Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, on Friday revealed the reason why two ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration: Adebayo Shittu and Aisha Al-Hassan, were disqualified from contesting the party’s governorship ticket for the 2019 general elections.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Oshiomhole said both ministers were disqualified becuase the party was not ready to compromise its core values.
The APC National Chairman said Shittu, the Minister of Communications, was not cleared to contest the Oyo State governorship primary because he failed to participate in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme.
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According to him, the law is very clear concerning participation in the NYSC for Nigerian graduates and noted that the screening committee was not convinced by the explanations put forward by Shittu for missing his service year.
“He admitted that he did not do the mandatory NYSC as provided for under the law, and in is own judgment, his being a member of the Oyo House of Assembly and now as a minister of the Federal Republic 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. So, for us, not participating in the NYSC raises very serious moral issue as well as legal issue.
“If he did not do NYSC, that for us was enough to disqualify him and we had to find the courage to do so”, Oshiomhole said.
The APC National Chairman also said Al-Hassan, the Minister of Women Affairs was barred from contesting the Taraba State gubernatorial primary because of her alleged lack of loyalty to the party.
Oshiomhole, a former two-term Edo State governor, said Al-Hassan’s utterances and conduct during the screening exercise as well as during recent times indicated that she was a dual card-carrying member of both the APC and unnamed political party.
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He disclosed that Al-Hassan had to be disqualified as both the constitution and the APC’s regulations are against dual membership of political parties.
He said, “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.
“We made it clear when the defections happened that the APC may well benefit from these defections if it helps us to be more critical in terms of whom we give platform to contest elections and that there are core values that binds the APC together and they are non-negotiable.
“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.”
Al-Hassan was reported to have endorsed Atiku Abubakar, a presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, while as a Minister, stating she would support her political godfather in the 2019 elections.