The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has sidelined the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and former Rivers State Governor and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as leaders in his campaign team for their regions – North-East and South-South respectively.
In the APC Presidential Campaign Council breakdown of appointees obtained by SaharaReporters on Saturday, Tinubu rather appointed Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, to lead his South-South campaign and Gombe State Governor, inuwa Yahaya, to lead his North-East trail.
The document released on September 23 and signed by James Abiodun Faleke, Secretary to the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, reads, “We are pleased to announce the nominees of the leadership of the presidential campaign council, as per enclosed. All nominees are kindly advised to pick their appointment letters from the undersigned on Monday, September 26, 2021….all other members will be contacted by the leaders of their respective directorates.”
Checks by SaharaReporters showed that Tinubu failed to give prominent roles to Lawan and Amaechi – his two fellow presidential aspirants in the June presidential election.
On June 8, Tinubu with 1271 votes beat his major opponents, Amaechi who polled 316 while Osinbajo, had 235 votes. Meanwhile, Lawan got 152 votes and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello polled 47 votes.
According to the presidential campaign council breakdown, Amaechi was appointed only a “member” of the campaign council with no portfolio as against 2015 when he was the Director-General of the Muhammadu/Osinbajo APC campaign which removed the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Also, Lawan’s name was lost among prominent positions and only featured as among the senior advisers as he was appointed as “Senior Adviser, Strategic planning.”
SaharaReporters on September 21 reported that a fresh crisis could also engulf the party as Tinubu rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Margaret Chuba Okadigbo as the Zonal Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council in the South-East.
Margaret is the widow of the late former Senate President, Dr Chuba Okadigbo
“His (Tinubu) South-East penetration is the lowest, he refused Buhari’s nomination of Okadigbo’s wife to handle his South-East campaign. He felt she’s not capable enough despite being told by the President to pick her,” one of the sources had told SaharaReporters.
In January, Buhari appointed Margaret as chairman of the newly-incorporated Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
Okadigbo was a political ally of Buhari and a one-time running mate.
He was Buhari’s running mate when he contested for President on the platform of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003.
The sources added that the appointment of James Faleke as the party’s Presidential Campaign Council Secretary was made against the advice of the APC National Executive Council.
Tinubu in August named Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives as the Secretary of the Presidential Campaign Council for Tinubu/Shettima 2023.
“A serious crisis is rocking the party over Tinubu’s refusal to accept those nominated to him by party leaders to handle his campaign.
“While he (Tinubu) wants to handpick key people to head the campaign council, party leaders especially the chairman and the presidency through the cabal want their loyalists to be in charge.
“I won’t deceive you, Tinubu’s candidacy is currently receiving the cold shoulder. Imagine, he said he doesn’t trust the party chairman. Now he can’t constitute a presidential campaign committee because of such a high-level crisis.
“Major senators in Katsina, Gombe, and Kebbi are defecting to PDP. His worsening illness is now of serious concern too as he is planning another medical trip abroad. He made Faleke his PCC Secretary against the party’s advice that he should appoint one Tarka from Benue State,” another source had added.
Before the June presidential primary election of the APC, the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu favoured the emergence of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the party’s candidate.
However, Lawan came a distant fourth in the primary with 152 votes against Tinubu’s 1,271 votes.
Source: Sahara Reporters.