For the second time in a week, the meeting between the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, governors of the party, members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the disputed Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), yesterday, ended in deadlock.
The meeting, which again, failed to agree on a particular date that the ruling party would flag-off its campaign, however, saw the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, stay away from the deliberation that lasted hours, raising concerns about the state of the party.
The meeting was a follow up to last Wednesday’s tripartite committee meeting aimed at harmonising the party’s presidential campaign council list.
But the spokesperson of PCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), has said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s schedule, being the Chairman of the campaign council, was delaying the flag-off of the campaign.
When the 422-member campaign list was initially released, it had created discord within the party with the governors, party leadership and stakeholders expressing dissatisfaction.
It was against this background that the campaign activities of the ruling party were put on hold indefinitely to ensure all hands were on deck and everyone carried along.
The meeting, which held at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja, started a few minutes after 11a.m and ended 2:15 p.m, had in attendance Tinubu, the Campaign Director General and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
The governors at the meeting included Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Dr. Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Bello Matawale (Zamfara), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdulahi Sule (Nasarawa, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Babagana Zullum (Borno) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, spokesperson of the PCC, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the schedule of President Muhammadu Buhari, being the Chairman of the campaign council, has contributed significantly to the delayed take-off of the campaign.
He said Buhari’s schedule has to be put into consideration before a specific date would be fixed for the commencement of campaign.
Keyamo stated: “You know that the structure of our campaign involves 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 in 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 street 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 street.”
He however, assured the people that all the organs of the party were united and working in unison towards one purpose, adding also that Tinubu had already presented a draft manifesto to the party.
Keyamo added: “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 to 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 per cent pass mark.”
Asked to give details of the manifesto, Keyamo noted: “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,” he added, stressing that they had accommodated all the interest groups in the campaign list, and there was virtually no disagreement at the meeting.
First published in ThISDAY