By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor & John Alechenu, LAGOS
Subject to ratification by President Muhammadu Buhari, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, will co-ordinate the presidential campaign council of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as director-general.
His deputy will be former Edo State Governor and ex-National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
In the opposition PDP, crises stemming from the presidential primaries and nomination of running mate has paused efforts to raise a campaign council.
Sources told Vanguard, yesterday, that APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; and APC governors settled for the duo after a meeting in Abuja on Monday.
Indeed, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, after the meeting told journalists that a director-general had been picked for the APC presidential campaign council but refused to disclose the person.
The governor said President Buhari and National Chairman of the APC, Dr. Abdullahi Adamu, would be briefed before a formal announcement.
“This is a delegation of the Progressive Governors Forum, led by our chairman, Dr Atiku Bagudu, and the party represented by the national secretary.
“We came to report on an assignment given to us by our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate to begin the broad consultations and develop a structure for the presidential campaign council. We have done some work on it.
“We have briefed the candidate and his running mate and inputs have been taken and our hope is that in the shortest possible time, the candidate will consult more with the party leadership and brief Mr President and get his input and then we formally unveil the presidential campaign council.
“A decision has been taken on the director-general but other positions in the campaign council are still being discussed. The president and the national chairman and National Working Committee will be briefed before a formal announcement,” el-Rufai said.
Adams Oshiomhole, who attended the meeting, was reported to be the director-general of the APC presidential campaign council but he denied it.
A top party source told Vanguard yesterday that Governor Simon Lalong is the choice of the governors for campaign council D-G, with Oshiomhole as his deputy.
Sources said the choice of Director-General initially oscillated between Oshiomhole and Lalong.
Those pushing for Lalong argued that the APC needs a Northern Christian as D-G to assuage the feelings of Northern Christians in the party, following the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party.
One of those earlier mentioned in connection with the D-G position was Governor el-Rufai.
Party insiders said the APC resolved to appoint a Christian as D-G of the campaign council against the backdrop of misgivings trailing the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. Governor el-Rufai is a Muslim.
Keyamo, Alake, Onanuga head media team
Meanwhile, the media department of the APC campaign council has taken shape.
“The media department of the APC campaign council will be run by a triumvirate of directors, made up of Dele Alake as director of strategic communications, Bayo Onanuga, director of media and publicity, and Festus Keyamo, director of public affairs and chief spokesman,” a top member of the Tinubu team told Vanguard, yesterday.
Reconciliation, campaign council top agenda as PDP BoT, others meet
In the PDP, post-presidential primaries and nomination of vice presidential candidate crisis has paused efforts to raise a campaign council.
Some PDP governors and supporters of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have reportedly listed conditions to back Atiku. Wike came second in the presidential primaries; he was the choice of the selection committee for the vice-presidential slot but Atiku chose Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, a development that has been raising dust in the main opposition party.
Thus, barring last-minute changes, reconciliation efforts and the setting up of the Presidential Campaign Council, will top the agenda as members of the PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, and National Working Committee, NWC, meet today.
Vanguard gathered in Abuja yesterday that top members of the party have been holding series of meetings to calm frayed nerves ahead of the meeting.
A member of the party’s BoT who pleaded anonymity so as not to “pre-empt the outcome of the meeting” said so much work had gone into the process.
The source said: “We will be meeting later tomorrow (today) to iron out all of these issues. They are not as serious as some of you in the media are trying to make it look.
“Yes, there are issues as is normal in politics. Our respected governors irrespective of the presidential aspirants they supported during the primaries are interested in the victory of the PDP in 2023 and have resolved to support the party to achieve this goal. Our collective survival as not only politicians but also Nigerians depend on this.
“The process of reconciliation is an ongoing one and will continue. We are all aware of the fact that time is not on our side and we need to expedite action on the setting up of the presidential campaign council.
“We need everybody on board in order to have a robust campaign. That is why we want to bring the aggrieved persons to the table, address their grievances and move on. It is our hope that by the middle of this month at the most, our campaign team will be fully on ground.”
Contacted, Mazi Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said the candidate and party leaders are working assiduously towards resolving all outstanding issues.
He said: “His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, as you already know is a committed party man who is interested in the unity of the party ahead of the 2023 elections and beyond. Discussions are ongoing and we are confident that we will put all of this behind us and make progress. “
Kachikwu appoints Kunnu as campaign spokesman
Elsewhere, the presidential candidate of African Democratic Congress, ADC, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, has appointed a broadcast professional, Mr. Adeniyi Taiwo Kunnu, as the spokesman of his 2023 campaign organization.
Kunnu, who holds both Bachelors and Master of Arts Degrees in Literature-in-English from Lagos State University, Ojo, and the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, is currently a doctoral student of Literature-in-English at the University of Abuja.
He has held professional positions in both public and private sectors, including Lecturer, Department of English and Literature, Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo (2022), Researcher, Analyst, Training and Development Officer at Lagos Talks 91.3 FM, Ikoyi, Lagos (2021 till date), Head of Operations at IKD 106.1 FM, Ikorodu, Lagos (2020 – 2021), Head, News and Programmes, Roots TV, Abuja (July –September 2019) and Senior News and Current Affairs; Programmes Producer & Presenter, Nigeria Info, 99.3, Victoria Island, Lagos (August 2018 – June 2019).