As the official flag-off of campaigns for presidential elections looms, leading political parties and their candidates are firming up their campaign structures ahead of an intriguing electioneering season.
While the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are building their campaign structures around their governors, the Labour Party (LP) is leveraging on the structure of Organised Labour, especially the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Whereas the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, made some appointments, including campaign director-general in the person of Plateau Stte governor, Simon Lalong, and spokespersons, the PDP last week unveiled a full list of its campaign organisation with the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, as chairman of the council and his Sokoto counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal, as director general.
Tinubu Appoints Yahaya Bello Youth Campaign Coordinator
As part of efforts to fortify his campaign structure, the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has been appointed the National Youth Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.
His appointment was conveyed in a letter signed by Tinubu, who stressed that Bello, an aspirant in the party’s presidential primaries held in June 2022, deserved the appointment because of his impressive political achievements and the exemplary leadership as a governor and a party member.
The former Lagos State governor said he was confident that the Kogi governor would do his best in the new responsibility given him so that the party could run an effective, message-driven campaign which would lead to victory in the 2023 presidential election.
The letter of his appointment reads in part: “We are grateful that you have joined our campaign team. We know you will do your utmost in this new responsibility so we conduct an effective, message-driven campaign leading us to victory in the 2023 presidential election.
“Together, not only can we ensure victory for our party in the February 2023 election but we shall also move Nigeria along the path of national greatness by building on the achievements of our party and the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in providing progressive good governance to Nigerians.”
In his acceptance letter, Governor Bello pledged to deploy all in his capacity, working alongside the presidential candidate, to ensure victory for APC.
Bello has also expressed his belief in Tinubu’s capacity to restore Nigeria to the path of greatness and development when he becomes president in 2023.
Bello, who stated this while meeting with APC ward, local government chairmen, candidates and other stakeholders from Idah federal constituency of the state, expressed joy over his appointment as the national youth coordinator on the campaign outfit.
He noted that Tinubu had been consistent with the party, and shown direction and leadership, two qualities the nation needs to address its challenges, hence the need to give him overwhelming support by party faithful come 2023.
Tinubu Best For Nigeria In 2023, Kwara Governor Tells Diaspora Nigerians
Speaking in similar vein, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has challenged Nigerians in the diaspora to go home and vote or mobilise support for Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking at the weekend in Newark, New Jersey, USA, at the Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) Summit (Awards & Dinner) organised by the Nigeria Diaspora for Asiwaju (North America), the governor emphasised the imperatives of working hard on the BAT Project for national growth and unity.
The governor’s message to diaspora Nigerians was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital, yesterday by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye.
AbdulRazaq was represented by an APC chieftain, Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin, who delivered the governor’s paper.
“You must organise, you must sensitise, you must mobilise and you must vote,” he said.
The governor, an avowed Tinubu campaigner who described him as a foremost supporter of the OtoGe Movement in Kwara State, spoke on the topic: A New Nigeria Is Possible With Asiwaju/Shetima .
AbdulRazaq noted that the summit demonstrated that Nigerians in diaspora rooting for Asiwaju are already organising and sensitising themselves to the imperatives of a Tinubu presidency.
“However, you now need to go beyond just organising and sensitising yourselves; you need to sensitise and mobilise Nigerians at home who value your contributions to their economic well-being,” he said.
The governor told the Diaspora BAT supporters that, ultimately, they must go home and cast their ballot for Asiwaju and other APC candidates.
“It is heart-warming that a sizeable number of Nigerians in Diaspora registered at home to vote. You must go home and vote. Your vote is more than the individual ballot you cast. Your vote has a spiral effect on our people who value you and see you as role models, and pillars of support,” he added.
AbdulRazaq praised Tinubu for his contributions to the growth of democracy and national development in Nigeria and Africa.
Party Begins Grassroots Engagement In Sokoto
As campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections approach, the minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, has sought more engagement of APC leaders, particularly at the grassroots in Sokoto State.
Alhaji Dingyadi, who spoke yesterday at the kick-off of a three-day APC stakeholders’ meeting in Sokoto, said the leaders’ dedication remains the priority for the party to attain victory in the state and the country.
“As we are all aware, in every association, there is a need for closer engagement with all members; as leaders we should continue to extend the same message to our party supporters.
“Moreover, there is a need for all of us to come up with strategies toward ensuring the success of APC in all positions in the 2023 general elections,” he said.
The minister added that the meeting was convened following the recommendation of the Sokoto APC Elders Forum in order to appreciate the leadership of the party across the twenty-three local government areas in the state.
“Our party leader Senator Aliyu Wamakko, together with other stakeholders, thanks you all for your loyalty and standing with APC.
“Therefore, this meeting should stand as encouragement to all of us in order to ensure the success of our great party in the coming 2023 general elections.
“As you know, politics is dynamic, as such we appeal to all our leaders in the 23 LGAs to engage our teeming youths in this struggle,” he added.
In his remarks, Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu, the APC gubernatorial candidate in the state, thanked the grassroot leaders for their sustained support to the party.
Aliyu pledged to ensure inclusive government if elected and work with all the people of the state to enable more development for the entire population.
Earlier, the state APC chairman, Alhaji Isa Sadiq-Achida, disclosed that the meeting was called to appreciate the party leaders at the grassroots and deliberate on a way forward ahead of the campaign period.
My campaign Team Will Lead PDP To Victory – Atiku
On his part, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday boasted that the party’s campaign team for the election is solid enough to deliver victory in the 2023 election.
Atiku, who stated this yesterday in an email to his supporters, said the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, as chairman of the campaign council, is the right man for the job.
The party had last week unveiled its campaign council.
But in a letter Atiku said, “I am sure you know that the leadership of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has released the names of esteemed party leaders who are members of my Presidential Campaign Council.
“It’s a list of people that Governor Okowa and myself are most proud of. In the next few days, these leaders will be the crew of the ship that will sail us to victory and deliver the country from the stranglehold of the APC.
“There couldn’t have been a better captain for this critical mission than Governor Emmanuel Udom.
“But the list is never complete without you, dear friend. So, let me personally invite you on board as a member of my campaign team. We are bringing the campaign to you because we recognise the importance of the wards and polling unit structures in our quest to mobilise Nigerians to vote massively for the PDP in next year’s general elections, starting with the presidential election.
“Mobilise your families, friends, colleagues, associates and neighbours at your polling units and always remember that as ONE we shall get it done,” he said.
Tambuwal’s Appointment As PDP Campaign DG, An Agenda Against South – Party Chieftain
However, a PDP chieftain in Rivers State and Governor Nyesom Wike loyalist, Princewill Dike, has said the emergence of Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, as the director-general of PDP Campaign Council was a clear agenda against the Southern part of the country.
He declared that the fortunes of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will be negatively affected if the party fails to reconcile with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
Dike, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday, said the Campaign Council list released by the PDP on Thursday, confirmed Wike’s agitation against the lopsided appointments in the party, which are glaringly tilted in favour of the North.
He stated that the Rivers State governor had been fighting against inequality and social injustice meted out to the South in the party, which some persons have mistaken to be a personal fight, adding that Tambuwal’s appointment was to worsen the pain of the South in PDP.
Dike, who is also a Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner, condemned the action of the PDP national leadership in the recent appointment, saying it portends danger for the party.
He said: “I keep telling people that Nyesom Wike is not fighting any person. He is not fighting a personal war. Wike is fighting for equity and social justice, especially for the Southerners.
“This is the man (Wike) who has complained that it is unfair for the presidential candidate to be in the North, and the national chairman of the party, a Northerner. And, again too, now coming to rub injury on injury, the party’s DG is a Northerner. It is highly condemnable.
“This appointment portends a further danger for PDP, to have used a Northerner as their campaign director general.”
Dike emphasised that the party members’ loyalty and readiness to follow Wike’s anytime was not in doubt, adding that the governor’s legacy projects across the state would speak volumes of the governor’s achievements and the need to vote for his successor.
He said: “And aside from that performance, Rivers State is PDP, and PDP is Rivers State. Adding again to that, the candidate of PDP is a very saleable candidate. Sim Fubara is a saleable candidate. There is no gainsaying the fact that Sim will win seamlessly.
“Rivers’ people are happy with Governor Wike because of his infrastructural renaissance that has cut across every nook and cranny of Rivers State.
“There is no gainsaying about the fact that Rivers PDP members and supporters will always follow Governor Wike wherever he goes. Wike is a political force that cannot be undermined. He has overwhelming support.
“If PDP and Wike do not reconcile, it would affect the political fortunes of Atiku Abubakar in 2023 presidential election. And, any presidential candidate Wike supports will coast home to victory. Absolutely.
“If Nigerians want Atiku to win, he (Atiku) should stop what we are using to criticise Bola Tinubu: the northernisation of our politics,” he said.
Labour Party To Leverage Labour Union Structures
For the Labour Party, as part of its moves to design its strategy for the campaign, the party held a two-day retreat with the Organised Labour and key members of civil society organisations.
A source in the Labour Party told LEADERSHIP yesterday that the recent retreat by the party leadership and the organised labour was part of strategizing on how the party will form its campaign strategy.
He added that the party might not run a conventional campaign even though they will have campaign coordinators and other officials to help direct the campaign.
The source also said the young people who have on their own bought into the OBIdient movement will continue to campaign for a new kind of leadership that is responsive to the people, which Mr Peter Obi represents.
Recall that the Labour Unions had, at the retreat last week tagged, “Nigeria at a Crossroads; Labour Party as the only option”, pledged to commit their members across the 744 local government areas to work for the success of the Labour Party.
The NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Waba, said their 12 million members will activate their structures in all the 774 local governments for their candidate, Peter Obi.
“We have structures. Human beings are the structures. We must activate it. We are activating all our structures in all the 774 LGAs and we have over 12 million members that will vote,” Waba said.
Legal luminary, Chief Femi Falana, who also attended the retreat, said if NLC adopts the workers charter of demand, the quest to reach the presidency is done.