Reference to the recent acceptance by the Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu that his hitherto claims of preferring to serve as a State lawmaker on graduation instead of serving the nation in National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an offence, Nigerians are querying his continued stay at the federal cabinet as minister.
Some aggrieved Nigerians who barred their minds on the matter on the sidelines of celebration of the nation’s 58th independence anniversary argued that the controversies so far generated by the revelation and his disqualification to run for Oyo State governorship election based on the NYSC matter is enough for him to either resign form FEC or be removed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
To them, whoever that refused to serve based on selfish reasons should not have any form of clemency because such a person placed personal interest over and above the nation.
They agreed that contrary to his claims that his is better than former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, his case is more grave because it was a deliberate attempt to rob off the nation of his selfless service on graduation after all.
National Daily gathered that Shittu, born on 23 March 1953, became the youngest Oyo indigene at age 26, to contest and win election into the Oyo State House of Assembly, a position that compelled him to dump serving in the mandatory national service.
Shittu had gained admission into University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun south west, in 1974 and after obtaining a first degree in Law from the same university in 1978, he ran into politics at the age of 26, becoming a member of old Oyo House of Assembly in 1979.
In 1983, Barrister Shittu was again, elected as a member of Oyo State House Assembly but could not continue as Gen Buhari struck in a Coup neutralizing former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s second term.
However, rather than going back to serve Nigeria in the NYSC, he retired into legal practice and writing profession. He became a member of National Political conference in 2005. In 2011, he withdrew his gubernatorial ambition for the incumbent (2016) governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
President Buhari appointed him Minister in 2016 having come from his main party (CPC) which was part of the amalgam that produced the current All Progressive Congress (APC).
However, in a recent Radio interview monitored by National Daily shortly the announcement of his disqualification to run in the 2019 guber contest, he averred that he is willing to embark on the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
Answering interview question from the popular Ibadan-based broadcast journalist, Edmund Obilo, on his programme ‘State Affairs’, Shittu said having been made to understand that refusing to serve after graduating because of State lawmaking is faulty, he is ready to serve even now.
“Will you still like to go for Youth Service?” asked Mr Obilo. “Of course I will go; it will be a pleasant thing to go after I have been governor by the grace of God,” Mr Shittu said in response to the question. “Yes, why not?”
When Mr Obilo jokingly asked the minister whether he would like to serve in Daura, home of President Muhammadu Buhari, he responded in the affirmative.
“Whichever camp…it doesn’t matter, Daura is part of Nigeria,” he replied, adding that, “I will serve in any place if it becomes necessary for me to go.”
Again, Mr Obilo asked Mr Shittu whether he would serve if he does not become the governor of Oyo state.
“If it becomes necessary I will,” he said. “Court will have to decide whether serving in the house of assembly and being minister is not superior and does not replace service in the NYSC.”
The minister had continuously claimed that his case was, however, different from that of Kemi Adeosun, the immediate past minister of finance.
It would be recalled that former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun resigned her appointment at the heat of the fake NYSC exemption certificate and bolted away to London.
Also, recently, the former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Al-Hassan quit the Federal Executive Council after she was denied APC guber ticket which she instantly bagged as she defected to UPN in Taraba State.
If Shittu resigns, he will be the second minister to resign on grounds of complicity in NYSC.