The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, during a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, explained why the party had to disqualify the Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, and the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan, from contesting the 2019 governorship election in their respective states.
According to Oshiomhole, Mr. Shittu was disqualified because his explanation that his services as a lawmaker at the Oyo State House of Assembly and as a Minister of the Federation, was equivalent to the National Youth Service Corps scheme was not convincing enough to the party.
“He admitted that he did not do the mandatory NYSC as provided for under the law and in his own judgment, his being a member of the House of Assembly in the state and now as a minister of the federal republic that these were enough sacrifices.”
“But for us as a party, we know that NYSC is a mandatory scheme. It is not something you may elect to do or abstain from doing. And my understanding of the NYSC Act is that no employer of labour is permitted to employ anyone who graduated under 30 years and who did not obtain an exemption for reasons as provided for in the NYSC Act.
“So, for us, not participating in the NYSC raises very serious moral issue as well as legal issue. Anyway, we were convinced that if he did not do NYSC, that for us was enough to disqualify him and we had to find the courage to do so.”
Mr. Oshiomhole also said that Mrs. Al-Hassan’s loyalty to the APC was in doubt, considering her previous statements as well as loyalty to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who left the APC for the opposition PDP.
“As for the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, she has issues that have to do with party loyalty. Our constitution is clear and it dictates that to contest elections or even hold office in the APC, you must be loyal to the party in every material concern.
“From all she had said in the past and even her comments and general attitude during the screening, the NWC reviewed everything taken together and we arrived at the conclusion that she does not possess the level of loyalty that the APC requires for her to contest elections on our platform.
“The Electoral Act and the APC constitution forbid anyone from being a member of more than one political party at a time. You cannot be a member of APC and be a card carrying member of another party but when you have a situation where it would appear, based on what you know and based on what I know that someone is probably APC in the day time maybe for the purpose of retaining certain offices and they are PDP at heart.
“Or if they are not PDP at heart, they are actually and simply a follower of a one-man permanent presidential candidate…then we have the right to ask ourselves if these attitudes and qualities are characteristics of an ideal member of an APC,” he said.
Mrs. Al-Hassan had in the past publicly declared her support for Atiku Abubakar, saying that Atiku will be Nigeria’s next president.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirants, he was one of the founding members of the ruling APC, but however dumped the APC for PDP in 2017.