Home Opinion OPINION: The Shittu You Don’t Know | Oluwatoyin Adeyemi

OPINION: The Shittu You Don’t Know | Oluwatoyin Adeyemi


I decided to write this article because of a Facebook post I saw recently where someone praised Buhari for the huge remittance made by NIPOST this year, the highest in many years. This person is an APC member (a youth leader) which was why I was surprised that he could not give the credit of that achievement to the right person which of course should be the Honourable Minister of Communications – Dr. Adebayo Shittu. Sometimes we need to look beyond sentiments and place more priority on getting what is best for us as a people. 

Late 2017, I had this conviction that I should join politics. It’s not something that I could explain here. Having resigned my job as an Administration Executive to intern with an advertising agency, I called egbon Ola who I knew has always been very politically conscious since UI days and he in turn directed me to call Tokunbo Salako. To cut a long story short, I would later be invited by my egbon, Saheed Oladele to work on a media assignment.

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One day I found myself anchoring a Media Parley facilitated by our team with the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu. I must confess that before I met the Minister on this particular day, I have heard many rumours being peddled about him which was why I had certain reservations which I’m sure many people still hold about him. Part of the reason I’m publishing this article is because I believe it’s unfair to allow these negative rumours against Barrister Shittu which certain people have promoted through sheer propaganda to fester. I believe it’ll only be fair that I let others know the Barrister Shittu I knew.

I will describe Barrister Shittu as one of the most unassuming human beings that I’ve ever encountered especially for someone of his stature. He is humble to a fault, yes to a fault. Sometimes I think his humility is one of his greatest weaknesses. When the Oyo State Governor said the Minister doesn’t have class in an interview with Channels sometimes ago, believe me, he was referring to the fact that the Minister can relate with anyone irrespective of their social class.

Another problem I think many people have with the Minister is his honesty. Barrister Shittu simply doesn’t know how to lie. He is one of the very few politicians that I have met who will not mince words. He will tell you as it is. He doesn’t mind if you hate him. As part of his media team then, we had a hard time convincing him on the need to be diplomatic on some issues especially when the Ajimobi team were bent on frustrating him out of APC but Barrister Shittu will still insist on speaking truth to pressmen at all times. It saddens me now remembering how many pressmen abused the privilege of him agreeing to speak with them readily by quoting him out of context several times.

Several times, I witnessed instances when Saheed Oladele would be the one to lend Minister money for some of the assignments we executed on his behalf. Why would an ordinary citizen lend a Minister money? I had to ask this question eventually. That was when Saheed Oladele pointed out to me that the Minister is from a different breed of politicians who will not receive bribes or illicit gifts from anyone to influence contracts and such by virtue of his position. So that explains why he seldom has free money lying around like others in his class. 

I know that many people still believe all the lies about the Minister owning houses in Lagos and all. Minister that could not even pay rent for his constituency office at a time. There was also the lie about him being a religious fanatic. People who know my story will understand that I couldn’t have survived one week with the Minister if that allegation were to be true. 

Honestly, I had my issues with the Minister but it was purely on a professional basis. If you understand PR, you’d understand why I‘d have issues with the Minister judging by his personality that I had described in this article. For instance, Barrister Shittu would not allow you to colour anything to favour him, he wouldn’t want you to write about people he has helped. He believes strongly that whatever he does is for God, not the recipient(s) and as such should not be broadcast.

I can remember when we started working with the Minister and egbon Saheed told us to spell out what we wanted. He explained that the Minister may not be able to pay us adequately for the services we were engaged for in monetary terms but he would ensure that those of us who were qualified for certain things he could influence legally and morally get it. I remember pushing to get the media planning account for my boss agency which would not later materialise but I can confidently say that my other request was granted and likewise others. I had even lost hope when what he promised eventually came through. This was someone that I had spoken with a few days earlier and had only said that I will just have to exercise patience, stressing that he could not unduly influence things but will allow the person in charge to do his job without fear. He however always maintained that he was sure we would get what we desired since we are qualified but that some may take longer than others as the process was in batches which was what eventually happened.

Meanwhile, Barrister Shittu is not an angel but I’m sure he does everything humanly and morally possible to keep his word. If he has not kept a promise he made to you, believe me, he didn’t lie to you, it’s probably because he doesn’t have enough resources to keep that promise yet or maybe there are certain circumstances beyond his capability or control that have hindered the fulfilment of that promise. One thing I also know is that the Minister is a very busy man and as such may need constant reminders.

I really don’t know Buhari’s plans but one thing I know is that if he’s really keen on his anti-corruption stance and desires to work with people who share that vision with him, he would retain Barrister Shittu in his cabinet. The honourable Minister of Communications is one of the very few politicians we have in Nigeria at the moment who can sustain Buhari’s integrity legacy and I’m sure the president knows this too. My hope is that he will not allow the enemies of good governance confuse him.

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