Shittu blows hot over staging of APC primary in hotel, threatens legal action against Ajimobi, others
The Minister of Communications, Barrister Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu on Saturday threatened legal action against Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) executive in the state over the supervision of the party’s primary ahead of the May 12th local government election in the state at a hotel in Ibadan, the state capital.
It will be recalled that Ajimobi and some stalwarts of the party including Chief Akin Oke and Mr. Mojeed Olaoya, state chairman and secretary of the party respectively, last month in same hotel, announced before the teaming supporters of the party, the names of chairmen, vice chairmen and councillorship candidates in the 33 local government areas of the state.
The leaders of the party including the governor who supervised the meeting told the APC members present at the emergency meeting that the candidates were picked in a “consensus” manner.
But Shittu, who is one of the governorship aspirants under the party while speaking at a live radio programme on Fresh FM, tagged “Political Circuit” and monitored by media men on Saturday in Ibadan, threatened to challenge the purported primary in the court of law, describing it as “unconstitutional, illegal, unacceptable and unlawful.”
Shittu, a lawyer and former commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in the state, said going by the governor’s experience in politics and the party’s constitution, “It is wrong” for Ajimobi and the APC executive to supervise the APC primary in a hotel.
He expressed surprise that the leadership of the party, whom he said he hold in high esteem, allowed themselves to be allegedly coerced, forced or tempted by the governor to conduct such primary, stressing that it “will not stand” as those involved in the primary election in the hotel “will have themselves to be blamed”.
The minister, while declaring that there is no justification for holding the primary in a hotel, maintained that there is no section of the party’s constitution where it is stated that primary election of the party can be conducted in a hotel. He said it was wrong for the governor and the exco to supervise the party’s primary in a hotel.
He said in a bid to address the injustice committed against the teaming supporters of the party and the party itself, he and other like minds in the party have concluded arrangements to challenge what he called “illegal primary” in the court.
Shittu said, “I am speaking on behalf of, and the minds of our party members and supporters that, in fairness to the governor, as a lawyer, I am saying it is unconstitutional to hold the party, APC primary in the hotel. What happened is unacceptable and unlawful.
“Nothing took place in that hotel. You cannot even force candidates on the people, this is Oyo state, you cannot force people on us. Everybody who is a serious member of this party must do what is right. What happened in the hotel is unconstitutional.
“Yes, we are going to court to challenge the illegality. It is illegal.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the state executive of the party to do the needful. They should not put their integrity to test. The primary that I was not there, other members were not carried along, that is not primary.
“I also have my own supporters, I reject it in totality. I am a minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria, a substantive minister for that matter. I am the only one in Oyo state, I was not invited, they have collected money from aspirants since last year, what about those who have collected nomination form and they have collected money from them?
“The exco should do the needful, I don’t have anything against them, but if anybody is telling you to do what is wrong, and you do it, then you will have yourself to be blamed.
“Number one, I am a lawyer, I am the most experienced among the active players in the state. I was part of Bola Ige government. In 1979, I was a member of the state house of Assembly, I was a commissioner under Chief Olunloyo government, I was a commissioner under Ladoja. I have seen it all, I am saying it is unconstitutional and cannot stand in Oyo state.
“If you follow the normal process you will not have any problem. It is where you did not follow the due process that you will have problems,” he said.