Minister Drags APC to Court over Disqualification from Oyo Governorship Race

Akinwale Akintunde

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to court for disqualifying him from the governorship race in Oyo State over his non-participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.

Shittu, 65, had in his defence, said upon his graduation at the age of 25, he contested for a seat in the state House of Assembly and won.

According to him, serving in the state House of Assembly should suffice for his NYSC certificate.

In the suit filed by his counsel, A.U Mustapha, Adebayo asked the court to declare that the submission/presentation of NYSC discharge certificate to APC is not part of the requirements for him to participate in the primary election for nomination of governorship candidate of the party in Oyo State for the 2019 general election.

He asked the court to determine five issues, which are: “Whether by the provision of Section 2(1) of the NYSC Decree No. 24 of 1973 and/or any other provision of the Decree being the law in force as at 1978 when the plaintiff graduated at the University of Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) he was under any legal obligation to have warranted the plaintiff’s participation in the NYSC in the absence of a call-up instrument duly served on the plaintiff by the NYSC.

“Whether, by the combined reading of Sections 176-183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) and Article 20(iii) & (iv) of the constitution of the APC; it is a condition that the gubernatorial aspirant of the 1st defendant (APC) and/or any political party for that matter in Nigeria must present the NYSC discharge/exemption certificate.

“Whether it is ultra vires the powers of the 1st defendant to have disqualified the plaintiff from participating in its primary election for nomination of the governorship candidate of the 1st defendant in Oyo State for the 2019 general election on the ground that the plaintiff does not possess NYSC discharge/exemption certificate;

“Whether it does not amount to denial of fair hearing as enshrined in Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of as amended for the 1st defendant to have purportedly disqualified the plaintiff from contesting for governorship election in Oyo State on the platform of the 1st defendant without availing the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard on the allegations that the plaintiff avoided the NYSC scheme; and

“Whether by the combined reading of the provisions of Sections 147(5), 65(1)(b) and (2), 66 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 12 of the NYSC Act, Cap N84 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the plaintiff was qualified to have been appointed as a minister capable of holding the office, and/or any other governmental office at any level notwithstanding the fact that he did not participate in the NYSC scheme.”

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