Ahead of tomorrow’s All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary elections to select its candidates in their various states for the upcoming 2019 elections, two seating ministers from the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari; the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu and Minister for Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan have been disqualified by the party’s screening committee from seeking the party ticket.
The two ministers were among the six candidates who were disqualified at the screening exercise by the screening committee. 166 other candidate was given permission to partake in the primary elections by the screening committee, while one candidate from Yobe State voluntarily withdrew from the race running after filing his nomination form.
The report of the party screening committee revealed that the Minister for Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu was disqualified because he did not participate in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program and does not have NYSC certificate.
The Minister of Communications confirmed that he did not participate in the mandatory national youth service because he went straight from the university to the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1979 where he served as the youngest elected member of parliament in the old Oyo state. Mr. Adebayo Shittu, however, claimed that his service at the Oyo State House of Assembly is equivalent to him serving the nation.
However, no reason was given by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the disqualification of Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan in their statement released last night. The party screening committee however cleared 11 other candidates to run for office in Taraba State.
The final list released by the National Working Committee further revealed that all the other 7 candidates vying for the party ticket in Oyo State were cleared for tomorrow’s gubernatorial primary election exercise. Among the cleared candidates include: a former Oyo State governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala; former Commissioner for Health, Dr Owolabi Babalola, Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan; a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Adebayo Adelabu; a Senior Partner and Head of the Technology Advisory Services and Markets of KPMG Professional Services in Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, Project Director and Director at Integrated Energy Distribution And Marketing Limited, Dr Olusola Ayandele and a seasoned lawyer, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN).
In Lagos state, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was cleared to run again. Likewise, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat were also cleared to battle with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for the APC gubernatorial ticket.
In Ogun state, 6 candidates were cleared to run for the governorship ticket. Special Adviser to Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Jimi Lawal; former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Bimbo Ashiru; oil magnate, Dapo Abiodun; former deputy governor and senator, Senator Sefiu Adegbenga Kaka; Hon. Adekunle Abdulkabir Akinlade (Triple-A), a member of the state House of Representatives – Egbado South/Ipokia Federal Constituency and former Commissioner in the state Civil Service Commission, Mr. Abayomi Hunye.
The former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, was cleared to contest and challenge Governor Jubrila Bindow for Adamawa State gubernatorial ticket. Alhaji Mahmood Halim Ahmed was also cleared to contest for the ticket in Adamawa state.
The Governors of Niger, Kebbi and Jigawa states are cleared to contest unopposed as their opponents were not cleared to contest.
Borno State has the highest number of cleared candidates: 21 aspirants cleared to contest. While Nasarawa state has 11 candidates cleared to contest for the party ticket and Zamfara State has 9 candidates cleared to contest.
Other contestants that did not qualify to contest for the party ticket in the North-central zone include the secretary of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Danladi Anza Halilu of Nasarawa state and Abubakar Maji of Niger state.