By Deji Elumoye and Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari is prepared for a nationwide campaign that will take him through the length and breadth of Nigeria, the Director, Strategic Communications of Buhari 2019 Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), has said.
This is coming just as some senatorial and House of Representatives candidates yesterday commenced campaign in their various senatorial districts and constituencies while some others will begin theirs later in the week in line with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which fixed November 18 as kickoff of both presidential and National Assembly candidates’ campaign.
Keyamo, who spoke yesterday with THISDAY on telephone, said it was unnecessary to query whether or not the president will embark on a national campaign ahead of the election.
Asked if President Buhari will take his campaign tour throughout Nigeria, Keyamo fumed: “What is that? Will other people not go through the country? Why are you asking if the president will go through the country? He needs to go. He would go. What is wrong with that?”
On what will constitute the thrust of the president’s campaign message, the spokesman said: “The campaign is a two-pronged attack: one, the election campaign will continue to roll out all the achievements of the president under very difficult circumstances.
“We will continue to tell the people that we earned just $111 billion from crude oil in three years whereas in about three years, the previous administration earned about $450billion from crude oil and the results are very clear.
“Yes! It’s fact that we want to show them. It’s not all these rhetoric, because the difference is very clear. With that little amount, we have started the Second Niger Bridge; we are building 25 major roads across the country; we are also providing succour for the very poor and vulnerable, and we have implemented old projects and started new ones too. So, we are doing so much with so little, but the previous administration did so little with so much. That is the difference we will keep telling them.”
Keyamo, however, added that “we want to project into the future and tell Nigerians what we would do in the next four years if they grant us the second term in office, and that is what we will continue to tell Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, some National Assembly candidates have commenced their campaign for election in February 2019.
The Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe South) has commenced his re-election campaign in his senatorial district.
He told THISDAY yesterday that various groups and organisations set up for his re-election bid had swung into action, going round his senatorial district to canvass for votes for him.
He, however, said call to duty as Senate leader “may for now not allow me to be personally present at the campaign ground.”
Lawan said with time, he would strike a deal on how to balance his duties at the Senate with the challenge of campaign for re- election “ but I want to assure you that the campaign has really started and definitely I ‘ll be on ground with my people with time.”
In Lagos State, the All Progressive Congress (APC) yesterday flagged off the campaign for its three senatorial and 24 House of Representatives candidates in Kosofe Local Government Area of the state while Senator Solomon Olamilekan Yayi will on Tuesday kick off his campaign in Lagos West senatorial district at his constituency office in Ikeja with the massing of 20 buses and lorries with campaign materials.
On his part, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) told THISDAY that his campaign would have to wait till December when he hopes to commence his re-election campaign in his senatorial district.
The former Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, who is contesting for the Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency seat in Ondo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), told THISDAY yesterday that his campaign would begin next Wednesday in Ifedore and will be taken to all the wards in the constituency before the polls in February 2019.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content and the APC standard bearer for Lagos West, Senator Yayi, has called on all political parties’ candidates to conduct violence-free and issue-based campaign as parties officially begin electoral campaigns.
Yayi said in a statement yesterday that the issues around the campaigns are clear in the term of Nigerians going back to the ugly past of 16 years that brought “us to almost ruination as a country or continuing the cleaning of the mess of past administrations in the last three and half years with enduring positive developments to propel our country to the next level of human development.”
He said: “As we begin campaign for the 2019 general elections, I call on my supporters and Nigerians to shun violence and violence-inducing utterances. The issues to campaign for candidates are clear enough in terms of antecedents, performance in public offices if any in the past and areas of focus if elected. There is no need to resort to violence for a just cause of service to the people.”