Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, has advised Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters and 2019 presidential aspirant, against running, variously describing him as “inconsequential”, “a daydreamer who needs mentoring”, “a minion” and someone of “small worth” .
The duo were invited for an on-air dialogue by Fresh FM, Ibadan, on Saturday, where the Minister sparked off a wave of unpleasant remarks to which Sowore did not shy away from replying.
“…This is the minister of an outgoing regime, the Buhari regime, which will be kicked out of power,” said Sowore.
“By your wish or by God’s wish?” Shittu cut in, as he did numerous times into the conversation.
“By the wish of the people of Nigeria,” Sowore replied.
“Who are those people? I will tell you the facts,” the Minister said. “You are just dreaming, you are a daydreamer. What is your electoral ward?”
Shittu said he was “as active a politician as any other politician”, to which Sowore replied that nobody even heard about “some of you …”
“You wouldn’t know,” Shittu cut in again. “You wouldn’t know because you are inconsequential politically.” When Sowore tried to rebut this, he literally shouted him down. “You are not consequential!”
The radio presenter was heard trying to restore calm. “Honourable Minister, hold on a second, hold on a second,” he appealed. But his attempt proved abortive.
“I will not allow this man to come and make noise here. You are just a noisemaker. You are just a noisemaker! What is your worth in the political arena? You are a daydreamer! … You think the presidency is for people like you?”
“Honourable Minister, let’s listen to him,” pleaded the presenter again. And, again, his attempt to douse the tension was futile.
“Go and start from being a Councillor,” the Minister advised Sowore. “I have been a member of the House of Assembly once, I was a commissioner twice, I was already a lawyer.”
“Sir, before you became a minister, were you a councillor?” Sowore asked.
“I was a member of the House of Assembly for four years,” Shittu said, evading the question. “I was commissioner twice. You wouldn’t know; you were too small. How old are you?”
“Forty-seven years sir.”
“This is not a platform for minions like you to come and … I’m telling you. You think the presidency is something you can just … By the grace of God, you will be put to shame.”
“You will be shocked. Young people of Nigeria, 75% of them, will see your back in 2019,” replied Sowore.
When asked what has motivated him “to want to rule this country”, Sowore said he has been around for 30 years fighting for the betterment of the country, “first as student union leader, and of course as a leader of a media movement that brought the present government into power…”
“That is rubbish. That is rubbish,” interjected Shittu. “I have been in office since you were born. I have been in politics since you were born. For 40 years, I have been in active politics. And I was already a lawyer before I joined politics 40 years ago. You think you can just come here and talk rubbish. You are a day dreamer. Who will make you president? You can be President in Ife, not of Nigerians. You think it’s as cheap as that?”
“You will lose the election next year, and you will go back to what you used to be before now,” said Sowore assuredly.
Speaking on the famous Not Too Young to Run Bill later during the conversation, Omoyele Sowore asserted that young people should not have a sense of entitlement and think they have to be given power simply because they are young. “You have to take power because you are responsible, and you will be responsible for it,” he said.
He also spoke on whether his platform crosschecks its facts before going ahead with publications.
“Of course,” he said, emphatically. “You see the evidence. When we said the Chief of Army Staff bought houses in Dubai, we provided the receipts. When we said they were hiring illegally at the CBN, we provided the evidence, and found out it was the children of the people in government they were hiring from the backdoor.”
In rounding off the programme, the presenter thanked the Minister for “always being there for us”. “I want to believe this conversation between you and Sowore will continue. He is your brother as you rightly said.”
“It will continue after he has been defeated in 2019,” was Shittu’s response. “He will come back to eat all the vomit he is spitting out now.”
Immediately, Sowore replied, as people in the studio laughed heartily, “The conversation will continue in court where they will be facing prosecution.”
See the full video below: