IN spite of the facade of unity it has presented to the public and assurance to put the war of attrition that trailed the presidential convention behind it, all is still not well among the power blocs in the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Indication of a major rift in the party emerged at the weekend, following the release of names of members that will constitute the presidential campaign team and immediate disavowal of the list by some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
A member of the NWC, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while disowning the list, said the fact that it was the Presidential Campaign Council and not the party’s leadership that released it showed that something was wrong.
But another member of the NWC dimissed the claim that there were issues there was no issue between NWC members and their presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the 442 Campaign Council team.
National Vice Chairman, South West of the Party, Isaac Kekemeke said this in a telephone interview with Sunday Tribune, amidst claim that the Tinubu Campaign Organisation did not consult the Adamu-led NWC before releasing the list to the public. Kekemeke said there was no rancour between the national working committee and the APC presidential candidate. He said:” There is no crisis; it is mere speculation. If the NWC has strong reservations, the national chairman would have conveyed that position.
“Our party is intact and there is no competition between the party and the presidential candidate. We are on same page. Yes, some individuals may feel disenchanted, that’s normal. But there is no rejection of the Campaign Council List by the NWC.”
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In the list of 422-Member APC Presidential Campaign Council released at the weekend in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari is listed as Chairman of the Campaign Council that has the party presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and national chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu as deputy chairman, 1&2, respectively.
But Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo’s name, a presidential aspirant at the June convention where Tinubu emerged as standard-bearer, was missing on the list.
Aside the vice- president, two term Rivers State governor and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who came second at the presidential convention, was given the role of Adviser, Infrastructure.
Amaechi was the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2019 general election that ushered in Buhari for a second term in office. Although, the former Minister of Transportation, according to sources in his camp, is said not to be bothered by the apparently slight, one of his aides who spoke with Sunday Tribune in confidence, said their camp is indifferent to the power game in the APC.
“We don’t know how they arrived at those they considered as assets to the campaign. But we are not bothered. We will watch development from the sidelines. It is their campaign, let them run it,” he told Sunday Tribune.
Also included in the list is a certain chief Don Etiebet. It is not known if it was the same popular Etiebet who died in July, 2015. Two-term Akwa- Ibom State governor and former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, who was the first to announce his withdrawal from the race at Eagles Square, venue of the convention, emerged as Vice Chairman, South South in the team that has national vice chairman, SouthSouth, Victor Giadom, ( an Amaechi’s ally) as deputy zonal coordinator, while Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate president, will coordinate campaign in Delta State.
In same vein, another presidential aspirant and incumbent Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was designated, Senior Adviser, Strategic Planning. Former Ogun State governor and another presidential aspirant, who later stepped down for Tinubu at the convention ground, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has been assigned the responsibility as Adviser, Contact and Mobilisation. Former Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu, who also contested the presidential ticket will join the campaign train as one of the Campaign Patrons.
Checks revealed that serving governors will take charge as coordinators of the campaign in their respective states, while in the states where opposition parties are in control, APC governorship candidates will assume the role of state coordinators.
With the arrangement, members of the APC NWC, who had initially raised their voices against perceived marginalisation in the campaign team, will now queue behind their governors as deputy coordinators and regional coordinators.
With the development, Deputy National Chairman, ( North) of the party, Senator Abubakar Kyari, will serve as Deputy Regional Coordinator (North) in the 442-member team, while Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru is the Regional Coordinator (North). National Vice Chairman, (South) Emma Eneukwu, will serve as Deputy to Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, who is the Regional Coordinator (South). Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu is the Regional Coordinator, South-West while Isaac Kekemeke, national vice chairman, South-West will serve as his deputy.
Salihu Lukman, the national vice chairman, North-West, will act as Deputy to Zamfara State governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, who is listed as Regional Coordinator for North-West. Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade, will oversee the South-South geopolitical zone as Zonal Coordinator, while Victor Giadom, national vice chairman, South-South, is the Deputy Zonal Coordinator, for the region.
National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore is the Adviser, Party Affairs. House of Representatives member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, James Faleke who incidentally is the Secretary of the APC PCC, in a statement, disclosed that “All nominees are kindly advised to pick their appointment letters from the undersigned on Monday, 26th September, 2022 at 12noon.
“The venue is Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council on Plot 781, Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Area Abuja. All other members will be contacted by the leaders of their respective directorates.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, who doubles as the spokesperson of the APCPC, has however justified the exclusion of Osinbajo in the campaign team. Keyamo, in a statement at the weekend, said President Buhari specifically gave the directive that Professor Osinbajo and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, should not be included in order not to undermine the governance of the country and administration of government.
His statement entitled, “Absence of Vice– President, Yemi Osinbajo from Campaign Council List, No Cause for Alarm,” read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to some stories [doing] the rounds that there may be something amiss within the family of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is not included in the list of the Tinubu/ Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.
“Nothing can be farther from the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari , GCFR, is the Chairman of the Campaign Council. As a result, Mr. President has specifically directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of Government.
“As a responsible party and Government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns. The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May, 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.
“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us and our Party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country, but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs.”