The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu’s dream of becoming the governor of your state might have hit the rock as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) disqualified him.
The minister’s ambition was scuttled Thursday night after his name was dropped from the full list of aspirants cleared to contest in 26 states by the party.
Reason for his disqualification was hinged on his failure to participate in the mandatory one year youth-service-scheme after graduation.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) act makes it compulsory for all Nigerians who earn degrees or higher national diplomas from tertiary institutions in Nigeria and abroad (effective 1972/73 session) to participate in the scheme.
But Shittu who is the current Minister of Communications is said to have skipped the compulsory programme despite graduating from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU) at age 25.
In a statement made available to the media by the party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena, stated that Shittu was disqualified because he does not possess the NYSC certificate.
The list has been endorsed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Shittu in his reaction has defended his decision not to enrol in the Corps when he was supposed to.
The minister said his election into the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after graduation in 1979 replaced the mandatory service.
He pointed out that his own issue was different from that of former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who resigned of her NYSC certificate scandal.
According to him, whereas that of Adeosun was the presentation of a fake exemption certificate, he never obtained any certificate.
He said: “I left (University) in 1978 and left law school in 1979 and the constitution says anyone who qualifies to contest an election or who has gone through an election and wins, he is obligated to move through the House of Assembly which I did for four years, so it is a form of higher service as far as I’m concerned, and even now, I am still in service.”
On whether he agrees that he has violated the provisions of the NYSC Act, the Minister said, “I don’t see… and I’m not worried. Do you see any worry on my face? I don’t think so, except someone has a superior argument and prove it.”
Stressing that his case was not like that of Adeosun, Shittu said: “There is a world of difference. Unfortunately, Kemi had a fake certificate, I didn’t present any. I didn’t have one; I simply followed the constitutional requirement that if you are qualified to contest an election, it is compulsory for you to serve the nation in the capacity that you won an election.”
An NYSC spokesperson, however, insisted that Shittu’s defence was not tenable.