Communications minister, Barr. Adebayo Shittu and House of Representatives member, Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi took their disagreement to another level as they attacked each other verbally on a radio programme, in Ibadan, the state capital.
Both chieftains of the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been engaged in verbal war for long. And it became evident during the budget presentation. Akinade-Fijabi chairs the Reps committee on communications.
Though Akinade-Fijabi has always denied speculation that he has his eyes on the 2019 governorship election, Shittu has always told those who care to listen that he is the best for the job.
The youthful lawmaker was reacting to Shittu’s allegation that Governor Abiola Ajimobi was running the APC with impunity, following the protest that greeted the announcement of caretaker committee chairmen in the state. Shittu, who is a former lawmaker, had also accused Ajimobi of planning to hijack the party structure ahead of 2019 with the inauguration of Elders’ Advisory Council for the party.
Akinade-Fijabi had alleged the minister of working against the party during the last election, adding that he was not fit to accuse Ajimobi of any wrongdoing.
Shittu, who was a guest on the same programme last week, had to call from Saudi-Arabia where he is performing lesser Hajj to react to Akinade-Fijabi’s defense of Ajimobi.
According to Shittu, all those who are defending the governor are ‘riff-raffs’; people who are looking for their daily bread. “I don’t have issues with them. I have told the truth. They are fighting a proxy war and I don’t care,” the Saki-born lawyer had commented before the network became bad.
Infuriated by the statement, an obviously angry Akinade-Fijabi said Shittu doesn’t have the moral right to accuse Ajimobi.
“Fortunately for Oyo, we are so lucky in this dispensation; we have the honourable minister for communication, the chairman senate committee on ICT and chairman Reps committee on communication. As I am sitting down here, I have facilitated more than a billion naira project to Oyo State. Sen. Buhari has done same. What has he done as a minister? A minister that cannot defend his own ministry in front of four committees and wants to be governor of Oyo State! He is now saying I am fighting a proxy war on behalf of Governor Ajimobi. Is Sen, Nnaji, chairman senate committee on telecommunication from Oyo State? It is worse to throw stones when you live in a glass house! You don’t! Somebody calling somebody authoritarian, dictator…who is he? It is not for him to say there is corruption going on with the caretaker arrangement;what do we have the anti-corruption agencies for? Why can’t he go there and let them come and investigate?”
The lawmaker, however, advised that what anybody should be concerned about must be in the interest of the state. “The governor is my leader; he is the leader of the party in the state. The minister, like anybody, has the right to disagree with the governor. He is an elderly person; he is 65 and Ajimobi is nearing 68; if he has any disagreement, it is a thing he can just walk up to the governor and express his displeasure,” he advised.
“As I am, I am one of the leaders of this party as a second term Reps member. If I see that there is anything wrong, I walk up to the leader to chat with him. We are humanbeings. Ajimobi is magnanimous enough. Shittu has the right to aspire, there are many people aspiring but they are not going this way within the party, with a lot of lies. Calling people from Umrah…where he should be praying for the nation. You can see the leadership qualities between the two! As a leader, you are like a pit where everybody comes to drop their dirts. A leader must have shock absorber,” he explained.
Saying that he does not belong to any faction with the party in the state, he said: I am a member of the All Progressives Congress and Ajimobi is our leader.”