‘Fani-Kayode noted that the meeting had put to rest, any controversy on the campaign list’
For the second time in a week, the meeting between the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, governors of the party, members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the disputed Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), yesterday, ended in deadlock.
The meeting, which again, failed to agree on a particular date that the ruling party would flag-off its campaign, however, saw the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, stay away from the deliberation that lasted hours, raising concerns about the state of the party.
The meeting was a follow up to last Wednesday’s tripartite committee meeting aimed at harmonising the party’s presidential campaign council list.
But the spokesperson of PCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), has said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s schedule, being the Chairman of the campaign council, was delaying the flag-off of the campaign.
At the same time, wife of the APC presidential candidate, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, yesterday called on women to mobilise for the victory of the party at next year’ elections.
This is as the Director of New Media of the PCC, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, also yesterday, said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lost its aggrieved five governors, because it was unable to manage tendencies within the party.
The governors being referred to are Nyesome Wike (Rivers), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Recall that the 422-member campaign list initially released, had created discord within the party with the governors, party leadership and stakeholders expressing dissatisfaction.
It was against this background that the campaign activities of the ruling party were put on hold indefinitely to ensure all hands were on deck and everyone carried along.
The meeting, which held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, started a few minutes after 11a.m and ended 2:15 p.m, had in attendance Tinubu, the Campaign Director General and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
The governors at the meeting included Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Dr. Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Bello Matawale (Zamfara), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdulahi Sule (Nasarawa, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Babagana Zullum (Borno) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, spokesperson of the PCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the schedule of President Muhammadu Buhari, being the Chairman of the campaign council, has contributed significantly to the delayed take-off of the campaign.
He said Buhari’s schedule has to be put into consideration before a specific date would be fixed for the commencement of campaign.
Keyamo stated: “You know that the structure of our campaign involves Presidential diary. I have said that our campaign is not going to be like those that they can kick and start like small vehicles. It is maneuvering a 50-ton tanker on a highway and once we hit the highway, it will be in motion and movement.
“Since Mr President is the chairman of the Campaign Council, we are going to take his diary into consideration in picking and choosing the date. However, we have all virtually agreed to hit the street very soon. We have also agreed on the region we are going to kick-start but I won’t say that now. We have also agreed on all the basic issues. We just want to carry along the leader of the party, Mr President and hit the street.”
He however, assured the people that all the organs of the party were united and working in unison towards one purpose, adding also that Tinubu had already presented a draft manifesto to the party.
Keyamo added: “What you have seen here is the meeting of different layers of the party. It was the meeting of the major stakeholders of the party. The progressive governors, the NWC, and the PCC with the presidential candidate. We are a very united party with all the organs of the party working in unison towards one purpose. All we did today during the meeting was to review the draft of our manifesto.
“Our candidate is not the type that operates on his own. He carries everybody along. He presented the draft of the manifesto to all the stakeholders that looked at it. And guess what, almost all the stakeholders gave that draft more than 90 per cent pass mark.”
Tinubu’s wife, Sen Oluremi Tinubu, has called on women to mobilise for the victory of the party at next year’ elections, even as she expressed confidence that Tinubu and Shettima would protect the interests of women as well as safeguard their rights if elected at the polls.
Mrs. Tinubu said the women’s wing of the APC presidential campaign, comprising seasoned politicians, market women, media professionals and others, possessed the ability to bring the party over the finish line in first position at next year’s polls.
“When women are united, wonderful things happen; and I have immense confidence in the ability of the amazing team assembled here today to secure the women’s vote for APC,
“I want to specifically thank the countless women groups who have been up and doing even before Asiwaju’s victory at the primary election was certain. From our market women’s groups to our young women’s groups, to our inter-religious groups to those constituted by current and former female government officials, and other classifications too numerous to mention, I thank you all for your unflinching support and your unshakeable belief in the prospects of a Tinubu/Shettima presidency.
“I urge you all to intensify efforts at mobilising women in your respective domains and prepare to receive us in your states and zones as part of our campaign activities. I urge you to also work with other capable women, who are not here with us today as members of the campaign team, but have the energy, skills, network, resources, and commitment required to mobilise women for the upcoming elections.
“Let us tell our women that the Tinubu/Shettima ticket is the best option for them, because the track records of both men show that they are gender-sensitive and committed to uplifting the Nigerian woman. With these two men at the helm of affairs, Nigerian women can rest assured that their interests will be protected and their rights, safeguarded. Not only that, you can also count on Hajiya Nana Shettima and I as your partners for progress. You can count on us,” she said.
Director of New Media of PCC, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who also spoke to journalist after the meeting, equally described the allegation by the PDP that the APC was trying to stop the use of Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the 2023 elections as ‘nonsense’.
“The answer to that is absolute nonsense. It’s what you call poppycock. And these are the words of a drowning party spoken by a drowning man with a drowning candidate. There is nothing like that. We are above board, we are serious about what we are trying to do, we are going to achieve our objective, we are going to win this election fair and square. And they are the ones that have lost five governors.
“They’re the ones that can’t get their party leaders to come to their rallies at their presidential inauguration. We don’t have that challenge. We are working slowly but surely. As one together, everybody’s coming together. And I’m very proud to be part of this.”
Fani-Kayode noted that the meeting had put to rest, any controversy on the campaign list.