one issue which should be of concern, but one is happy that because ICT is a great enabler and the fastest growth path for nation, community and individuals to grow, we don’t see more challenges coming by way of sustainability. We see these companies involving in ICT service provision to continue to grow as Nigerians themselves grow.

So, I believe that Nigerians will be up to the task. We are very versatile people and we appreciate the importance of ICT through the growth and development of our various companies and jobs. So, I believe Nigeria will sustain ICT development.

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2019: Buhari’s ministers who want to be state governors

As the 2019 general election approaches, politicians and their supporters are gradually getting prepared for the campaigns. The Independent National

As the 2019 general election approaches, politicians and their supporters are gradually getting prepared for the campaigns.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has already released a tentative timetable for the highly awaited elections.

The INEC time-table shows that party primaries and resolution of disputes arising from them will hold from August 18 to October 7 for national and state elections while that of the FCT area council is slated for between September 4 and October 27.

Campaigns by political parties are slated to commence from November 18 for presidential and National Assembly elections; December 1 for governorship and state assembly elections and December 2 for the FCT area council elections.

To this end, sources in the federal cabinet say President Muhammadu Buhari may soon ask ministers with ambition to seek elective offices to resign to enable them focus on their aspirations.

PREMIUM TIMES findings have indicated that among the ministers who may leave the cabinet to seek governorship tickets in their states are Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communication; Aisha Alhassan, Women Affairs; Kayode Fayemi, Solid Minerals Development; Suleiman Hassan, Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing and Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum.

PREMIUM TIMES also gathered that the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, is nursing a governorship ambition.

ADEBAYO SHITTU- OYO

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications PHOTO: Techpoint

Mr. Shittu is probably the only cabinet member to make public his ambition to seek the governorship seat in his home Oyo State.

The minister told Tribune newspaper in an interview last year that he is best suited to be the successor to current governor Abiola Ajimobi.

“Today, as Minister of Communication, nobody in Oyo State has the experience I have in utilising ICT to develop the Oyo State economy to the extent that other countries are using the same ICT to develop their country. They know that with my level of exposure and godliness that I will not steal their money. If you have someone who is ungodly, he will simply steal your state blind.

“You need the best, compassionate manager, most honest, experienced, educated manager to run the state so that what comes to Oyo state from federation account and our local resources are put to the best use in the service of our people,” Mr. Shittu had said.

Mr. Shittu, however, faces a herculean task to secure the APC ticket. The incumbent APC governor, Abiola Ajimobi, and Mr. Shittu are political opponents. Their rivalry precedes the formation of the APC. Although Mr. Ajimobi is rounding off his second term and is thus not eligible to seek re-election, he is believed to be vehemently opposed to Mr. Shittu’s candidacy and recently boycotted a presidential event hosted by the minister.

AISHA ALHASSAN – TARABA

Aisha Alhassan

Mrs. Alhassan, fondly called “Mama Taraba,” was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Taraba State in 2019.

Initial results of the election then, particularly the way the APC was winning states in the northern part of the country, indicated that the nation was about to get its first elected female governor.

That did not happen as she was eventually defeated by Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Mrs. Alhassan was made minister by President Muhammadu Buhari even when the governorship election tribunal for Taraba State on November 7, 2015 declared her the governor-elect.

By the time she was being sworn in as Minister of Women Affairs by Mr. Buhari, she was considered Taraba governor subject to outcome of appeal filed by Mr. Ishaku. Mr. Buhari in fact referred to Mrs. Alhassan as “Her Excellency” when he mentioned her name, which elicited general laughter inside the council chamber of the presidential villa.

As politicians gear up for 2019, Mr. Alhassan was seen in a video pledging her loyalty to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

She also told the Hausa service of the BBC that even if Mr. Buhari eventually decides to run, she will tell him she has already made her choice.

The minister is still popular in Taraba and is considered the APC leader in the state. Party elements in Taraba said that her structure remains strong and she is working behind the scenes to upstage PDP’s Mr. Ishaku in 2019.

KAYODE FAYEMI – EKITI

Minister of Mines/Steel, Kayode Fayemi [Photo: ekitistate.gov.ng]

Mr. Fayemi served for one term as Ekiti State governor before he was defeated by Ayo Fayose of the PDP.

He is one person expected to leave Mr. Buhari’s cabinet early because the governorship election in Ekiti is holding this year.

As early as six months ago, his loyalists had already set up a campaign structure, JKF Movement, for his yet-to-be declared ambition to run for the 2018 governorship race.

Speaking after its inauguration in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Chairman of JKF Movement, Ade Kolade, explained that the main focus of the group was to champion Mr. Fayemi’s development vision and ideals and to create awareness that “the current stalemate in Ekiti’s development process can be reversed”.

Mr. Fayemi will, however, have to battle with another presidential aide, Babafemi Ojudu, and other aspirants for the APC ticket.

SULEIMAN HASSAN – GOMBE

Mr. Hassan was inaugurated into the federal cabinet at the end of July 2017 to replace Amina Mohammed from Gombe State who had left to take up the post of Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

Mr. Hassan is a political ally of President Buhari and was the pioneer chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Mr. Buhari’s personally formed political party.

The CPC is one of the parties that dissolved to form the APC.

Sources in Gombe said the APC is currently factionalised along three major groups comprising elements from CPC, ANPP as well as those who defected from the PDP before the 2015 election.

To this end, leaders of the three factions all have their “structures and loyalists” within the same party.

It is also said that the CPC faction has a stronger structure compared to the rest because it consists of die-hard Buhari supporters. Mr. Hassan is also the undisputed leader of the group and has a powerful grip of the APC in Gombe.

It was also gathered that the minister’s loyalists want him to run because the other faction led by former Governor Danjuma Goje produced the governorship candidate in 2015.

IBE KACHIKWU – DELTA

Ibe Kachikwu [Photo Credit: THISDAYLIVE]

Although Mr. Kachikwu has strongly denied nursing any governorship ambition, PREMIUM TIMES gathered that machinery is already in motion for his candidature in 2019.

When news first filtered in that Mr. Kachikwu is seeking to be next governor of Delta under the APC, and his posters were seen all over the state as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the spokesperson of the petroleum Ministry, Idang Alibi, issued a statement describing the rumoured candidacy as false.

However, a source closed to the minister said, “he just doesn’t want to be distracted from his current job, but I assure you that the Hon. Minister is under pressure to come to the rescue of Delta state.”

Mr. Kachikwu’s Delta State has been governed by the PDP since 1999, and thus he would face a herculean task to defeat the incumbent PDP governor should he finally make a decision.

MANSUR DAN-ALI – ZAMFARA

Mansur Dan-Ali

Three different sources told PREMIUM TIMES that the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, is also nursing the ambition of taking over from the current chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari.

However, it was learnt that the retired army general is yet to get the needed support from both Mr. Yari and other political leaders in the state.

Mr. Yari is completing his second term and is thus ineligible to seek re-election in 2019.

A source close to the minister said that “as far as Zamfara is concerned, the minister is one of those eyeing the governorship.”

Minister Indicted For Extremism labels Critics As Bigots

Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, on Monday, January 29, 2018 addressed news reporters at the presidential villa blasting critics of

Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications, on Monday, January 29, 2018 addressed news reporters at the presidential villa blasting critics of President Muhammadu Buhari, including Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.

Interestingly enough, Shittu labeled critics of the Muhammadu Buhari government as ethnic or religious bigots.

“I have a duty to the government and to myself and I believe to all Nigerians that we have to correct a lot of misinformation and blackmail that is out there by people who ordinarily deserve respect but who for reason of clannishness, for reason of tribalism, for reasons of religious bigotry and intolerance have decided to see and not to ask questions about what is going on in the country. I have always challenged everybody who cares to listen that what this government has done in a number of areas, particularly in the agricultural sector, in works, housing and power sectors, the PDP government never achieved that in the 16 years of their reign.”

“Obasanjo as a patriotic Nigerian has the right to hold opinions. If Obasanjo holds an opinion that Mr. President has performed less than what it should be, those of us who are in the position to know better have a right to also state the other side which perhaps Obasanjo is ignorant of.

“You see, there are some people who enjoy engaging in sensationalism. With due respect to General Obasanjo, if you take his history over the last 30 years, there is hardly any regime other than his own that he did not criticize except Sani Abacha, who didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticize him before he was sent to the gulag.

“So to many Nigerians, they know that Obasanjo enjoys this type of sensationalisation. In any case, no matter what impression you have of me, do you have a right to tell me not to contest an election? I mean we should talk as people who are educated, who know our left from the right.

“There are procedures for elections. President Buhari is a member of the APC and the APC has its rules and regulations as to how candidates will emerge, if members of the party feel strongly that the president has not performed well enough, it is for them to show that during the primary election. It is not for anybody to short change Nigerians and prevent people from offering themselves for an election.

“In any case, since Obasanjo is no more a member of our party, with due respect to him it doesn’t lie in his mouth to tell us who among our party members or leaders to contest or not to contest. I think Nigerians should concede this privilege to we the members of APC to decide the fate of Mr. President when the next round of primaries come.”

An Oyo state government panel of inquiry which was looking into a religious clash in that state indicted Shittu in 2000 for publishing religious materials capable of causing crisis. During his screening, Shittu denied allegations of being an extremist. He said although he has published Islamic pamphlets and materials, it does not qualify him as a bigot.

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Reps panel led by Oyo APC lawmaker disgraces Shittu over Ministry’s budget

A House of Representatives panel on Tuesday rejected the 2017 budget records of the Ministry of Communications. Members of the

A House of Representatives panel on Tuesday rejected the 2017 budget records of the Ministry of Communications.

Members of the Committee on Telecommunications headed by Saheed Fijabi (APC, Oyo) frowned at the discrepancies uncovered in documents presented.

They lamented that the ministry repeated the sum of about N200million in the 2018 budget proposal as judgement debt when the same amount was budgeted for last year.

The lawmakers said based on the records from the ministry, about N192m was paid out of the amount but that the same thing was proposed again.

The committee turned down the 2018 budget defence and asked the Minister, Adebayo Shittu, to clean up the documents and return at a later date.

Fijabi told the minister that: “It appears you’re not prepared for this budget defence.

“This is the third attempt at our budget defence, and it has always happened the same way.

“There is no reason to continue this defence. We’ll give you few more days to go an put things in order.

“Until we get through with the 2017 budget details, we will not touch the 2018 proposal”, Daily Trust quoted himas saying.

Responding, Shittu said the bureaucrats in the ministry ought to have done due diligence in preparing the documents.

He promised to ensure that the documents were properly checked before his next appearance.

It is unclear whether Fijabi and Shittu are not on good terms.

Both men are from Oyo state and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Shittu, has been vocal lately, campaigning for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Letter to Buhari: Obasanjo engaging in sensationalism – Shittu

Barely a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, on

Shittu

Barely a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, on Monday accused the elder statesman of “engaging in sensationalism.”

He said Obasanjo has no right whatsoever to ask President Buhari to drop his 2019 re-election bid.

Shittu, who was prevented from distributing Buhari’s re-election campaign caps at last week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the ex- President  has no right to tell Nigerians who they should vote for in 2019.

The minister said: “Obasanjo as a Nigerian has the right to hold an opinion. If Obasanjo holds an opinion that Mr. President has performed less than it should be, those of us who are in the position to know better has a right to also state the other side which perhaps Obasanjo is ignorant of.

“You see, there are some people who enjoy engaging in sensationalism. With due respect to Gen. Obasanjo, if you take his history over the last 30 years, there is hardly any regime other than his own that he did not criticize except the late Gen. Sani Abacha, who didn’t wait for Obasanjo to criticize him before he was sent to the gulag.

“So many Nigerians know that Obasanjo enjoys this type of sensationalisation. In any case, no matter what impression you have of me, do you have a right to tell me not to contest an election? I mean we should talk like people who are educated, who know our left from the right.

“There are procedures for elections. President Buhari is a member of the APC and the APC has its rules and regulations as to how candidates will emerge. If members of the party feel that the President has not performed well enough, it is for them to show that during the primary election. It is not for anybody to short change Nigerians and prevent people from offering themselves for an election.

“In any case, since Obasanjo is no more a member of our party, with due respect to him, it doesn’t lie in his mouth to tell us who among our party members or leaders to contest or not to contest. I think Nigerians should concede this privilege to members of APC to decide the fate of Mr. President when the primaries come.”

Shittu said he was not guilty of breaking any law by distributing campaign materials, adding that all he did was a pronouncement of an intention.

“It is true that the constitution and the electoral law talk of campaigns starting 90 days before elections, but there is no law stopping announcing intentions. There is a difference between campaigns and intentions,” he added.

 

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