Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has opened up on the lingering crisis that trailed the primaries of the party, stating emphatically that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party, stabbed him in the back.
He claimed that he was the first person two years ago to suggest to President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Oshiomhole, whom he described as “former friend” as his Political Adviser but regretted the manner he was paid back by the APC national chairman.
Alhaji Shittu, who is court to secure his claim to the governorship ticket of the party in Oyo State, also dismissed as hypocritical the ongoing reconciliation of aggrieved members of the ruling party, describing it as slavish coercion.
Rather than seek reconciliation, he said, what the APC leadership should seek was restitution and justice for all aggrieved members by retiring what was stolen from them.
Recall that the party had, in the wake of the crisis that gripped it at state and national levels, set up a Peace and Reconciliation Committee that went to the various geopolitical zones. Some of the committees have submitted their reports.
But Alhaji Shittu said he would be “a bastard” if he submitted to such a committee after he was glaringly defrauded by the APC NWC.
He said the Oyo State governorship ticket was sold and paid for by persons he said had made money through shady means.
Asked if he would appear before the Governor Kashim Shettima-led reconciliation committee for the South-West, Shittu said he would pursue the alleged trading that went on during the APC primary in Oyo State to a logical conclusion.
He said: “I will be a bastard to be defrauded out of a primary process and still behave like I am a slave. I think it does not make sense.
“I have been a foundation member of APC and twice I have run the primary for governor.
“In 2011, I aspired. I was defeated by the incumbent. In 2015, I aspired, I was defrauded, and I challenged that primary that gave Governor Ajimobi a second term.
“I went to court, and I was still in court when my appointment as minister was announced.
“That meant I had to abandon that suit, but the governor, instead of thanking his God that I did not continue with that suit, sponsored a campaign to stop my confirmation.”
Alhaji Shittu claimed that Oshiomhole did the bidding of Ajimobi in foisting a newcomer on Oyo State APC and vowed to resist the ‘anti-party’ threats being dangled by the APC leadership.
“They foisted somebody who is barely two months on the party. Of course, at my level, you cannot expect me to support that person.
“I have given enough warning. Now they are talking of reconciliation. I have said this, that before you talk of reconciliation, you first talk of restitution.
“If you violate somebody’s right or you steal somebody’s property or whatever, instead of returning what you have stolen, you are talking of reconciliation,” he said, insisting that only justice would restore peace in the party.
Asked if his stand would not affect the second term bid of President Buhari, Alhaji Shittu said Buhari’s victory would transcend party affiliation, adding that even people in the opposition PDP would vote for him.