NATIONAL chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on Wednesday held a four-hour meeting with governors elected on the platform of the party to douse the tension and acrimony triggered by the 422-member Presidential Campaign Council list re- leased last week.
But they did not state when the party would start its campaign for the 2023 election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifted the suspension of campaign for the general election on September 28, almost a week after it released the final list of presidential candidates.
However, the party postponed indefinitely the inauguration of its PCC following the anger the membership list generated with governors and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party claiming to have been sidelined and their nominees rejected.
A controversial letter allegedly written by APC national chairman soon surfaced, in which he purportedly expressed reservations on the list, but the letter was quickly disowned by the party through a statement by the national publicity secretary of the party, Mr Felix Morka.
The meeting followed the plan by the party to inaugurate the PCC on October 10, though a source at the APC national secretariat in Abuja told the Nigerian Tribune that Adamu was still adamant that the National Working Committee (NWC) played a dominant role in the campaign.
Kebbi State governor and chairman of the forum of APC governors, the Progressives Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, led a few of his colleagues to the meeting at the party headquarters that lasted for more than four hours.
In the company of Bagudu were Rotimi Akeredolu, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Abdullahi Sule, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, Abubakar Sani Bello and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, governors of Ondo, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Niger and Kano states, respectively.
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, who, incidentally, is the director general of the APC PCC and former national chairman of the party and deputy director general of the Campaign Council, was in at- tendance. According to the agenda of the meeting sighted by Nigerian Tribune, the proposed APC national conference and the campaign council were among the crucial issues dis- cussed by the party leaders.
Before the session dissolved into a closed door, the national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, in his opening remarks, gave the reason for inviting the governors to the meeting, saying they remained crucial to the success of the party in the 2023 general election.
He said: “Essentially, we want to interact with our governors, who are the custodians of the fate of APC in their various states that they are privileged by God to lead at this point in time of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation.
“Being the chief executive officers of their various states, the onus of our great party lies in the hands of God and in their hands because they are the commanders of the party fortunes in their various states. “We cannot make meaningful progress in the affairs of these states, particularly in an election year that is approaching. We cannot plan without the buy-in of our governors so that we can stand together, believing that we share same aspirations.
“We will plan together to see how best we can deliver the interest of the party and ensure that victory is ours in 2023 general election that is by the corner. That is the essence of this meeting.” Sources at the meeting revealed to the Nigerian Tribune that Senator Adamu was unyielding on ensuring that the NWC remained central to the operation of the party campaigns.
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He was said to have restated his strong reservations that his leadership was kept in the dark about the composition of the 422 campaign councils, which also courted the disaffection of some of the governors.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Kebbi governor said the meeting was to review plans ahead of the campaigns.
“What I will say is governors of the APC, members of the presidential campaign council visited the chairman and the NWC members to strategise and discuss on campaign and the chairman briefed us about the party and we appreciate how well our party has been doing in the polity.”
Governor Bagudu, who confessed that the governors were not comfortable over mistakes made by the APCPCC, described the publication of the campaign council list without recourse to the APC national secretariat as unfortunate.
He, however, noted that the governors were determined to put the mistakes behind them for the success of the party in next general election.
He said, “Governors are very, very proud of our party, we are very proud of our party leader, President Muham- madu Buhari. We are very proud of the conventions that produced both our national chairman and our presidential candidate in the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the vice presidential candidate in the person of Kashim Shettima.
Responding to concern trailing the delay in the commencement of campaigns, Senator Adamu said the party was not in a hurry to commence campaigns.
“The fact of the matter is, we as a party, as APC, we will determine when we will do what, as long as it is within the framework of INEC’s guidelines,” Adamu added.