Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have blamed the presidential campaign council (PCC) for the internal wrangling delaying the flag-off of the party’s campaign ahead of the 2023 general election.
LEADERSHIP gathered that at a meeting with the national leadership of the party and members of the campaign council, the APC governors maintained that the composition of the campaign council and the release of the list of the campaign team is the duty of leadership of the party and not the secretariat of the campaign council.
“The governors agreed with the national working committee (NWC) that the list of members of the campaign council was erroneously prepared because it is the leadership of the party that has the responsibility to do so and not a campaign council that has not been constituted officially.
“Their position is true; a campaign council that has not been inaugurated to kick operations cannot be seen to constitute itself, not to talk of releasing its list. I think that is where we are and I can assure you that everything would be put in place very soon,” a party chieftain at the meeting who did not want his name in print told LEADERSHIP.
The meeting which started at about 12:13pm and ended at exactly 5:11 pm was convened to resolve the disagreement that that trailed the release of the 422-member campaign lists by secretary of the campaign team, Hon James Faleke penultimate Friday.
The list was however rejected by governors under the party’s platform on grounds that the presidential candidate and the party ignored their nominations and replaced them with others from their respective states.
The NWC of the party had rejected the list, saying it was not consulted before constituting the campaign team.
The presidential campaign council issued a statement clarifying that the list released was a partial one, adding that more names would be added on the list of members of the campaign team.
In a swift reaction to the protest that trailed the list, the director, Media and Publicity, of the campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement on Monday, called for calm, stating that nominees of the aggrieved governors and other party members would be included in the list.
After announcing that it would commence the 2023 campaigns on Wednesday September 28, 2022, with special prayers and a road show, the campaign council later issued another statement saying it had suspended the campaign kick-off indefinitely.
The director general of the campaign council and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said the decision to postpone the kick-off of the campaign is aimed at accommodating more members of the party.
Lalong assured that a new date and timetable for the formal take-off of the campaign will be announced soon.
Confirming the position of the governors at the meeting yesterday, chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, told journalists after the meeting at the APC national secretariat described the release of the 422-member campaign list as unfortunate.
Noting that it was not the duty of the campaign council secretariat to release the list of members, the Kebbi governor said discussions are ongoing, adding that the matter would be resolved soon.
He said the governors’ visit to the secretariat was to strategise and discuss the campaign.
Asked if the governors were comfortable with the campaign list, the governor said, “Governors are very proud of our party, we are very proud of our party leader, President Muhamadu Buhari, we are very proud of the conventions that produced both our national chairman and our presidential candidate in person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the vice presidential candidate in the person of Kashim Shettima, we are very proud of the actions of the national chairman and the NWC, we are very proud of the actions of the presidential campaign council.
“We are happy that we are discussing even though there were lists that were unfortunate that the campaign (council announced), which the party would have announced…a mistake, but I am happy that the party is solidly behind our candidate and our party and whatever lists that have come out erroneously, we believe it will be sorted out.”
On his part, the APC national chairman, Adamu, said the party leadership has established machinery to resolve whatever issues they had.
He said: “We are very very comfortable, we have established machinery for resolving anything. We are together with the governors’ forum and NWC. I believe this meeting we had is more than useful to us. For us nothing short of victory and that is the spirit of this meeting.”
On when the party would commence its campaign, he said the party would determine when the campaign would start, noting however that they can’t run faster than their shadow.
He said, “The fact of the matter is, we as a party, will determine when we will do what as long as it is within the framework of INEC’s guidelines.”
At the start of the meeting, Adamu had noted that the party cannot make meaningful progress in the 2023 elections without the support of APC governors.
He said, “Essentially we want to interact with our governors who are the custodians of the fate of APC in their various states that they are privileged by God to lead at this point in time of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation.
“Being the Chief Executive Officers of their various states; the onus of our great party lies in the hands of God and in their hands, because they are the commanders of the party’s fortunes in their various states.
“We cannot make meaningful progress in the affairs of these states, particularly in an election year that is approaching. We cannot plan without the buy-in of our governors so that we can stand together, believing that we share the same aspirations. We will plan together to see how best we can deliver the interest of the party and ensure that victory is ours in the 2023 general election that is by the corner.”
Also speaking during the meeting, the director general of the APC presidential campaign council and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said Adamu called for the meeting to discuss issues related to the progress of the party.
APC governors who attended the meeting include Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abdulahi Sule (Nasarawa), Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Sani Bello (Niger), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
Also in attendance were former managing director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala, former chairman of the party and the Deputy Director General of PCC, Adams Oshiomhole, among others.
I am Not Aware Of Tinubu’s Whereabouts – Keyamo
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the APC campaign council and minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), yesterday said he has no information about the present location of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Speaking last night during a programme, Politics Today, on Channels Tv, dismissed speculations that the former Lagos State governor travelled out of the country to seek medical assistance.
According to him, only mischief makers are gravely concerned about Tinubu’s whereabouts.
The minister wondered why Tinubu’s trip to London is generating controversy when nobody raised issues when the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, travelled to Dubai.
He said, “Our candidate is not in the country currently and I don’t have any information on where he is. I know he will be back in a couple of days but I don’t know the particular day.
“He is also not on a medical trip; I don’t have such information. It is not true that we have not started campaigns because the candidate is sick and is not around.”
On the recent video of Tinubu riding a bicycle at the gym posted on social media, Keyamo denied that it was posted to prove a point.
He said, “As far as I am concerned it was done in real-time and posted on his Twitter handle. It is not to prove that he is alive, we are not trying to prove anything to anybody. Our candidate is not struggling to prove himself to anybody. People who are close to him know that he is an avid cyclist, he does that all the time, and it is his regular routine.
“I think what we want to prove this period is to correct mischievous enquires by mischief makers. We want to prove that the tail doesn’t wag the dog; it is the dog that wags its tail.
“It is not every time you ask mischievous questions. We would be struggling to prove ourselves. We are not dancing to the tune of the opposition. We have our tune and music and we would do with it whatsoever we like. We are not going to be reacting all the time to what the opposition is doing with mischief.
“We are all aware that the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, travels to Dubai all the time, I don’t see any media intensity on what he is doing in Dubai. Whenever he travels, nobody remembers him until he comes back a week or two later. They know he is the candidate to beat and so the search light is on him and we are proud of that.”