A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan Oyo State has struck out a suit filed by the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu challenging his disqualification from taking part in the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial primary election.
The APC National Working Committee had disqualified Shittu from contesting the Oyo guber election based on the revelation that he did not take part in the one year mandatory National Service for Nigerians who completed their tertiary education before the age of 30.
Shittu admitted he did not take part in the National Youth Service scheme but argued that it was because he was elected into the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after graduating from Law School.
Following the disqualification, Shittu filed a case in court saying that he was unjustly disqualified. He posited that the constitutional requirement for the office of a governor is a secondary school certificate and not an NYSC completion certificate.
But in her ruling on Friday, Justice Patricia Ajoku pointed out that Shittu’s complaint was filed outside the constitutionally required period for filing a pre-election case.
“I must first consider the provision of Section 285 of the constitution that makes it mandatory for all pre-election matters to be filed within 14 days of occurrence,” Justice Ajoku said.
“This particular case was not filed within 14 days, but outside the date. Therefore, I will not bother going into the merit of the case. Having failed to satisfy the dictates of the constitution, the matter is hereby, struck out.”
Shittu is the second member of the Muhammadu Buhari cabinet that was found not to have taken part in the mandatory NYSC scheme.
The first was the former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, who was found to have procured a fake NYSC certificate and had been parading same as original. Few months after the report of Adeosun’s forgery was published, she resigned her position and returned to Britain where she had been before relocating to Nigeria.
However, unlike Adeosun, Shittu has remained as a minister, despite the provisions of the NYSC Act that any citizen who fails to take part in the one-year mandatory service cannot be legally employed in Nigeria. Buhari, for his part, has also refused to take any action against the minister.