Oladele Ogunsola – Ibadan
The Local Government/Local Council Development Areas (LG/LCDAs) election held on Saturday across Oyo State has been described as a charade by the Minister of Communication, Barr. AbdulRaheem Adebayo Shittu.
Shittu, who insisted that the exercise was a futile and a waste of resources based on the pending court case which would ultimately nullify it when it is finally determined spoke in Ibadan, while featuring on the Correspondents’ Chapel of Oyo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), programme, ‘Guest Forum’ at the Mokola, Ibadan Secretariat of the chapel on Saturday.
The Minister accused the state governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi of desperation to install his stooge as successor in the next year governorship election, hence the impunity of conducting the LG/LCDAs election not minding the pending court case in Federal High Court, Abuja.
He described as curious and deceitful game the insistence on the conduct of the election at the twilight of governor Ajimobi’s administration when the same governor had refused the conduct of the same election since his assumption of office about seven years ago based on court cases.
The Minister explained that the governor conducted the election this time around despite the pending court case and ahead of the state congress of the party in order for him to use the elected council officials as delegates at the congress, stressing that the implication of such is not lost on anybody considering how the elected council officials emerged in the first instance.
Barr. Shittu, however, maintained that the permutation of the governor would fall at the court like a pack of cards because “there’s no way one can build something on nothing. Everything about the conduct of the election was wrong and the governor knows.
“It is simply not possible and unacceptable for just an individual to be riding roughshod on the rest of party members. Aside being a lawyer and with my long years of experience in politics, I was part of the team that drafted the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and every form of impunity has been taken care of. All these, we are going to prove when hearing of the Abuja court case resumes”, he stated.
On the lingering congresses’ crisis in the state, the Minister counseled that anybody preaching peace must factor justice to the preaching, quoting a song by a foreign artiste that “everybody is talking about peace, but, nobody is talking about justice’ and insisted that unless justice is done in the matter by the National Executive Council (NEC), he would go to court.
Passing a damming verdict of compromise on the National Committee for the Ward Congresses held in the state penultimate Sunday, Barr. Shittu said except for compromise on the part of the committee, the Unity Forum, a group within the party challenging the governor and his leadership style gave the governor and his group what he described as ‘Technical Knock-Out’.
He explained that the governor in his usual characteristics had compiled names of his supposed elected ward officials and wanted an affirmation by the committee which was however rejected with the committee insisting that it was sent to the state to conduct election into the wards and not to take prepared list.
The Minister stated further that what gave the governor and his group away was that they neither pay the prescribed fees nor obtain form as at the close of work on Friday preceding the date of the ward Congresses and that rather than the committee insisting on going ahead with the election, which ordinarily would have been a walk-over for the Unity Forum (because the group did all the needful), it acquiesced to the governor’s request for 24 hour- shift of the Congresses to the following day.
“What however transpired overnight and which led to the non-collection of our group forms remain a mystery because, we went to the field and participated in the elections which we won hands down and which informed our commendation of the election as peaceful, free and fair.
“Why we were not invited to the press conference addressed by the committee on Monday where the conduct of the congresses the day before was adjudged successful and concluded and which had in attendance the state governor in no small way attested to our verdict of compromise on the committee”, the Minister said.
He however disclosed that the group had petitioned the Appeal Committee which arrived the state on Monday before the departure of the congress committee and also intimated the party’s national organ of the shenanigans taking place in the state.
“We strongly believe the party at the national level will look into the matter towards ensuring justice and anything short of that will attract litigation. I don’t start a fight, but, I don’t run away from any if my right is being trampled upon.
“Ours is to pursue justice and not to contemplate abandoning the party, such is not on our card, but, we will seek justice to any length. I trust in the judgement of the national body of the party and we will patiently wait for its final verdict on our grievances and observation”, the Minister assured.