As APC Flags-off Presidential Campaign Tuesday…
The ruling All Progressives Congress will flag off its campaign on Tuesday in Jos, the Plateau state capital as it continues its quest to convince the electorate to keep fate with the party beyond 2023, Adedayo Akinwale reports
As the political campaigns for the 2023 elections gather momentum, the atmosphere is becoming frenzy with political parties and political actors already throwing jibes at each another; while all sorts of accusations, counter-accusations have taken over the media space, including the social media.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as provided for in Section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 officially lifted the ban on political campaigns on September 28, 2022.
With the Electoral Act of 2022 in effect, this would be the first time the country would be witnessing a five-month long campaign, hence, the slow start of campaign activities as political parties strategize in order not to run out of steam at the crucial stage.
Before the ban on campaign activities was lifted by INEC, the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and some governors elected on the platform of the party had consulted former President Goodluck Jonathan to seek his support ahead of the 2023 elections.
Tinubu was in company of Vice Presidential candidate of APC, Senator Kashim Shettima; Governors of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun; AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara; Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State; Jigawa state Governor, Abubakar Badaru and Plateau state Simon Lalong who is also the Director General of the campaign council when he met with Jonathan.
The former Governor of Lagos state also visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, as well as former Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalam Abubakar.
Initially, the time table and schedule of campaign activities of the APC was put off indefinitely following the controversy that trailed the unveiling of 422 members of the Presidential Campaign Council.
Expectedly, the party was able to navigate the troubled waters and subsequently released another list of the campaign council which was seen to be accepted by all.
After all the grievances and the misgivings by party members were addressed, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the APC, with a pledge to be at the forefront of electing Tinubu as his successor.
He said electing Tinubu would consolidate the achievements of his administration as the presidential candidate has the capacity, visionary leadership and track record to do more.
The President said: “It would be disastrous to allow a situation that will lead to the reversal of the progress our country has made. Let me add that I joyfully accept the position of the chairman of the campaign council we are unveiling today.
“Our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is too well known for his capacity and can-do spirit. He stands tall in his track records as a democrat, a champion of the rule of law, a man at home in every part of our country, and a truly visionary leader. All you need to do is think of Lagos in 1999 and 2022!
”I, therefore, want to assure all party members and supporters of our government that I will be at the forefront of this campaign. This election is even more important than the election of 2015 that brought us into power. The cost of losing the gains our country has made is much more than the need to stop the hemorrhage that led to our coming together nearly nine years ago. I want to charge every member to put in all their efforts during the next four and half months of the campaign to ensure we record a resounding victory in all our elections nationwide. The future of this country is safer in our hands. The President described the APC presidential candidate as ”the Jagaban, my friend, partner, and brother”.
Following the inauguration of the council, campaign activities in the ruling party have been slower than expected. THISDAY checks revealed that the reason for this was because various campaign directorates of the PCC are defending their budget at the moment. It was gathered that as soon as the budget defense is completed, money would be released to the directorates to ease their operations.
According to a source who preferred to remain anonymous, “They will be through with budget matters this new week. As to when money will be released, I don’t know. But I am sure directorates will have resources they need to work before the flag-off.”
All is now set for the APC to flag off its presidential campaign rally in Jos, Plateau state on November 15 ahead of the 2023 elections.
The party had earlier held a town hall meeting with Agro and Commodity groups in Niger state on November 7, while a similar meeting with the miners was held on November 9 in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The ruling party also held another town hall meeting in Calabar, Cross Rivers state on November 12 ahead of the flag off of the campaign on November 15 in Jos. This would be followed by another town hall meeting in Imo on November 17, after which the rally in Delta state would be held on November 19.
Speaking last Thursday at the inauguration of Contact and Mobilisation committee for the North-west region, Tinubu/Shettima PCC, its Director, Hon. Aminu Jaji said the party has devised a campaign strategy that would neutralise the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabi Kwankwaso in the North West region.
According to him, it was time to pay back the presidential candidate of the party and the people of the South west for the way they stood by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019.
Jaji noted that having supported President Buhari in the last seven and half years as President, the North-west must mobilise support and deliver victory for Tinubu/Shettima ticket in the forthcoming poll.
His words: “North-west has one of the most populated states in the country (Kano) which is currently under the APC and looking at the 2015 and 2019 elections results, APC will definitely coast to victory in 2023.
“The best thing that we can do in 2023 is to pay back Tinubu who has supported our son to be President twice. It is time to pay back what the other zones did for our son – a father and a role model, that is President Muhammadu Buhari. How the people from South-west stood their ground, supported him throughout, unconditionally. So, it is time to give some support to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu unconditionally, but with conditions that he is going to make Northern Nigeria, most especially great.”
Jaji, therefore, urged the committee members to work assiduously to achieve victory at all levels for the APC candidates.
On his part, the Director, Directorate of Stakeholder Relations of the PCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has warned that opposition parties and their candidates should not be taken for granted.
The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), while speaking during the inauguration of the 132- member directorate in Abuja said Tinubu was far better than any of the presidential candidates of the opposition political parties.
He said: “Luckily for us, our job is cut out for us. We have the most saleable product in the market today. There is no one candidate out there that is better than our own. Asiwaju Tinubu is an accomplished human being and a thorough bred administrator and maverick politician. He has something to show from his glowing antecedent, he will not learn on the job.
“He also has a wide network of friends and associates everywhere in Nigeria, which makes our job of outreach very much easier. Though this election is literally a walk over for us, we should not leave anything to chance. We should not under-rate our opponents. We should work assiduously to make the margin of winning too wide that the victory will be massive and sweet.”
Ribadu urged members of the Directorate drawn from various fields of human endeavours to work as one family in an atmosphere of cordiality and respect for each other. He explained that to ease the operation of the committee, it has decided to divide the operations of the directorate into North and South, saying this was done to ensure that it work is targeted and thorough.
According to him, “We are also adopting a bottom-up and up-bottom approach simultaneously through the creation of thematic area units and leadership at zonal and state levels. The work will be guided with clear terms of reference to guide our operations and assigned tasks.”