Adebayo Shittu, Communications Minister, has denied flagging off President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 election campaign before the constitutionally allowed time frame.
Shittu said this in the light of condemnations he earned for distributing President Buhari’s ‘Continuity 2019’ campaign caps at last week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Speaking to State House correspondents on Monday, the minister denied any wrongdoing in sharing the campaign caps to attendants of the FEC meeting.
“It is true that the constitution and the electoral law talk of campaigns starting 90 days before elections, but there is no law stopping announcing intentions. There is a difference between campaigns and intentions,” he said.
He equally denied organising any event to campaign for President Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
Shittu said the event that recently held in Ibadan was the opening of the South West Zonal Office of the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group.
“This organisation has been in existence for more than six years.
“So, if it did not have a presence in the South West, and now because they appointed me as chairman of the Board of Trustees and I feel that as a serious-minded person, we need to have a presence in the South West in preparation for the campaigns, I don’t see what is wrong with that.
“So, I plead not guilty to the issue of starting campaign before time. The best thing we could say is that it has been a pronouncement of an intention,” he explained.
He added, “The man himself has not declared, but we are saying we will persuade him to declare his intention at the appropriate time and we are going to support him.”
Shittu further slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s call for Buhari’s retirement from office in 2019, describing it as “sensationalism”.