- Playing The BUHARI Card To Get OYO APC Guber Ticket
It is no longer news within Oyo that the Minister of Communications, Barr. Bayo Shittu and Gov. Abiola Ajimobi are sworn enemies, politically.
It has also become crystal clear that Ajimobi is not favourably disposed to Shittu’s ambition to succeed him, come 2019. Theirs has been cat and mouse relationship, right from the beginning of this dispensation even though they belong to the same party (APC).
What has become a major subject within Oyo State politics however is, how Bayo Shittu would clinch APC guber ticket without Ajimobi’s support. Ajimobi is the de facto leader/godfather of the party in the State. Apart from the fact that a sitting governor has at his disposal an enormous wealth to pull through his agenda, Ajimobi is a brilliant politician who can’t be defeated easily (he has proved that over time especially by breaking the second term jinx in the state). He is a strong, calculative, resilient politician to beat any day.
He has the state’s party structure in his palms and knows how to maximally use it to his advantage. No matter which angle you wish to take it from today, Ajimobi is a major force as far as Oyo APC and the state’s politics are concerned. But not minding Ajimobi’s power or influence, Shittu seems determined to give it whatever it takes to clinch the party’s ticket. He has since launched a powerful campaign machinery to achieve his dream.
Apart from personal recognition, another big area Shittu is likely to harp on is strong connection with the party leadership at the federal level. He is very close to President Muhammadu Buhari and he is one of his political eyes and ears in South-West and the fact that he is devout Muslim has also helped him get the President’s trust.
They have come a long way since the days of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), where he (Shittu) first contested the governorship race against Governor Ajimobi, who contested and won under the umbrella of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) back then before the mega merger. No sooner after the merger of major political parties that metamorphosed to the APC that Bayo Shittu and Ajimobi feud surfaced. Shittu went to court to challenge the sharing formula of executive positions of the APC and accused Ajimobi of violating the agreement of the national secretariat of the party.
He was later persuaded by the top leaders of the party to settle the case out of court. You will also recall the shocking announcement of Bayo Shittu as the nominee from Oyo State for a slot in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by President Buhari. And the uproar that ensured after, the state Exco claimed they were not carried along with the nomination. Many petitions were written against Shittu but he was eventually confirmed as the Minister of Communication.
Since he came on board too, Shittu has severally reported Ajimobi to the Federal Executives of the party on different occasions. On handling of the party’s affairs and so many other things. To further show that all is not well between Bayo Shittu and Governor Ajimobi, when the former commissioned South-West zonal office of the Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group in Ibadan, Ajimobi was conspicuously absent at the event.
Another gimmick political watchers in the state feel Bayo Shittu is likely to use against Ajimobi is the Oke-Ogun factor, which some believe can never fly. “The Bayo You CanTrust” as Shittu is being addressed by his political admirers, is from Oke-Ogun in Saki West Local Government and he is one of those politicians who strongly believe that it is the time for Oke-Ogun candidate to emerge. They believe the zone has been marginalised enough.
All these and many more are the reasons it is believed in some quarter that Oyo APC governoship ticket is going to be battle to finish between Bayo Shittu and Governor Abiola Ajimobi. The believe out there is that Shittu is more than ready this time around in making sure his dream to govern the pacesetter state comes to fruition come 2019. Having added more political feats to his credit as a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Minister of Communication for that matter, he is believed to have added more financial muscle too.
Bayo Shittu has risen to political prominence outside Oyo State since he became Minister. He was the youngest honourable member of the Oyo State House of Assembly between 1979 -1983. He has also served as Commissioner for Information, Culture and Home Affairs between October and December 1983 and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State under Ex-Gov. Ladoja’s administration.
The major questions on the lips of many people now are, can Bayo Shittu use his Federal connection as a Minister and his closeness to President Buhari to clinch APC governoship ticket against the wish of the party Exco in the state and the governor? Can Oke-Ogun candidate emerge in the party to contest the 2019 guber election? Time will definitely tell.