After several failed efforts to achieve truce with the Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike-led group, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, announced plan to inaugurate members of the National Campaign Management Committee (NCMC) and Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) today (Wednesday).
In Wike’s camp are Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde, Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom and Abia state Governor Okezie Ikpeazu(
The PDP, had two weeks ago, appointed Sokoto state Governor and Chairman PDP Governors Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as Director General of its NCMC and Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel as Chairman PCC to lead the 520-member presidential campaign team.
It also appointed former governor of Cross Rivers State, Liyel Imoke as deputy director general (Operations), former PDP National Secretary Professor Adewale Oladipo as deputy director general (Administration), media mogul Chief Raymond Dokpesi as deputy director general (Technical and Systems, while former party’s national chairman, Ekwesilieze Nwodo was appointed deputy director general (Research and Strategy) of the NCMC.
Other appointed leaders of the campaign are Bauchi state Governor Bala Mohammed (Vice Chairman North) and Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde (Vice Chairman South of the PCC).
Last week, after an early hour meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, the Wike-led group pulled out of the Atiku campaign council.
They vowed not to play any role in Atiku’s campaign ahead of the 2023 general elections, until the PDP national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, resigns from office for a southerner to take over.
Those who attended the meeting aside from Wike, Makinde include but not limited to former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose, former governor of Plateau state, Jonah David Jang, former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke, former PDP Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Olabode George and former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Gerry Gana among others.
In a revealing media chat last Friday, Wike had insisted the only way Atiku would get their support is to ease out Ayu.
He also alleged Ayu to have taken a billion naira to influence voting during the [residential convention.
Signs Atiku set to move
In an action suggesting both the PDP and Atiku were ready to move on without Wike and his friends, the presidential candidate’s spokespersons, Senator Dino Melaye and Daniels Bwala appeared on most national television stations lambasting Wike for its “frivolous” stand against the party and their principal.
Also, the inauguration of the party’s 520-member Presidential NCMC and PCC slated for today, Wednesday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja by 11 am further confirmed the party’s readiness to carry on without the Wike group.
PDP National Organising Secretary Umar Bature who said this in a statement, urged all members of the campaign team to attend.
Our campaign‘ll focus on issues – Atiku
Meanwhile, Alhaji Atiku, the PDP presidential candidate, has assured that his campaign will focus on issues that affect Nigerians.
Atiku who stated this Tuesday while addressing supporters at the meeting with PDP leaders and stakeholders of the South East Zone in Enugu, said campaigns and elections were huge, complex and highly demanding undertakings.
The former VP said the South-east was close to his heart because they supported him through thick and thin.
“You are a key contributor to economic activities in this country and a government that wants to revive our economy and provide opportunities for our people must carry the South East along. I am a businessman and I know that businesses need a supporting environment to thrive and when they thrive the country thrives,” Atiku added.
He further stated that “when I was campaigning for the privilege of being your Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming election I outlined five priorities: reunify the country, improve security, fix the economy; restructure the federation; and improve human capital development.”
Atiku expressed confidence that the region would have the most impact on all other aspects of development and quality of life as citizens and as a country.
“Our country is more divided today than it has ever been and it is our responsibility to reunify through equity justice and fairness. That way we can all pull in one direction to develop our country and improve our people’s lives.
“This will require giving every segment of this country a sense of belonging, not just by meeting constitutional requirements on federal character but through government policies, programmes and projects, and our body language and utterances as leaders.
“We need to provide an efficient and effective government that secures the lives and properties of our people. Without security, life itself is meaningless, economic and other legitimate activities become impaired and investors would only flee.
“That is why security will be a top priority for a government that I lead. We will recruit, train and adequately equip and reward more police and other security personnel. We shall devolve policing powers so states that so desire can establish state police to help to secure their states.
“I have been calling for this for several years and we now seem to have reached a national consensus on it. Part of our task is to separate genuine political grievances from mere criminality. Political grievances will be addressed through the political process while criminality will be dealt with through law enforcement.
“However, we will address the root causes of insecurity including the lack of opportunities, collapse of education, climate change and its impact on agriculture and animal husbandry, and lack of modernization of same. We shall modernize our agriculture including animal husbandry to help to reduce the persistent clashes between farmers and nomadic herders which have increasingly become violent.
“Since the late 1960s we have had a faulty federal structure that concentrates too much power and resources at the Centre, thereby turning the federating states into appendages or parastatals of the federal government. A PDP government that I lead will work with the legislatures to restructure our federal system and devolve more powers to the states with corresponding resources.
“That way states will be better able to set their development priorities while the federal government focuses on setting and maintaining standards. A federal system that does not encourage the federating units to compete among themselves in order to be better is a faulty one. This restructuring is not a favour to any section or group of sections of the country. Our country needs it badly in order to survive and thrive.
“Our economy also needs major reforms if it’s to grow and provide jobs and opportunities for our young people. We must involve the private sector more in economic activities and investment, including in the provision of infrastructure. We shall stop fiscal support for non-performing government enterprises and also end the fuel subsidies which have become a cesspool of corruption,” he said.
Atiku, had some two weeks ago, met with PDP South-west leaders and stakeholders in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The visit was to thank them for their support and listen to them regarding the issues specific to their zones both in terms of preparations for the campaigns and also governance after the elections.
Blueprint gathered that Atiku will, in a few days before moving the campaign from one state to the other, hold a similar meeting with South-south, North-central, North-west and North-east PDP leaders and stakeholders.
I’m still with Wike – Ortom
In a related development, Governor Ortom has denied media report that he dumped Wike, his Rivers colleague.
Ortom also said the Benue state chapter does not have any problem with the party, adding “from bottom to top, we‘re good to go as far as our party the PDP is concerned.”
Governor Ortom made this known while addressing the PDP caucus of the Benue North West Senatorial District, popularly known as Zone B, which comprises seven local governments where the governor is contesting for Senate.
Ortom said: “I just came back from London with Wike this morning. We are friend and I still maintain my stand on what I said. I have not moved away from there and I still sympathize with Wike on the injustice meted on him.”
He said “politics is a game of interest and if ones interest is not protected, he has a right to protest and that is what Wike and some of them are doing.”
the governor further maintained the party leadership was not fair to Wike based on activities that took place during and after the convention.
“We have not been able to deploy adequately the internal conflict mechanism to resolve those issues and this is all I have been saying.
“In politics nothing can be late, no matter how difficult it may seem. “If everybody brings down himself to the level to getting others who are aggrieved, we will be better off. We remain committed to PDP and I feel that the right thing should be done to put us together.
“When the BoT came, I told them the truth as far as I am concerned and they took it with passion and also asked me for recommendations which I gave.
“That was done and I hoped that they will do justice to it so that our party will take over power in 2023.”
The governor also announced the decision of the seven local governments of his Senatorial zone to constitute a campaign team for the Senate and integrate it into the main State campaign team which he is chairman with Cletus Tyokaa as Secretary.
APC suspends campaign
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APCPCC) has suspended the kick-off of its campaigns earlier slated for Wednesday (today).
Director-General of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong said this in a statement released to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja.
Lalong said the adjustment of the timetable and schedule of activities was borne out of the need to accommodate growing interests shown by various political tendencies in being part of the campaign council.
He said a new date for the kick-off would be announced soon.
The party had earlier said it will commence campaign Wednesday with a special prayer and a peace walk.
The statement reads: “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 appointments.
“However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the time-table of these activities in order 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 that the party members have for our candidates
“A new date and time-table of events will be announced soon.”
Unity Gathering for Abuja
Also, a youth-based support group for the APC Presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice Presidential candidate Kashim Shettima, under the aegis of City Boy Movement (CBM), has announced its readiness to play host to thousands of young supporters of the former Lagos state governor at its Unity Gathering slated for Wednesday, at the Unity Fountain in FCT.
The group, in partnership with National Coalition Group (NCG), said the event will bring together supporters of the ruling party and so many other supporters of Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima.
A statement by the group’s spokesman Tuesday, Ojomu Taiwo Hassan, said participants were expected to arrive at the venue by 8am for the event that promises to feature symposium, music and comedy.
“It is a first of many, and a demonstration of our excitement and readiness to promote our candidates, Nigeria’s City Boy, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Golden Boy of Zenith, whose transformation of Lagos and unparalleled contributions to Nigeria’s development uniquely qualify him for the presidency.
“Thousands of young Nigerians have already thronged Abuja for the event. It will be loud, symbolic, and indicative of the obvious fact that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will sweep the youth votes in 2023,” the statement said.