The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has stated that the party’s campaigns are ongoing in states of the federation, saying that elections are not decided in Abuja.
Oshiomhole made this comment yesterday while giving reasons why governors elected on the platform of the party were absent at the inaugural meeting of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.
The governors, who are members and also state coordinators of the presidential campaign council, were all absent at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Oshiomhole said the governors were busy coordinating activities in their states.
“It is because they are governors; they are governing their states. Don’t forget that elections are not defined in Abuja; they will take place in the 36 states .
“I’m assuring you (that) there are APC members who are campaigning for the House of Assembly, various federal House of Representatives and Senate constituencies, governorship constituencies. So it will not be helpful to bring them to Abuja.”
He explained that the meeting was about policies which would be consummated and translated into practice across the 36 states, 774 local governments and awards across the country.
“The key issue was to go through the programme of activities, calendar of campaigns, various interest groups within the country, the business community, the youths, women, people with disabilities and various special interest groups.
“The whole country is Mr President’s constituency, so he will have to visit each of the 36 states with appropriate messages, reminding people always. You know, people in the country today , given the challenges of survival, tend to forget where we are coming from; they just look at where we are.
“There is a saying that except you know and remember where you are coming from, you cannot appreciate where you are. Even in the life of a man, those who look at those in their front will never thank God enough but when you look at your back and see those behind, then you will appreciate that you have made a lot of progress.”
The APC national chairman insisted that the ruling party has “to constantly remind Nigerians of what happened in the last 16 years and what has changed over the past three and a half years, and what will change even more over the next four years, if given the mandate to continue and consolidate.”
In his address, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed confidence that the ruling party would win the forthcoming general elections.
According to him, the main objective of the meeting was to serve as the forum for collective decision-making to enhance the effectiveness of the campaign effort.
Buhari appealed to the members of the presidential campaign council to commit themselves to the task at hand.
“There is no doubt that victory is with us: it is ours, but that shouldn’t mean we should rest even for a moment. Even though we are confident of winning, I urge you to work as hard as you can so that we can maximise the scale and extent of our victory.
“I urge you to rise to the challenge of the great expectations this party and Nigerians have for you and the confidence that I personally have in the ability of all of you to deliver,” the president said.
He further explained that the agenda for the meeting was to consider and approve the structure and operational modalities of the Presidential Campaign Council.
On his part, former governor of Akwa Ibom State and chairman of the South South presidential campaign council, Senator Godswill Akpabio, accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of running a campaign of calumny and false accusations against the APC.
Akpabio remarked that unlike the APC which uses its achievements to campaign, the opposition party has nothing to campaign with, hence the resolve to the use of vulgar language.
“APC is very poised not just to undertake very smooth and scintillating and enjoyable campaign but also very poised to win the next election.
“We have very few weeks to the general elections, starting with the presidential election, and we are quite ready. As you are aware, so far so good, we are running on the basis of our first term performance.
“The achievements of Mr. President are all there for people to see and I think the entire country is quite excited, quite unlike our colleagues in the PDP who do not seem to have anything, except to criticize, attempt to run campaign of calumny and false accusations against us in the APC.”
Meanwhile, the APC has said that it was not necessary for everyone on the campaign council to be in attendance at yesterday’s meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa.
The party insisted that matters slated for discussion were to drawn up the timetable and decide on how to distribute their messages to the electorate.
Reacting to stories suggesting that governors who are to serve as coordinators in their various states shunned the meeting, the national publicity secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, clarified that yesterday’s meeting was not the inaugural session as there had been no fewer than three meetings of the council.
Onilu said: “The agenda for the meeting had to do with drawing the timetable and deciding on the messaging. It didn’t require everyone in the council to be present.”
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