Bola Tinubu

APC, Tinubu begin campaigns Wednesday, assemble 422-member team

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The All Progressives Congress will on Wednesday kick off its presidential campaign nationwide in line with the directive of the Independent National Electoral Commission that campaigns should start on September 28.

SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the APC Presidential Campaign Council would begin its electioneering with a solidarity march from the PCC office on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District, Abuja, to the Unity Fountain, Maitama.

It was also gathered that necessary logistics had been put in place to ensure that the campaigns take off simultaneously in different regions of the country.

To drive its strategy for electoral victory in the 2023 presidential poll, the APC and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Friday unveiled a 422-man committee comprising political heavyweights and other notable members to pilot the various sub-committees of the campaign council.

The list of members released by the Presidential Campaign Council Secretary, James Faleke, in Abuja, followed series of postponements and conjectures about those who would be saddled with the task of leading the ruling party’s bid to retain power at the federal level.

The campaign council chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has Tinubu and the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, as co-deputy chairmen.

Also on the PCC are APC governors, ministers, lawmakers, ambassadors as well as serving and past public office holders.

Zonal and state coordinators, advisers, campaign patrons, directors, deputy directors and secretaries of directorates were also named.

The sub-committees include media and publicity; support group coordination; national youth mobilisation; parliamentarian; trade and economic; agriculturists/commodities; campaign planning; civil societies; Diaspora directorate; election planning and monitoring; finance; fund raising; and humanitarian/social.

Others are ICT/data management; intelligence and security; labour; logistics and support service; medicals; policy research and strategy; protocol and events, and others.

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, retained his position as the director-general and Adams Oshiomhole as the deputy director-general (Operations), while Bayo Onanuga is the Director of Media and Publicity.

Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum was appointed the vice-chairman and state coordinator, while ex-Akwa Ibom State governor, Godwill Akpabio, is the vice-chairman, South-South.

A former female APC presidential aspirant, Uju Kennedy, is the council’s vice-chairman, South-East.

Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State is the regional coordinator and chairman for North, while his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, was appointed the regional coordinator for the South-East and Ebonyi State.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River was also appointed the regional director in charge of the South-South and his state.

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is the zonal coordinator for the South-West and his state, while his Niger State counterpart, Abubakar Bello, will coordinate the North-Central and his state.

Also on the list are Governor Muhammed Yahaya, who is the zonal coordinator for the North-East and Gombe State, and Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, who emerged as the zonal coordinator for the North-West and the state.

No fewer than 24 actors are on the performing arts directorate and they include notable Nollywood stars such as Zack Orji, Jide Kosoko, Saheed Balogun, Foluke Daramola, Nuhu Abdullahi, Bimbo Akintola and Fatiha Balogun, among others.

Faleke’s statement read in part, “We are pleased to announce the nominees of the leadership of the APC Presidential Campaign Council as per enclosed. All nominees are kindly advised to pick their appointment letters from the undersigned on Monday, September 26, 2022 at 12noon.

“The venue is the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council on Plot 781 Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Area, Abuja. All other members will be contacted by the leaders of their respective directorates.”

However, the names of many party stalwarts were conspicuously missing from the campaign council, some of whom have flayed Tinubu over his preference for the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The absentees include Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Osita Okechukwu; and one of Tinubu’s loyalists, Adebayo Shittu, who heads one of his biggest support groups, the Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance.

While Osinbajo appeared to have distanced itself from the former Lagos governor after his emergence as winner of the APC presidential ticket, the duo of Dogara and Lawal has consistently criticised Tinubu’s choice of ex-Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as his running mate.

Dogara had stated on Tuesday that the Muslim-Muslim ticket was a fruitless political effort that was “doomed to end in spectacular failure.”

The ex-Speaker made the statement in a keynote address at a summit tagged, ‘Meet the Church’, organised by the Nigeria National Christian Coalition.

Lawal, on the other hand, vowed that the introduction of the same-faith ticket by the APC was a deliberate plan to further create divisions in the North.

The disgruntled former SGF, who spoke during an interview on Arise Television, declared that he was working with about 40 Christian leaders in the North to ensure that the contentious APC ticket fails.

Despite defending his principal stoutly on all fronts, including live political television programmes, the reason for Shittu’s exclusion remains largely unknown.

However, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that loyalists of the APC national leader had always seen the former Minister of Communications as an outsider.

Shittu was a member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, one of the political platforms that formed the APC.

Shittu in a recent interview said, “Why I think people often regard me as an outsider is probably because I was never a member of Alliance for Democracy and the Action Congress or Action Congress of Nigeria. Besides, it has not been on record that I have a fight with Tinubu, even though critics who are jealous of my current achievements in the struggle to ensure success for him, out of pettiness and rivalry, have been trying to paint me black and blackmail me with the same slogan of I am one of Tinubu’s enemies.

“But I am happy and proud to say that Tinubu, as an experienced politician who knows his onions, has always maintained that Shittu is not an enemy. The fact that we never worked together in the past does not translate to me being an enemy. In any case, he is also somebody who appreciates what I have been doing.”

The inclusion of former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi; and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, came as a surprise.

While Amaechi had subtly accused Tinubu of financially inducing delegates for votes during the presidential convention, Aregbesola was believed to have worked for the victory of the governor-elect of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, of the Peoples Democratic Party at the expense of the incumbent and fellow party member, Adegboyega Oyetola.

Explaining the non-inclusion of Osinbajo, the spokesman for the campaign council, Festus Keyamo, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), requested that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, should not be part of the campaign council so that they could focus on governance.

Keyamo said in statement on Saturday, “Our attention has been drawn to some stories making the rounds that there may be something amiss within the family of the All Progressives Congress as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is not included in the list of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council. Nothing can be farther from the facts.

“For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari , GCFR, is the chairman of the campaign council. As a result, Mr President has specifically directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, should be left out of the campaign council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of government.

“As a responsible party and government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns. The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.

“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us and our party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country, but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs.”

Hours after the ruling party unveiled the presidential campaign council members, the Director, Support Groups Coordination (North-West), Baffa Dan’Agundi, said the organisation would run issue-based campaigns devoid of hate speech.

Speaking to journalists in Kano on Saturday, Dan’Agundi, who is the Managing Director, Kano Road Traffic Management Agency, said the APC presidential candidate had what it takes to tackle issues of insecurity and unemployment, among others.

The former majority leader of the Kano State House of Assembly contended that Tinubu had a good track record and pedigree, noting that the campaign council would showcase the stuff the candidate was made of.

He stated, “We will focus on issue-based campaigns because we have more than 1,001 things to show about our candidate and what he has done, because he has a track record and pedigree.

“So, I advise our followers to focus on these instead of joining baseless issues with others, who write some sort of irresponsible things.

“One of the most important issues is security. Lagos has been secure since the time of Bola Tinubu. The only time we heard about a problem was during #EndSARs and then it was a nationwide issue. The foundation he laid on security is what is being enjoyed in the state.

“When you take this (security), this is our major problem in the country and Tinubu has laid that kind of foundation in his state. We believe that he will reciprocate the same in the country.”


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