APC bars two ministers from contesting governorship primaries
By Tonye Bakare
The ruling All Progressives Congress has disqualified two serving ministers from contesting governorship elections in their states.
The minister for communication and information technology Adebayo Shittu and that of women affairs Aisha Alhassan were not cleared by the party’s screening committees.
Three other ministers Usani Uguru Usani of the ministry of Niger Delta, Mansur Ali, who heads the Ministry of Defence and Mustapha Shehu, Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing were cleared to contest.
The primaries are scheduled to hold on Sunday, September 30.
Although the reason for not clearing Alhassan was not stated in a statement released by the party on Thursday evening, it stated that Shittu was disqualified because he did not undergo the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps.
Shittu has defended his decision not to enrol in the Corps when he was supposed to. He said his election into the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after graduation in 1979 replaced the mandatory service. An NYSC spokesperson, however, insisted that Shittu’s defence was not tenable.
Alhassan’s disqualification may not be unconnected with her open affinity for former Nigeria’s vice president Atiku Abubakar, who dumped the ruling party in 2017. Abubakar is currently seeking the presidential ticket of the People’s Democratic Party.
A total of seven aspirants from different states were disqualified by the party’s National Working Committee. They included Siobe Eric Okotie (Delta), Ejikeme Ugwu (Enugu) and Ibrahim Mohammed Mera (Kebbi). The other two were Danladi Envulu-Anza Halilu (Nasarawa) and Abubakar Mamma Jiya Maaji (Niger).