Minister of Communications and governorship aspirant in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyo State chapter, Adebayo Shittu, has told Governor Abiola Ajimobi that the list of his loyalists recently unveiled as the party’s candidates for the May 12 council election will not stand and will be resisted by him.
Shittu, who stated this on Saturday, while featuring on Political Circuit, an interview programme on Fresh FM, Ibadan, said APC’s constitution only provided for direct or indirect primaries as means for electing candidates for elections and not through any consensus list which he said was undemocratic.
Loyalists of Governor Ajimobi were announced as APC chairmanship candidates in the polls at a ceremony held in Lafia Hotel, Ibadan, two weeks ago.
But Shittu, who described the event at Lafia as unconstitutional, said it would be a wild dream for the governor and his loyalists to think they could erect something on nothing, wondering why the governor was afraid of primaries.
He queried: “Why will a few people sit in a hotel and decide for the entire state? This is Oyo State. It is not a banana republic. It is not a kangaroo state. It is unacceptable. It is unfair to people who have used their hard-earned money to purchase forms from the party for almost a year.
“What happened at that hotel is nothing over which nobody can put something. I want to say on behalf of millions of our party members across the state that they will stand for primary election and vote for people of their choice.
“It is better we don’t have local government election than to have a hogwash arrangement which will produce only loyalists of the governor. They mentioned consensus list. Consensus by who?”
He averred that the governor was trying to impose his loyalists as candidates so he could people the delegates’ list for the party’s governorship primary later in the year, vowing to work with like-minded leaders to stop the governor.
“Elected local government officials will form a fraction of the delegates for governorship primaries. He thinks that some of us are dunces who will just accept the so-called consensus as fait accompli? It can’t and it won’t happen.
“The governor is not God and can’t play God. This is the truth and he himself knows this. He may have his wishes, which he is entitled to have. Other people have their wishes. But it is only God who can say with certainty that this is what he wants to do,” Shittu said.
Reacting, APC’s Director of Media, Research and Strategy, Dr Abdul-Azeez Olatunde, said if Shittu had read the party’s constitution, he would have seen that provision was made for consensus as means of averting crisis.
“If people as respected as the Minister, who is aspiring to be governor, could go on air to make such assertion against the governor, I think it calls for question.
“It is there on page 74, Article 20 of our constitution and I read: All party posts prescribed or implied by this constitution shall be filled by democratically conducted elections at the respective national convention or congress subject, where possible, to consensus.
“Provided that where a candidate has emerged by consensus for an elective position, a vote of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by ballot or voice shall be called, to ensure that it was not an imposition which could breed discontent and crisis.
“If a respected person in the party, who is claiming to be aspiring to become governor can’t read simple something and understand, then it puts a lot of questions on his capacity for the post he is aspiring to govern.
“I advise him to go and read further for him to understand. If he says he has read it and still does not understand, I don’t think I can recommend he should go back to school,” Olatunde said.
Meanwhile, a suit filed in a Federal High Court, Abuja, by aggrieved members and leaders of the party has been slated for hearing on Tuesday, Sunday Tribune can reveal.
Joined in the suit are APC national headquarters; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).
It was gathered that OYSIEC was served in the morning of Wednesday, March 28, just as others who were joined in the suit.