A meeting between the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and the national leadership of the party, led by the national chairman, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, yesterday, failed to reach a compromise on the commencement date for the 2023 elections campaign.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on September 28 lifted the ban on electioneering activities.
The APC meeting, which started about noon and ended at 5:10pm, was aimed at strategising on the campaign activities and timetable of the ruling party. The meeting came nearly two weeks after the party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) released a 422-member campaign list, which plunged the party into crisis.
APC had also initially scheduled a Peace Walk and Prayers on September 28 to officially kick-off campaigns for the 2023 presidential election and other activities, before the campaign was put off indefinitely.
Members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) had frowned on the release of the campaign list without recourse to the leadership of the party. Afterwards, a leaked letter, purportedly written by Adamu to the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, demanded the withdrawal of the 422-member campaign list.
But less than 24 hours later, the party made a quick U-turn, when Adamu, in a statement by APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Felix Morka, denied authoring the letter.
Yesterday’s meeting between the APC governors and the party’s leadership was part of efforts to get everyone on board and also address the grievances of stakeholders.
Addressing journalists after the about five hours closed-door meeting, Adamu assured APC members that the leadership had established a machinery to resolve whatever issues they had.
Adamu stated, “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 its campaign, the national chairman said the party would determine when the campaign would start, adding that they cannot run faster than their shadows.
Adamu added, “Don’t be faster than the… 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 could not make meaningful progress in the 2023 elections without the support of APC governors
He said, “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 cannot make meaningful progress in the affairs of these states, particularly, in an election year that is approaching. We cannot 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.”
Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, described the release of the 422-member campaign list as unfortunate. But Bagudu assured members that the issue 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 said, “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.”
The 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), and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
At the meeting also were former Managing Director of Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, and former national chairman of APC and Deputy Director General of PCC, Adams Oshiomhole.