Wednesday, 28 September 2022

2023: Atiku, govs land in Abuja, Tinubu, Obi delay campaigns

The Peoples Democratic Party will on Wednesday (today) inaugurate its 2023 Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja, the nation’s capital, as political campaigns officially begin 

in line with the elections timetable stipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the campaign council members are expected to storm the International Conference Centre, Central Area, Abuja, the venue of the PCC inauguration.
The party had said it would go on with its campaign programmes despite the withdrawal of Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and other political heavyweights from the council.
Expected at the ceremony are governors elected on the platform of the party, former presidents and vice-presidents, ex-ministers, serving and erstwhile senators as well as incumbent and former house of representatives members.
The PUNCH gathered that ahead of the inauguration, newly appointed special envoy to the presidential candidate, Dr Bukola Saraki has launched fresh moves to woo the pro-Wike group in a bid to broker peace.
A member of the PDP National Working Committee confided in one of our correspondents that the former Senate President was determined to resolve the crisis in the party.
Citing Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom’s support for the embattled PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, the source stated, “You can see the result already. A governor has decided to give peace a chance in the interest of the party and Nigeria. This is what you get when the right people are given responsibilities.’’
Ortom, a known ally of Wike, suddenly declared support for Ayu a few hours to the inauguration of the council.
While Atiku is preparing a grand inauguration of his presidential campaign which will also include a book launch after the PCC inauguration, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, have postponed the inauguration of their campaign councils.
A statement late Monday night from the Director-General, Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, explained that the activities lined up for the official inauguration of the APC presidential campaign would no longer hold as planned.
He hinged the postponement of activities on the need to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC fold.
The statement was titled, ‘Adjustment of the timetable of activities earmarked to commence campaigns by the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.’
It read, ‘’Recall that we had earlier earmarked a peace walk and prayers for Wednesday, September 28, 2022, to officially kick off our campaigns for the 2023 presidential elections. We had also announced that the members of the campaign council report at the campaign headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointment.
‘’However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the timetable of these activities to ensure everyone is on board before activities officially commence.
‘’Consequently, the activities earlier announced for the 28th of September will no longer hold. As the ruling and most attractive party in Nigeria, we understand the sacrifices and understanding of our teeming members who are more than willing to volunteer themselves for this great task ahead. It also shows the enormous love the party members have for our candidates. A new date and timetable of events will be announced soon.’’
Before the party postponed its campaign activities, there had been reports that the APC flag bearer, Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima had jetted out of the country for London, United Kingdom, on Saturday night.
They were said to have travelled on holiday to prepare properly for the campaign season.
Tinubu’s trip coincided with that of Wike and his loyalists who also travelled to London on Friday.
Relatedly, the LP presidential candidate, Obi, has not constituted his campaign council as he was said to be making consultations across the country.
Confirming this to The PUNCH on Tuesday, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi also disclosed that the party has no plan to host any inauguration.
However, he said the candidate would unveil his policy document on the same day he announces his presidential campaign council.
Arabambi stated, “We are not having any inauguration for now. Our candidate is focusing on sorting out the composition of his presidential campaign council and the nationwide consultation he is conducting.”
When asked if the Labour Party PCC would be ready this week, Arabambi disclosed that he can’t give a definite date.
“I may not give you a definite date until I return to Abuja on Friday but I can assure you that Obi will release his policy document at the same time he announces his presidential campaign council,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party, Tuesday, declared its readiness to commence campaigns in full compliance with electoral guidelines.
In a statement signed by its National Chairman, Julius Abure, the party commended INEC on its position on incumbent political office-holders “who use the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties access to public facilities for campaigns,” an action which the Commission said was illegal and would attract sanctions as spelt out in the Electoral Act, 2022.
The statement read in part, “The position of INEC is germane with the recent attacks on the supporters of Labour Party candidates across the nation particularly in Ebonyi, Enugu, Katsina and Kaduna amongst others.
 “It is a fact that the popularity and influence of Labour Party recently have been astonishing wherein it has witnessed exponential and geometric growth across the states.’’

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