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Tinubu presents manifesto to APC NWC, governors

• Presidential campaign council members, party EXCO meet

All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday laid before the party leadership the draft of his manifesto for next year’s election for review and approval.

Members of the National Working Committee (NWC), the Progressives Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Campaign Council (PPC), which received the draft, resolved to work together for the victory of Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima. At yesterday’s tripartite meeting of the party organs in Abuja, the campaign council list was harmonized, the manifesto was approved and the nationwide presidential campaign programme proposed by the PCC was discussed and approved.

For more than three hours, Tinubu, Shettima and other party leaders, including NWC members, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, 13 governors and a deputy governor, were locked in brainstorming over strategies for the poll.

Also at the meeting were Campaign Director-General and Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong; Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar San- Bello (Niger), AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Mai Mala Bun (Yobe) and deputy governor of Zamfara State.

The parley was also witnessed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Deputy Director-General (Operations); Hadiza Bala Usman Deputy Director-General (Admin); James Faleke (Secretary); Babatunde Ogala (SAN); Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi; Abike Dabiri and for APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu. Campaign spokesman, Festus Keyamo (SAN), Minister of State for Labour and Employment, said Tinubu has demonstrated an uncanny capacity for promoting inclusion and team spirit.

He told reporters that the meeting resolved to work together so that the platform can sustain its winning steak.

Keyamo said: “What you have seen here is the meeting of different layers of the party. It was the meeting of the major stakeholders of the party. The Progressive Governors, the NWC, and the PCC with the presidential candidates. We are a very united party with all the organs of the party working in unison towards one purpose.

“All we did today during the meeting was review the draft of our manifesto. Our candidate is not the type that operates on his own. He carries everybody along. He presented the draft of the manifesto to all the stakeholders that looked at it. And guess what, almost all the stakeholders gave that draft more than 90 per cent pass mark.”

The spokesman said a committee would be set up to consider major highlights for easy communication and digestion by the electorate.

He stressed: “We can’t give you the content because we are not going to take it away from our candidate. He is going to present himself before Nigerians on a particular date and occasion. We have set up a small committee charged with the responsibility of reducing the manifesto to major highlights in message form which, we will sell to even the market women, and street traders in the most simple language. We don’t want to present to Nigerians a very complicated document that they cannot understand in simple terms.”

On the date for the kick-off of the campaign, Keyamo explained that the activities of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is both the APC national leader and campaign council chairman, will determine the date.

However, he assured that the campaign will soon start.

Keyamo said: “You know that the structure of our campaign involves a presidential diary. I have said that our campaign is not going to be like those that they can kick and start like small vehicles. It is maneuvering a 50-ton tanker on a highway and once we hit the highway, it will be motion and movement.

“Since Mr President is the chairman of the campaign council, we are going to consider his diary in picking and choosing the date. However, we have all virtually agreed to hit the street very soon. We have also agreed on the region we are going to kick-start but I won’t say that now. We have also agreed on all the basic issues. We just want to carry along the leader of the party, Mr President and hit the street.”

On the NWC’s position on the initial 422 PCC membership list, the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, said the party’s highest administrative organ is in sync with other organs over campaign council composition.

He said all interest groups have been accommodated in the campaign list, adding that there was no further disagreement.

Morka said: “A party is a unit comprised of so many parts. Yes, we are in sync with all of the segments of the party, the NWC. As you can see, the governors were here, the PCC, and we’re on the same page. And just as the spokesperson has said, we are about to launch. So, any moment from now you will be hearing the fullness of our program. You know, going forward.”

Noting that the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu was not at the meeting, Morka said: “The National chairman was not missing. He was adequately represented by the Deputy National Chairman, North and the Deputy National Chairman (South) and he was in touch with every stakeholder who was here. He did inform them of his inability to be here. He was effectively represented.”

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Director, of New Media, dismissed the allegation by the opposition that the APC was trying to force the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deactivate and stop the use of Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (BWAS) at the 2023 general election.

He said: “That allegation is absolute nonsense. It’s what you call poppycock. And these are the words of a drowning party spoken by a drowning man with a drowning candidate. There is nothing like that. We are above board. We are serious about what we are trying to do. We are going to achieve our objective, and we are going to win this election fair and square.

“They are the ones that have lost five governors. They’re the ones that can’t get their party leaders to come to their rallies at their presidential campaign inauguration. We don’t have that challenge. We’re working slowly but surely. As one together, everybody’s coming. And I’m very proud to be part of this”.

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