By Chinelo Obogo and Romanus Ugwu
The cracks within the All Progressives Congress (APC) following the setting up of the campaign council of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, have widened.
A party insider told Daily Sun that the controversy generated by the choice of former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, as running mate is far from over and was one of the reasons some people whose names featured prominently in the campaign council list have decided to keep silent and stay away, while some have complained that they were not consulted.
Last Saturday, Secretary to the APC campaign council, James Faleke, listed 422 members who make up the council and before then, the party was said to have contacted the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) to nominate five people each from their state who would make up the campaign council.
The party had initially planned to kick off campaigns today, but yesterday, the Director-General of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said in a statement that the commencement of its campaigns had been postponed indefinitely as a result of the move to expand the list to accommodate more stakeholders.
He said: “We had also announced that the members of the Campaign Council report at the Campaign Headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointments. However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the time-table 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.”
But Daily Sun was reliably informed that besides the fact that some governors and stakeholders felt they were sidelined in the constitution of the campaign council, the Muslim-Muslim controversy is still a sore issue within the party and they fear that it may cost the party the election.
“If there is a best way, I am sure that a Christian from the north would have been the best and I have no doubt in my mind about that, so why would they do a thing like that? The secretary to the government is a Christian and we do not win with votes from the North East, so, there is no excuse in the world because it is the North West that has the votes. So, you cannot say that he is going to bring all the votes from the north. The only thing that you can say is because he is a Muslim. A Muslim from the South is doing what a Muslim from the North would not do. A muslim from the north would not choose another Muslim from the South. We have spoken but they are not listening.
“We went through the trouble of doing restructuring and packaged it in a way that was so well received. Maybe they held their meetings and afterwards, the South West started saying something different because they want to be president. What kind of thing is that? I am very depressed and mortified and I don’t think that there is a better way to describe how I am feeling. We have decided to step aside and watch from the sidelines. We have totally lost it in this country. If we haven’t lost it, how can an Accountant General steal over N108 billion? That is to show you how lose we are. We have even put a stamp of official approval on corruption and would find out that a lot of our members have not even read our manifesto. We are just looking and praying that God would send us a redeemer in His own good time.”
Another source told the Daily Sun that some APC governors have accused the party’s presidential candidate of sidelining them and not protecting their interests. Governors Abdulrahman Abdulrazak and Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers are among the governors Daily Sun learnt were piqued and had aired their grievances privately, complaining that their nominees were ignored and replaced with others from their respective states without consultation.
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) will today meet to deliberate on how to resolve the contentious issues and have vowed to insist on compulsory rejigging of the comprehensive campaign list.
A member of the national leadership told Daily Sun that the suspension of the campaign council list is not enough, saying: “We have tolerated enough and have decided in the interim to curtail their excesses now that the day is still young. If they should be this supercilious when we have not won the presidential election, only God knows what will happen to the future of the members of this party’s leadership if we finally emerge victorious.
“All I know is that at the meeting today, drastic ‘take-it-or-leave-it decisions will be taken during and I am sure that we are likely going to insist on the leadership of the council rejigging the list. We have to curtail the excesses of the PCC. We must checkmate them from riding roughshod over the leadership of this party.
“We must insist that things must be done the right way. We will no longer fold our hands and allow the council to usurp our roles and responsibilities. And we cannot continue to pretend that all is well with our party and watch the bright chances of our electoral victory slip out of our hands.”