•Adamu: We’ll determine when we will start our campaign
•Bagudu: Release of campaign list unfortunate
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The meeting between the governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National leadership of the party led by Senator Abdulahi Adamu Wednesday failed to reach a compromise on the commencement date for the 2023 election campaign.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on September 28 lifted ban on electioneering.
The meeting which started at about 12 noon Wednesday and ended at about 5:10 p.m was aimed at strategising on the campaign activities and timetable of the ruling party.
Recall that the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) had released a 422-member campaign list which plunged the party into crisis.
The APC had also initially scheduled a Peace Walk and Prayers on September 28, 2022, to officially kick-off campaigns for the 2023 presidential election and other series of activities before it was put off indefinitely.
However, the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party frowned on the release of the campaign list without recourse to the leadership of the party.
This was followed by a leaked letter purportedly written by Adamu to the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, where he demanded that the 422-member campaign list be withdrawn.
But less than 24 hours, the party made a quick U-turn, when Adamu through a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Felix Morka denied authoring the letter.
Wednesday’s meeting between the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and the party leadership was part of the efforts to get everybody on board and also address the grievances of party stakeholders.
Addressing journalists after about five hour closed-door meeting, Adamu assured that the party leadership had established machinery to resolve whatever issues they had.
He said: “We are very very comfortable, we have established machinery for resolving anything. We are together with the governors forum and NWC. I believe this meeting we had is more than useful to us. For us nothing short of victory and that is the spirit of this meeting.”
Asked when the ruling party would commence it campaign, he said the party would determine when the campaign will start, adding that they can’t run faster than their shadow.
He added: “…The fact of the matter is, we as a party, as APC, we will determine when we will do what as long as it is within the framework of INEC’s guidelines.”
Earlier, Adamu noted that the party cannot make meaningful progress in the 2023 elections without the support of APC governors
His words: “Essentially we want to interact with our governors who are the custodians of the fate of APC in their various states that they are privileged by God to lead at this point in time of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation.
“Being the Chief Executive Officers of their various states; the onus of our great party lies in the hands of God and in their hands, because they are the commanders of the party’s fortunes in their various states.
“We can not make meaningful progress in the affairs of these states, particularly in an election year that is approaching. We can not plan without the buy-in of our governors so that we can stand together, believing that we share the same aspirations. We will plan together to see how best we can deliver the interest of the party and ensure that victory is ours in 2023 general election that is by the corner.”
On his part, the Chairman of PGF and the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, described the release of the 422-member campaign list as unfortunate, but assured that it would be sorted out.
He stressed that the governors’ visit to the secretariat was to strategise and discuss the campaign.
Asked if the governors were comfortable with the campaign list, Bagudu added: “Governors are very proud of our party, we are very proud of our party leader, President Muhamadu Buhari, we are very proud of the conventions that produced both our national chairman and our presidential candidate in person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the vice presidential candidate in the person of Kashim Shettima, we are very proud of the actions of the national chairman and the NWC, we are very proud of the actions of the presidential campaign council.
“We are happy that we are discussing even though there were lists that were unfortunate that the campaign (council list) which the party would have announced…a mistake, but I am happy that the party is solidly behind our candidate and our party and whatever lists that have come out erroneously, we believe it will be sorted out.”
Governors at the meeting were: Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abdulahi Sule (Nasarawa), Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Sani Bello (Niger), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi(.
Also in attendance were, former Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala, former Chairman of the party and the Deputy Director General of PCC, Adams Oshiomhole, among others.