I feel sorry for Oyo State for not having me as governor —Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Ex-minister

I feel sorry for Oyo State for not having me as governor —Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Ex-minister

I feel sorry for Oyo State for not having me as governor —Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Ex-minister
I feel sorry for Oyo State for not having me as governor —Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Ex-minister

In this interview by Tunde Ayanda and Segun Adebayo, former Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, expresses his wish to still govern Oyo State at 71. He also speaks on how he got into politics, and all he missed about governance.

You’ll be 71 this month, how do you feel?

I feel thankful to God, for keeping me this long in good health and also permitting my intellect to keep being active. These qualities deserve my eternal gratitude to God. I’ve survived over 20 car accidents in which the vehicles were damaged, but God has always been helping me.

How did you survive 20 crashes without a scratch?

Maybe there was a scratch in the last accident. I had a scratch on my head but four people died in the car. I was taken out of the car by people that were passing by.

It is safe to ask as a Yoruba man and a Muslim if there is any form of spiritual fortification for you?

I’m fortified by God, if you know my level in Islam you’ll know that I have no business with any paganistic fortifications. I believe only in God.

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Before I was born it was said to my parents that they would give birth to a child who would always overcome challenges that come his way and would never be overwhelmed by them.

When I was 15, I dreamt  I was on a river floating without any safety jacket. Secondly, I also dreamt that I was in the midst of snakes and I was bitten, I felt the pain in my leg but before it got to my heart I woke up.

I also dreamt I was tied to drums and was shot at but I survived. These and many more are what God has shown me which turned out to be the protection from harm. Anything that will compromise my walk with Allah, I abstain from it. When Baba Lamidi Adedibu was alive, he knew me to be a cleric and not to be engaged in radical activities.

You started politics 45 years ago in 1977 what was your interest?

It wasn’t my interest that got me into politics, I was at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), in my final year I was on holiday and was told Chief Obafemi Awolowo was coming to Saki, my hometown. This was a time that the military had given notice that they were going to lift the ban on politics in preparation for the entry of second republic. I was excited to know that Awo was coming and I found my way to the meeting.

I was the only young man and student to see him and listen to him. He told Saki people that if they had anybody interested in politics the time was now because other places had always represented Saki at that time.

When I heard that statement it was as if he directed it at me. After that I found that there was only one Muslim that was on the cabinet (commissioner) of the state known as Dr Lateef Adegbite, from Abeokuta. I went to brief him about what Chief Awolowo said in the meeting and asked if I should take it seriously. He encouraged me to show interest and that helped me to go see Chief Awolowo in Lagos in Apapa, his residence.

He was shocked when he saw me. I introduced myself that I’m a student but also a native of Saki. He asked why I was there and I told him of my interest in the party. He accepted and gave me two pieces of advice that when I got back to Ile-Ife I should look for one Mr Wunmi Adegbonmire. He was the General Manager of Ife Bookstore Limited and tell him that I had an instruction that he must bring me along whenever he was coming for meetings. The meetings were the ones that brought Awo people together.

Secondly, Chief Awolowo asked me to meet Baba Digba, the Chairman of the Awolowo Youth that he should support me in my political journey and that was all. From that moment, I became the youngest man and student of the Committee of Friends.

My original plan was to contest for the House of Representatives but because there was a senior lawyer of mine who was two years ahead of me, he maneuvered and my ambition was reduced to the House of Assembly.

Initially, I was not happy but it was a blessing in disguise because of the impact that I made in the Oyo State House of Assembly. If I was in the House of Representatives I wouldn’t have made that impact. Eventually, I won the election and the NPN candidate whom I defeated took me to court.

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