The All Progressives Congress, APC, is prepared based on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements to win the general elections slated for February 16 and March 2, this year in the country.
The former Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who spoke with journalists after the APC’s meeting Thursday in Abuja, said “I will say that APC is very poised not just to undertake very smooth and scintillating and enjoyable campaign but also very poised to win the next election.”
Akpabio who is the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State, noted, “As you are aware, so far so good, we are running on the basis of our first term performance.”
He stated that Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, his former party, had nothing except criticism to campaign with.
“The achievements of Mr. President are all there for people to see and I think the entire country is quite excited quite unlike our colleagues in the PDP who do not seem to have anything except to criticize, attempt to run campaigns of calumny and false accusations against us in the APC.
“Thursday we are meeting to re-strategise and conclude, dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s in the campaign structure so that we can come out with not just a formidable campaigns across the country but also sensitive our people in terms of voters’ education; we are ready for it,” the Seantor added.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari was Thursday locked in a strategy meeting with his Presidential Campaign Council.
The absence of all 24 All Progressives Congress, APC, governors at the meeting, however, prompted mutterings of disharmony in the campaign.
The claims of muttering arose from President Buhari’s charge on the electorate not to re-elect any governor found to be owing salaries during the inauguration of the council last Monday.
That claim was, however, rebuffed by several APC operatives, including the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Rochas Okorocha, chairman of the APC Governors Forum, APC national publicity secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu and APC presidential campaign spokesman, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN.
Thursday’s meeting of the APC presidential campaign council was graced by Buhari, the co-chairman, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, director-general, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and other officials of the council.
The meeting was called to strategise on operations for the APC presidential rallies flagging off tomorrow in Bauchi.
Speaking at the meeting yesterday, President Buhari charged those who were present to uphold the virtues of the party as he said that there was no political challenge that they cannot conquer.
“You are the cream of the party, and I assure you that with unity of purpose and effective harmony and communication, there is no political opponent you cannot overcome,” he said before the meeting went into closed doors.
A senior campaign official present at the meeting told Vanguard Thursday that Buhari would attend the rallies in all 36 states beginning with the one in Bauchi Friday.
However, particularly missing at the meeting were all 24 governors of the party who are members of the council and at the same time state coordinators of the Buhari campaign.
The absence of the governors immediately led to claims of disharmony in the campaign with suggestions that the governors may have been offended by Buhari’s assertion on Monday that voters should not re-elect governors owing workers’ salaries.
Speaking in an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America aired on Tuesday, the president had said:
“I wonder how these governors are able to sleep knowing that they have refused to pay workers their wages.
“These workers have families to cater for, they pay rent, pay school fees, Hospital bills and food for their families.”
However, that insinuation was pooh-poohed Thursday by the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who said the governors stayed back in their states to attend to governance issues.
“Don’t forget that elections are not defined in Abuja, it will take place in the 36 states, and I am sure there are APC members who are campaigning for the House of Assembly, various federal house and senate constituencies, governorship constituencies.
“So, it will not be helpful to bring them to Abuja. Here, it is about policies; it will be consummated and translated to practice across the 36 states, 774 local governments and awards.”
Oshiomhole also stated that President Buhari would visit each of the 36 states of the federation because the entire country is his constituency.
Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha also concurred with Oshiomhole on the reason for the absence of the governors.
Rejecting assertions of a collective boycott, Okroocha said:“I don’t think any governor is thinking in that direction and several of the governors depending on the nature of their activities had their reasons.”
Affirming that the governors were on the same page on Buhari’s re-election, the governor who spoke through his chief press secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo further said:
“There is no cause for alarm we are all on the same page as concerning the president. Here in Imo State, we are preparing for the president’s wife who is coming on the campaign here,” he added.
He said that the president’s assertion against the re-election of governors owing salaries was not in bad faith as he said that Imo State was set to commence the payment of January salaries of its workforce.
Why govs were absent at Thursday’s meeting of Buhari Campaign Council – APC
In its formal reaction to the absence of the governors at the meeting, the national publicity secretary, Mallam Issa-Onilu said the meeting was not an inaugural one even as he claimed that the governors had attended at least three previous meetings.
“The agenda for the meeting had to do with drawing the timetable and deciding on the messaging. It didn’t require everyone in the council to be present.
”Meanwhile, this is not the inaugural meeting. After the inauguration on Monday, there have been not less than three meetings of the council,” said Issa-Onilu.
Campaign spokesman, Mr. Keyamo also dismissed negative insinuations to the absence of the governors as he said told Vanguard that there were communication gaps between the campaign and the governors even as he said that it was not an issue.
“There is no fuss over the issue, in fact, I can say that it was a matter of communication gap and their absence has no negative connotation.”