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The leadership of Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council on Saturday defended the omission of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, from its 422-man list, saying the decision was taken on the directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The development is coming hours after the comprehensive list of campaign council members was unveiled after weeks of anxiety and serial postponements.
Political observers were, however, quick to observe that despite comprising names of party dignitaries including APC governors, ministers, lawmakers, ambassadors as well as serving and past public office holders, several notable names of members and former aspirants were omitted.
Aside from Osinbajo and Mustapha, other missing names included 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; Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu and one of Tinubu’s sweat merchant, Adebayo Shittu, who heads one of his biggest support groups — Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance.
But Chief Spokesperson of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, issued a statement on Saturday explaining the absence of Osinbajo and Mustapha from the list.
According to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Buhari gave a directive for both parties to be dropped to avoid abandoning governance for electioneering campaigns.
The statement read, “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 (APC) as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Professor 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.
“Our candidates and the leadership of the APC have also indicated that the list is not sacrosanct as there may be periodic review of it as circumstances dictate.
“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.