Ganduje’s ally, Senator Gaya, takes over VP’s group

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

A day after the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, announced that its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms would cost N100 million, some supporters of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have promised to purchase the forms for him, saying next year’s general election would be a contest of ideas not of material wealth.

Chairman of The Progressive Project TPP, an umbrella organization of all support groups advocating the actualisation of a Yemi Osinbajo presidency in 2023, Senator Kabiru Gaya, disclosed this, yesterday in Abuja when he assumed office as leader of the organization.

Gaya, a former governor of Kano State and incumbent Senator representing Kano South in the Senate, is an ally of Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who has been at the forefront of subtle campaigns for another presidential aspirant and erstwhile godfather of the vice president, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Noting that the TPP is not a campaign council, Gaya said his job is to recalibrate all pro-Osinbajo forces.

At a brief event in Abuja, Senator Gaya said the TPP is a mass based, citizen-driven project calling for the candidature of Vice President Osinbajo as APC’s presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections.

He said: “We are succeeding and my specific assignment here is to lead a process of recalibrating all pro-Osinbajo populist forces towards electoral victory under the banner of APC. Our duty is the coordination of all support groups: this is not the Campaign Council.

“For Professor Yemi Osinbajo, this race is not about personal ambition but about a positive response to populist call from a citizen-driven mobilization that began without input from him or his office. Note that people from other parties and even millions of non-partisan citizens who do not belong to any political party have strong interest and involvement with this campaign for Osinbajo’s candidature.

“Without an iota of doubt, I am certain that all the knowledgeable people here can attest to the qualities and competence of Professor Yemi Osinbajo. You will also agree with me that his chosen method redefines presidential declarations in Nigeria; he has clearly signalled that noble citizens have no need to descend into gutters – no touts were hired by anyone and his message effectively reverberated across the entire country and in the Diaspora.

“Globally, climate change, insecurity, drug trafficking, economic problems like unemployment, and inflation have worsened. All these impact Nigeria and many other countries. However, by electing someone of Professor Osinbajo’s pedigree who has direct insight into the depth of our challenges as well as current strategies and tactics being laid out to tackle them, we have a great chance to move ahead without much waste of time.”

“Nonetheless, a lot is being said by many; as genuine democrats and as Progressives, we shall continue to defend the constitutional rights of citizens to hold their own opinions but we must all be wary of those whose sole preoccupation is the propagation of such hate and suspicions that seek to hold our country down.

“Even an internal issue of the price of our party’s nomination form is being deliberately misinterpreted in some circles when we feel confident that unlike moneybags, our truly populist candidate is popular enough to pool supporters’ token donations and raise such money with ease. Just one youth group with TPP, the Progressive Group alone say that they can raise N100m with rough voluntary contributions of N10, 000 each by 10, 000 of their supporters who are keen about seeing a better future. Our populist Mathematics is flawless and very strong; moneybags within or outside APC will only lose their dollars in any contest against the people’s will.

“Unlike the history of some other political parties, records show that neither APC presidential ticket nor its VP slot had ever been won by throwing money around but by populist endorsement from North and South.

On the mode of voting to be adopted for the presidential convention, Gaya said irrespective of the method used “Yemi Osinbajo will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023.”

“Regarding the debate over whether our party should consider direct, indirect or consensus options for the presidential primaries, we believe that nothing is cast in stone and a few things can be changed at any time. What is most important is what the law says and the law of the country, as given by the Electoral Act, states that there shall be direct, indirect primaries or consensus.

Believe me, whichever of the three options is eventually chosen by APC’s experienced and forthright leadership, Professor Osinbajo will win, “he said.

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