*Sole female candidate on medical leave, party halts campaigns
By Clifford Ndujihe, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Ezra Ukanwa & Fortune Eromosele
EXACTLY one month and five days after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, unlocked the lid on presidential campaigns on September 28, about 10 of the 18 presidential candidates and political parties are yet to begin campaigns.
A host of them are yet to raise their campaign councils or announce campaign itinerary. Most are yet to unveil their manifestos.
Vanguard’s checks showed that the electorate would have to wait a little longer for most of the candidates. Many of them are facing crises in their parties and as such are having tough times raising a campaign team.
So far, only eight candidates have flagged off their campaigns or publicly engaged in activities in pursuit of their quest to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, next year.
Among the eight only three—Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC; and Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim of the Young Progressives Party, YPP, have unveiled their plans or manifestos.
Lack of activities in most of the parties is fuelling speculations that some of the parties are not ready for the contest but just waiting to align with one of the major political parties for the polls.
Ojei on medical leave as APM halts campaigns
One of the candidates worst hit by the campaign bug is the only female candidate, Princess Chichi Ojei, of the Allied People’s Movement, APM.
Currently, the party has halted its campaigns due to the absence of Princess Ojei, who is on a medical leave.
APM National Chairman, Alhaji Yusuf Mamman Dantalle, made this known to Vanguard in a telephone interview.
He said the party cannot kick-off its presidential campaigns as well as inaugurate its campaign council in the absence of its presidential standard bearer, Princess Ojei.
He said: “The presidential candidate is on medical leave, until she returns we can’t kick-off presidential campaigns and inaugurate a presidential campaign council. We cannot do anything until she returns.”
Leadership tussle pause campaigns in APGA
In the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, the party is enmeshed in leadership tussle between the factions of Chief Edozie Njoku and Chief Victor Oye.
Both factions have their respective presidential candidates in the persons of Chief Chekwas Okorie (for Njoku’s faction) and Peter Umeadi (for Oye’s faction). The electoral commission listed Umeadi’s name as APGA’s candidate with Okorie, who cited a Supreme Court verdict insisting he is the authentic flagbearer.
But whichever way it goes, none of them appears ready to campaign for the 2023 elections as of now. Leaders of both factions have been evading media interviews on when they will announce campaign council and begin the campaigns.
The duo are yet to return calls and reply to several text messages sent to them on the issue.
It can’t be readily ascertained when their campaigns will kick off.
Waiting game in ZLP
The same situation applies to the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, whose presidential candidate is Chief Dan Nwanyanwu.
Vanguard had many times reached out to him for interviews but he declined saying that he was out of town (Abuja), and promised to schedule a meeting with Vanguard upon his return next week
Besides, he said that there was still time for intense political activities before the presidential election on February 25, 2023.
YPP flags off presidential campaigns
The Presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party, Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim, officially commenced campaigns as well as presented his party manifesto.
He flagged off campaigns at the women’s centre in Abuja.
In a chat with Vanguard, the National Publicity Secretary, Ebeola Olawale Martins, said the setting up of a proper campaign council was ongoing and would be officially made available to the public before month end.
He said: “We are only working with a joint campaign committee right now saddled with the responsibility of setting up a comprehensive campaign council while executing parts of the campaign plan developed by the party in collaboration with the candidate and his team.
“The setting up of a proper campaign council is ongoing and will be officially made available to the public on or before the end of November. The delay is to enable us to get things right once and for all rather than the back-and-forth and nationwide condemnation experienced by other political parties that hurriedly released theirs without due diligence and consultation.”
Candidates who have commenced campaigns
*Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – APC
*Alhaji Atiku Abubakar – PDP
*Mr. Peter Obi – LP
*Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu – ADC
*Mr. Omoyele Sowore – AAC
*Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso – NNPP
*Prince Adewole Adebayo – SDP
*Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim, YPP
The 18 candidates cleared by INEC
• Imumolen Christopher – Accord Party, AP
• Al-Mustapha Hamza – Action Alliance, AA,
• Sowore Omoyele – African Action Congress, AAC
• Kachikwu Dumebi – African Democratic Congress, ADC
• Sani Yabagi Yusuf – Action Democratic Party, ADP
• Tinubu Bola Ahmed – All Progressives Congress, APC
• Umeadi Peter Nnanna – All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA
• Ojei Princess Chichi – Allied People’s Movement, APM
• Nnamdi Osita – Action Peoples Party, APP
• Adenuga Oluwafemi – Boot Party, BP
• Obi Peter – Labour Party, LP)
•Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso – New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP
•Osakwe Felix Johnson – National Rescue Movement, NRM
• Abubakar Atiku – Peoples Democratic Party, PDP
•Abiola Kolawole – Peoples Redemption Party, PRP
• Adebayo Adewole – Social Democratic Party, SDP
•Ado-Ibrahim Abdumalik – Young Progressives Party, YPP
•Nwanyanwu Daniel – Zenith Labour Party, ZLP