The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu is conspicuously absent at an ongoing meeting between Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state and some gubernatorial aspirants under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state ahead of the 2019 elections, Daily Post reports.
It was gathered that Ajimobi, at the meeting on Saturday formally announced the four aspirants he intends to endorse for the gubernatorial ticket of the party.
The four aspirants, NAIJAROKO learnt, will then face members of the party at the primary election later this month.
NAIJAROKO recalls that Ajimobi had on Wednesday promised to meet the aspirants with the intension of reducing the population and prevail on some to step down.
The Governor also invited aspirants for the senatorial and House of Representatives seats across the state on the platform of the party.
The meeting of the governor with the gubernatorial aspirants was scheduled to take place today (Saturday) at the government house, while the one with the senatorial and House of Representatives aspirants was scheduled to hold in the same venue on Sunday.
Among the gubernatorial aspirants jostling to succeed Ajimobi expected at today’s meeting included: the Minister of Communications, Shittu, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN); Mr. Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe; former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Chief Adebayo Adelabu; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli; Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan; and former Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade.
Others are: Commissioner for Land, Housing and Survey, Mr. Isaac Omodewu; a former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala; Chairman Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Crime, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari and Dr. Olusola Ayandele; a former Chief Press Secretary to Late Governor Lam Adeshina, Kehinde Olaosebikan and Professor Soji Adejumo.
But Daily Post reports that at press time, Minister Adebayo Shittu was absent at the meeting of the governor and the gubernatorial aspirants. The meeting started around 2.00 p.m.
Among the aspirants who have however, arrived the governor’s lodge, venue of the meeting as at 4.15 p.m include former governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan and Mr. Joseph Tegbe.
Others are: former Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade; Secretary to the state government, Mr. Olalekan Alli and Mr. Isacc Omodewu.
A close aide to the Minister, who spoke with Daily Post in confidence, said he was not sure if the Minister, Adebayo Shittu was invited, noting that this may be responsible for his absence at the meeting.
He said, “Let me tell you the truth, I was told that the governor has called a meeting and he has reduced the aspirants to four. He has called some of them, he held a meeting with them and he told them that they should step down for the four.
“I can tell you, I will tell you their names, they are Tegbe, Soji Eniade, Bimbo Adekambi and Isaac Omodewu. He said he will pick from the four. Why should he do that, all of them are aspirants. Let them go to the field. Barrister Shittu has purchased the form and Akala has also bought the form.”
The aide maintained that Shittu’s absence may be as a result of the fact that he was not invited to the meeting.
He added, “I don’t think he was invited, he was not invited. If he was invited, he would have come. Though, he is not around now. He is not in the country.”