Home Politics APC CAMPAIGN: Buhari to Determine when the Party Campaign will Flag-Off

APC CAMPAIGN: Buhari to Determine when the Party Campaign will Flag-Off

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*Adamu is absent as Tinubu, NWC, party governors, PCC harmonize list, manifesto

*Remi Tinubu begs women to mobilize for APC

After weeks of dilly-dallying about the formal kick-off of its presidential campaign, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has now said President Muhammadu Buhari will determine the commencement of the exercise.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) who doubles as the official spokesman of the campaign council, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, shortly after a meeting of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee, NWC, governors of the party and the PCC itself.

The meeting, which was held at Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, started a few minutes after 11a.m and ended at 2:15 pm.

It had in attendance Tinubu, campaign Director-General and governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and APC running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.

Governors at the meeting were Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Umara Zulum (Borno), David Umahi (Ebonyi) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).

According to Keyamo, all parties at the meeting agreed on the composition of the PCC, the manifesto and other programmes.

Keyamo said APC is not competing with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on the timeline for campaigns, saying the party will allow the “little boys’’ to continue, while the ‘’big boys’’ will be coming behind.

He said: “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 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 percent pass mark.

“We can’t give you the content because we are not going to take it away from our candidate. He is going to present himself before Nigerians on a particular date and occasion.

“We have set up a small committee charged with the responsibility of reducing the manifesto documents to major highlights in message form we will sell to even the market women, street traders in the most simple language.

“We don’t want to present to Nigerians a very complicated document that they cannot understand in simple terms.”

Campaign kick-off

On the specific date for the resumption of campaigns, Keyamo said the president’s itinerary will determine that.

“You know that the structure of our campaign involves a 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 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 streets 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 streets.

“We have accommodated all the interest groups in the campaign list. There was virtually no disagreement in the meeting today,” Keyamo added.

No pressure on INEC to bend rules

He also dismissed allegations by the Conference of United Political Parties, CUPP, that the APC was putting pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to bend the rules to its advantage.

He said: “The accusation from the CUPP is absolute nonsense. There has been absolutely no occasion where the APC, either through NWC or any level of leadership put any kind of pressure on INEC.

“Those sensing defeat are already looking for reasons for that defeat. It is one of the reasons they are trying to generate things to accommodate that defeat but they should know that their defeat is imminent.”

Why was Adamu absent?

APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Felix Morka defended the absence of the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, saying he was fully represented.

He said: “The National Chairman was not missing, he was adequately represented by the Deputy National Chairman, North and the Deputy National Chairman, South and he was in touch with every stakeholder who was here.

“He did inform them (the candidate) of his inability to be here, but he was effectively represented.”

On campaign funding, Morka said all the stakeholders will deliberate on it “in due course.”

Agreement reached on PCC membership

Head of the New Media Directorate at the APC Presidential Campaign Council PCC, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, also said the stakeholders have agreed on the list of members of the council.

“This meeting we just had has more or less clarified everything. That is why the Publicity Secretary of the party is here, that is why all the four media directorates in the PCC were represented.

“Everybody was there, the governors, the PCC, we are all speaking as one, we all agreed on everything.

“We are working towards an objective which is to launch as soon as possible and to come out strongly and there is really no hurry about this as far as we are concerned.”

On allegations that APC was trying to force INEC to stop the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS, Fani-Kaypde said: “The answer to that is absolute nonsense.

“It is 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 are the ones that cannot 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 is coming together and I am very proud to be part of this.”

Tinubu’s wife begs women.

Meanwhile, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the APC presidential candidate and the lawmaker representing Lagos Central in the Senate, has called on women to mobilize for the electoral victory of the party at next year’s presidential elections.

This was as she expressed confidence that the duo of her husband and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, will protect the interests of women and safeguard their rights if elected. She made the remarks in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja.

The women’s campaign team had earlier been inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.In her address, Tinubu commended the President and the leadership of the party for being “gender-sensitive and placing premium value on the women folk.”

She also expressed confidence that the women’s wing of the APC presidential campaign, comprising of seasoned politicians, market women, media professionals, and others, possess 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,” she said.

She also thanked the diverse women groups within the party for their support of Tinubu’s presidential campaign.

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