At Enugu, Tinubu Pledges to Restore Coal Mining, Revive Economy

•Party leaders in state boycott rally, blame Imo governor for crisis 

•APC-PCC releases revised campaign calendar

Gideon Arinze in Enugu

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, yesterday pledged that his administration would revive the abandoned mining of coal in Enugu State to boost the state’s economy if elected as president.

Tinubu made the promise yesterday in Enugu, during the party’s presidential rally which was held at Okpara Square.

The APC candidate also used the opportunity to campaign for other candidates of the party, including the governorship candidate in the state, Uche Nnaji.

However, leaders of the party in the state, including Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama; former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, former Enugu Governor, Sullivan Chime; former Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odoh; former Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani; the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the immediate past chairman of the party in the state, Ben Nwoye and a presidential aide, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku boycotted the party’s presidential campaign rally.

Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima was also absent at the rally.

After the leaders received Tinubu at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, they diverted to Chime’s Enugu residence, where they addressed journalists to send a clear signal to the national leadership of the APC that something urgently needed to be done over the crisis rocking the Enugu State chapter of the party.

The leaders blamed Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma for allegedly hijacking the APC structure in Enugu State, thereby disorganising the party.

They said t they were not privy to all the preparations and programmes for the rally.

However, they described Tinubu as a good candidate, assuring that they would work for his victory in the presidential election.

In his address, Chime said: “We received our presidential candidate at the airport. We believe in him, he is the best. “However, we were not at Okpara Square because of the internal issues we have in Enugu within the party. It has been there and this is because sometime in October, 2021, a non-member was foisted on us after the botched state party congress as a so-called chairman.”

Speaking further, he said: “The party leaders went to Abuja, complained but nobody took them seriously, the issues continued. So, we have to distance ourselves from the local chapter of the party.”

“After today, we expect that the party will do the right thing.”

He said the leaders would ensure that Tinubu gets more than the required 25 per cent in Enugu, adding that the major thing was the election and not the rally.

Meanwhile at the rally, Tinubu advised supporters of the party in Enugu State to ensure that they collect their PVCs and vote for the party in February.

“Enugu State will become an industrial hub because the state has vast mineral resources that can propel economic recovery,” he said.

He said unlike the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which held power since 1999 and couldn’t do anything for Nigerians, the APC has shown how committed it is to the welfare of Nigerians, especially in terms of infrastructural development.

“It is the APC administration that completed the Second Niger Bridge which the PDP started and abandoned for years,” he said, adding that his administration was coming to sweep away every bad leadership.

Earlier in their separate remarks, the governors of Imo and Ebonyi States,  Hope Uzodimma and Dave Umahi said Tinubu would emerge victorious as he has a proven track record of accomplishments.

Also, yesterday, the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) released the revised campaign calendar of the party’s presidential candidate ahead of the February 25th elections.

The review came after a crucial and strategic meeting among the presidential flag bearer, Tinubu, Shetimma, members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and the Campaign Council in Abuja on Monday night in Abuja.

A copy of the revised timetable showed that President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to attend rallies in Kwara State on January 17; Bauchi on January 23 while he would lead the South-west zone campaign to Ogun State on January 25th.

The Sokoto campaign earlier slated for January 16 would hold on January 29, and while the South-South mega rally was expected to hold in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on the January 30th.

The president would grace the rally in Lafia, Nasarawa State on February 4, while he would play the chief host on the 6th in Kastina State. He is billed to storm Owerri, Imo State on February 14.

According to the schedule, the president would also attend the grand finale rally of the campaign on February 18 in Lagos.

By the revised timetable, Tinubu was slated to have an interactive session with the NESG on January 13, and engage all APC state chairmen, governorship and National Assembly candidates the next day.

The campaign train would on January 19, hit Calabar while Taraba State would play host to the campaign team on 20th in Jigawa State and move on the 21st to Abia State; Benue (24th); Benue and Zamfara States are hosting on the 26th and 28th respectively while the campaign council round up the month in Anambra on the 31st of January.

The vice presidential candidate of the party was billed for the launch of tractors for the All Farmers Progressive Association in Abuja on 27th January. Kebbi would play host to the campaign team on the 1st of February while Ekiti and Osun would take their turn on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

Rallies in Oyo, Kogi and Rivers States are scheduled for the 7th, 8th and 9th of February and the train will move to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on the 11th of February.

Gombe, Borno and Kano States rallies are billed for the 13th, 15th and 16th of February respectively while the Osun State rally will hold on February 18, it was earlier fixed for January 18.

The presidential candidate would engage in a town hall meeting with health professionals in Nigeria in Abuja on the 10th of February and a strategic engagement with South-west leaders in Lagos on February 17.

A mega rally was planned to round off the campaign on February 18 in Lagos, while the 21st to 24th of February was earmarked for election planning ahead of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly election.

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