As the 2019 governorship election approaches in Oyo State, Communications Minister, Barr. Adebayo Shittu has described Governor Abiola Ajimobi as his brother, adding that he doesn’t have any bad record in Ibadan, the state capital, to make them antagonise his gubernatorial bid.
In an interview with Nigerian Tribune, Shittu explained that he and the governor have come a long way but “I hope you will look for an opportunity to also ask him the same questions. I as a person, I don’t have any problem with him. I’ve always said it and reemphasizing that Governor Ajimobi will support me in my effort to become his successor, no matter the appearances. I don’t have any problem with him. I have supported him since 2007 when he sought to become Governor.”
Speaking on the inauguration of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign platform in the South West which was boycotted by all the bigwigs in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Shittu noted that there is nothing which can be farther from the truth.
He added that “Tinubu himself was invited to that programme and he excused himself from it because he said he had an engagement in Abuja that weekend.
“Well, for reasons best known to the governor, he didn’t attend. He was equally invited. And I don’t think his not coming is in any way connected to Tinubu’s absence that day. Tinubu gave a reason for not coming. But the governor didn’t give any reason and even if he eventually set up a meeting to coincide with that. But we don’t regret the fact that we had an event, it was held and it was very successful. More than 2,000 people of voting age attended.”
Asked why South West leaders, especially governors, were not there, he answered: “Am I not one of the leaders of that zone, having remained in politics for close to 40 years in the progressive camp and by the grace of God, I have been a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly for four years, twice, I was a commissioner in the state and by the grace of God, I have also attempted to contest the governorship twice. And today, I am a minister representing Oyo State in the Federal Executive Council. So, I don’t know what else you are looking for.
“You know as well as I do that what I brought to Oyo State at that time was a campaign support group for Mr. President and it is not the only support campaign group anyway. It cannot be. It’s a voluntary association of like-minded people who believe in the President. I want to believe that there will be so many other similar organisations which people can belong to. As a matter of fact, leaders at that level may want to maintain a neutral position so that since there will be so many such groups, it will not be seen as if they are leaning towards one more than another. But what is more important is that the subject matter of our efforts, during that office commissioning, is one that is acceptable to people across the party. Whether they believe in me or not, whether they want to associate with me or not, what is important is that the subject matter, that is, President Muhammadu Buhari, is a beloved of all party men and anybody can decide which platform he wants to give support to Mr. President’s second term.
“Have you seen any of these governors who said something different or contrary to what our group stood for and still stand for? There is something in law we call consensus ad idem – consensus by many parties on the same subject matter. So, whether somebody decides to wear a Yoruba cap or another man decides to wear an Igbo cap or whatever, what is important to us is the ultimate aim of getting Mr. President re-elected for a second term in office.”
On how acceptable is he to the generality of the state especially as it relates to his quest to be Governor of Oyo State, he explained that ”I thought you would know that today, I am the Agbakin Afiwagboye of Ibadan land. If you translate that title, Agbakin means a form of commander; Afiwagboye – who became crowned because of his Good nature. If Ibadans have decided to appoint me to that exalted position, will that not speak volumes? Besides that, you must recall that I have been an Ibadan resident since 1979, consistently up till date. Two Ibadan daughters are wives to me and they have children for me. I have lived and socialized with virtually every important Ibadan person and I don’t have any bad record and I believe the Ibadans feel very comfortable with me and will give me every support. I don’t have cause to fear whether I am very acceptable to the people of Ibadan with whom I have lived, done my social life, my political life, my religious life and even my professional life,” he submitted.