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By Clifford Ndujihe, Omeiza Ajayi, John Alechenu, Chinedu Adonu & Dickson Omobola, LAGOS

Contrary to expectations, most of the 18 political parties will not start their presidential campaigns today, as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, removes the lid on the exercise.

Apart from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which will inaugurate its campaign council today, the remaining 17 parties are yet to tidy up the composition of their presidential campaign teams.

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, which last weekend announced a 422-man council, yesterday, postponed the kick-off of its campaign earlier slated for today to enable it adjust and expand the council, following complaints from critical stakeholders.

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ADC begins campaigns October 6

Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, said he would begin his “Rescue Mission” campaign on October 6 with a North-Central grand rally in Kogi.

The next day, he will hold a campaign rally in Nasarawa to be followed by other activities in Plateau, Benue, Niger, Kwara, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Taraba, Gombe Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, and Kebbi between October 7 and November 17.

Thereafter, he will take his campaigns to Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and Delta between November 21 and December 18.

SDP holds reconciliation parley in Lagos

On its part, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, will hold a parley in Lagos to reconcile aggrieved tendencies in the party. Before the presidential primaries, the party was factionalised leading to the emergence of two presidential candidates – Prince Adewole Adebayo and Senator Ebenezer Ikeyina. However, the INEC published Adebayo’s name as the candidate of the party.

Party leaders told Vanguard that they were taking their time to reconcile aggrieved leaders and members before announcing a campaign council.

Today’s meeting at Ikeja, Lagos is to forge the much-desired reconciliation, a party source said.

Why APC postponed campaign kick-off indefinitely — Lalong

Director-General of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong, said the adjustment of the time-table and schedule of activities is in order to accommodate growing interest shown by various political tendencies in being part of the campaign council.

He said in a statement that a new date for the kick-off would be announced soon.

The statement read: “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 election. We had also announced that the members of the Campaign Council report at the Campaign Headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointment. 

“However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the timetable 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 timetable of events will be announced soon.”

PDP to inaugurate campaign council today

However, the PDP will inaugurate its campaign council today, and its National Working Committee, NWC has invited all its former presidents, vice presidents, serving and former governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of its Board of Trustees to the exercise that will be held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The invitation was signed by the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Mr. Umar Mohammed Bature.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan was the last member of the PDP to occupy the office of President. The party’s unbroken   16 years in power ended with his defeat by the APC in 2015. The party had last week released a 520-man list of members of the council.

My victory is a stepping stone for Igbo Presidency —Atiku

Meanwhile, PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, urged the South-East to vote for him in 2023, saying that his victory is a stepping stone for Igbo Presidency.

Atiku spoke in Enugu while interacting with the South-East leaders and stakeholders as part of his consultation and sensitization ahead of the commencement of the campaign.

“I am the stepping stone for Ndigbo to become President of Nigeria. Give me your support to win the 2023 presidential poll,” he said, adding that he would prioritize developmental projects in the South-East and other zones of the country.

Atiku said that any project sited in any state of the federation is not a favour to the state but rather a favour to Nigeria.

“The Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha is not a favour to the South-East, rather it is or should be seen as a favour to Nigeria. This is because it is not only the people of the South-East that will use the bridge,” he said.

On his relationship with the Igbo, the former Vice President said that he had a close relationship with the Igbo which influenced his choices of Senator Ben Obi and Peter Obi as his running mates in his two previous outings as a presidential candidate, adding that he has chosen another Igbo (Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State) for the third time as his running mate.

“I have three Igbo children and I am saying this for the very first time in public,” Atiku disclosed.

Atiku listed five cardinal areas his administration would pay close attention to including tackling insecurity, and economic and other challenges bedevilling the country.

He said that his first agenda would be to restore Nigeria’s unity through cooperation; establish a strong and effective government that guarantees the safety and security of lives and properties.

Atiku promised to build a strong, resilient and prosperous economy that creates jobs and lift people out of poverty. He also promised to promote a true federal system that will provide a strong federal government to create national unity while allowing the federating units to set up their own priorities such as state police.

Also speaking, Atiku’s running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa lamented that Nigeria had never been more polarized and disunited as it is under the APC leadership.

Okowa said that the only solution to the current insecurity and other problems facing Nigeria is the PDP administration which would be headed by an experienced politician like Atiku Abubakar.

The Board of Trustees chairman, Adolphus Wabara said that they will mobilize votes for the PDP to win the presidential election.

Dignitaries at the meeting include the PDP National Chairman; Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Acting Chairman, Board of Trustees; Senator Adolphus Wabara, Enugu State Governor; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, among others.

LP declares readiness for campaigns, mum on council membership

Few hours to the official commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure, yesterday, declared the party‘s preparedness for the campaigns.

His statement came at a time the party is yet to make public the list of members of its campaign council.

Abure said the party is fully prepared to kick-start its campaigns in line with the INEC’s timeline of September 28.

He commended the electoral umpire on its position on incumbent political office holders who use the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties access to public facilities for campaigns, an action which the Commission said was illegal and would attract sanctions as spelt out in the Electoral Act 2022.

Abure said: “The position of INEC is germane with the recent attacks on the supporters of Labour Party candidates across the nation particularly in Ebonyi, Enugu, Katsina and Kaduna among others.

“It is a fact that the popularity and influence of Labour Party recently has been astonishing wherein it has witnessed exponential and geometric growth across the states, the fear factor being expressed by the other political parties which has pushed them into resorting to obstructing and in some cases manhandling of otherwise, Labour party supporters who have been embarking on peaceful rallies, is a threat to our democracy.

“We seize this opportunity to call on the incumbent political office holders to ensure that political terrain is demilitarized and level playing ground provided for all political activities. This will ensure that the choice of the people who represent them at whatever level is respected.

“As a political party, we promised Nigerians that the party would run an issue-based campaign. We have also put our house in order, and we will be coming up with a formidable team that will run the campaign and that will deliver power to the real owners, the people.”

Abure further said, “The Labour Party will continue to maintain that when we form government in 2023, the party will hold our presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi and other candidates contesting on the platform of the party accountable if they renege on the social contract entered with the people.

“We are going to make sure Peter Obi and all other candidates that win on the Labour Party platform are held accountable to the people. If they form a government and decide not to do what the people want, we will abandon them and join the people to fight them. We are going to have a paradigm shift in the manner and ways politics is played in Nigeria. We are going to provide leadership by example.

“Labour Party will not just bring a government in place for Peter Obi, we are going to hold him accountable because the movement transcends Peter Obi.”

2023 not about entitlement —Sowore

On his part, the Presidential candidate for the African Action Congress, AAC, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, who claimed that he commanded an enormous, followership among the Nigerian youths, said he had encountered severe challenges masterminded by state actors in the last three years.

Sowore, who spoke on the political paradigm, Channels TV, declared that his role as an activist doesn’t make him an automatic choice of the youths as he is just performing his political responsibility.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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