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Aisha Alhassan’s Disqualification, Shittu And Other Matters

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In a classic case of revenge in a dish best served cold, the All Progressives Congress disqualified former minister of women affairs, Aisha Alhassan, from contesting the Taraba APC gubernatorial primaries. Her disqualification hit her like a thunderbolt. Never in her wildest imagination did she see this coming. After the humiliation, she decamped to UDP with all her supporters. Mama Taraba, please let me ask you; what were you expecting or thinking? Let me refresh your memory a little bit about her faux pas. Last year, Alhassan, was seen in a video, describing former vice-president Atiku Abubakar as the next president of Nigeria in 2019. “Mr President, our father, Nigeria’s president for 2019, God willing, in your presence today are your people who have been placed under your care forever,” she said as the head of a Taraba-APC delegation during a visit to Atiku. She followed it up in an interview with BBC Hausa when she restated her position that she would support Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election. She added that even if President Muhammadu Buhari decided to contest in 2019, she would still support Atiku.

She said in Hausa: “Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics. And again, “Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019. “Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that, Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve in your government as a minister but Baba just like you know, I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku said he is going to contest.” She went further to say that she was not scared of being relieved of her job as minister. She remarked, “If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed that is why. Baba is not a mad man like those calling for my sack. They have been sending and spreading it that if Baba sees this I will be sacked.” After her vituperations, like a woman of honour, I expected her to resign but like a typical Nigerian politician, she remained in the cabinet. President Buhari, who is legendary for his allergy to sacking non-performing ministers and aides, left her in the cabinet. In a way I have to commend the president for his patience, because here is someone who has committed the cardinal sin in politics – disloyalty-and she was still attending cabinet and caucus meetings.

You may not like the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole’s style of leadership or politics, but you can’t deny the fact that the former Edo governor is trying to bring discipline back to the party. Mama Taraba was served when she least expected it. There should be consequences for disloyalty or when your loyalty is questioned. That is why I was happy that the APC gave Senator Shehu Sani an automatic ticket. There should be a reward for loyalty. If the decision of the ticket was left in the hands of Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, there is no way in hell he would have allowed Senator Sani get the APC ticket. Let’s talk about the minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu. Byy now I expected him to have tendered his letter of resignation to the president. After the Kemi Adeosun debacle, it’s now operation “show my your NYSC certificate” in the country. Shittu was exposed as not having an NYSC certificate and he made one of the most asinine statements ever made by a public servant in Nigeria.

Shittu said whereas the former minister submitted a fake NYSC exemption certificate, he did not obtain any certificate.He added that he considered his service at the Oyo State Assembly as “a higher service”. He said he had not infringed on any law in the country’s Constitution by skipping NYSC. According to him, “Nigerian Tribune even reported that I left University in 1979, but in actual sense, I left in 1978 and left Law School in 1979. “And the Constitution says anyone who qualifies to contest an election or who has gone through an election and wins, he is obligated to move through the House of Assembly which I did for four years. “So it is a form of higher service as far as I’m concerned, and even now, I am still in service. “I don’t think I have violated the law except someone has a superior argument and can prove it. “Unfortunately, Kemi had a fake certificate, I didn’t present any, I didn’t have one.
“I simply followed the constitutional requirement that if you are qualified to contest an election, it is compulsory for you to serve the nation in the capacity that you won an election,” he said. The shocker is that Shittu, a trained lawyer, invented a law to escape prosecution. He has committed a crime and should do the most honourable thing by resigning from the cabinet. Unlike Adeosun who attracted public sympathy because she was one of the shinning lights in President Buhari’s cabinet, the case of Shittu is different, because he is described as a “ghost minister”. I propose that the federal government should declare an operation show me your NYSC cerificate for all cabinet members and top government members. These days, I am tempted to walk about with my NYSC certificate in my pocket before they start asking for it at any government function.



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