On Saturday, the minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu inaugurated the South West office of the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo (MBO) Dynamic Support Group at Mokola, Ibadan.
The launch was attended by government officials like the minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; and the Postmaster General of the Federation, Bisi Adegbuyi. Others present include the former senate president, Ken Nnamani; former Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu; National Coordinator, Muhammadu Buhari Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group, Usman Ibrahim; South West Zonal Coordinator of the organisation, Lateef Olawumi, and Senator Ayo Akinyelure.
However, the state governor Abiola Ajimobi (also a member of the APC) and all the members of his cabinet were absent, choosing instead to hold a separate rally to sensitise members of the party on the coming local council polls at the APC secretariat in Oke Ado, Ibadan.
Why it matters:
Shittu is obviously trying to hang on to Pres. Buhari’s tailcoats in order to clinch the APC governorship nomination in Oyo state. Gov. Ajimobi doesn’t want as his successor. In the coming months, if the two men are unable to mend fences, serious issues are expected. For instance, it is believed that the Buhari campaign is looking as using state governors as campaign chairmen in the zone. Shittu is trying to get ahead of that curve by positioning himself as the leader of the campaign in the zone. That would be hard to pull off.
The animosity between both men came into the open last month as Shittu wrote to Pres. Buhari, APC national chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, and APC national leader Bola Tinubu, accusing the governor of “undue arrogance, grandstanding, nepotism, caustic and unguarded utterances and creating unnecessary divisions among party leaders and members thereby balkanising the party along group lines.”
Shittu also accused Ajimobi of demolishing a Computer Based Test Centre which he was constructing in Shaki.
There was no mention of Shittu in the rally held by the governor on Saturday but at the MBO Dynamic Support Group launch organised by Shittu, the speakers had a lot to say about the relationship between the the minister and the governor.
Former Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu:
“We are students who are not afraid of telling people what we feel is not right. Everybody in this hall will agree with us that there is a break in communication between our governor and the minister. We don’t want that to continue.
“If anybody inside this house today would say it is good for these two elephants to continue quarreling, my senior brother, Senator Ken Nnamani, and I would disagree that they should be quarreling. The minister and the governor should be the best of friends. And we are going to make that happen.”
Former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani:
“I would say publicly without any fear or favour that here in the South West, as a centre of excellence in Nigeria and centre of commerce and industry, I expect that their pre-eminent role in politics should anchor on peace and unity.
“There is a need for our party, APC, to have internal decorum and cohesion and people working together. Politics is not a game you play as an individual. You have a role to be part of that team. You are not the team itself. You are part of it.
“We are not trying to prove any point by being antagonistic and running one another down. We, as members of one family, must try and eschew every form of bitterness and excessive anger, because nobody does anything right if we do it in anger or bitterness. If you are speaking and you do with anger, you are likely to say things you will regret later.”