The South-West office of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, in Ibadan, is no longer operational, but this is no indication of a rift between the President and Adebayo Shittu, his Minister of Communications and Information Technology, SaharaReporters has been told.
The APC launched the office in January, with its top members — such as Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health; Ken Nnamani, former Senate President; and Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State — in attendance.
However, just 10 months down the line, the campaign materials dotting the building, located along Mokola-Ojoo Road in the centre of Ibadan, capital of Oyo State capital, have been removed, prompting insinuations in some quarters that Shittu had “abandoned” the Buhari/Osinbajo campaign and “shut down” the building.
According to Saheed Oladele, Director, Media and Strategy, for the Adebayo Shittu Governorship Campaign Organisation, the rent for the building had only expired, and Shittu, unable to immediately afford the N3million annual rent, had to vacated the premises.
Oladele explained that the building, owned by Hon. Ajibola Muraina, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, was rented for Shittu by Engineer Tola Ajala, one of his political associates.
“When we begged them and they said they had other people who wanted to rent the place, we had to give it up,” Oladele said.
“It was Engineer Ajala who paid for it, which is why the Minister called him to pack his belongings from it. We are now looking for a better place when we have the money. The Minister is taking steps to bring the Buhari campaign to South-West as he did in 2015 when he was the coordinator in the South-West.”
Reiterating that Shittu remains with Buhari, Oladele added: “How will Shittu shut down Buhari campaign house in Oyo State when he was with Buhari just yesterday?
“Engineer Ajala was the one who paid for the house, so that the Honourable Minister could use it as Buhari’s campaign office in the South-West. But now that the rent has expired and we’re still unable to pay, obviously we had to leave.
“There’s no talk of crisis. Not at all. We don’t have any crisis with Buhari — because the Minister is ever grateful to Buhari. He made him Minister from nobody.”