From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has set up a body to harmonise its controversial Presidential Campaign Council as a tripartite meeting involving major stakeholders was deadlocked in Abuja, yesterday.
The disagreement involving its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Kashim Shettima, National Working Committee (NWC), Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) resulted in the setting up of a harmonisation committee after failing to reach a common ground on several issues.
Director of Public Affairs and Spokesperson of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Festus Keyamo, explained that the committee is charged with the responsibility of reducing the manifesto documents to major highlights in message form to sell to even market women.
On the outcome of the meeting, Keyamo, who is Minister of State for Labour and Employment, said: “What you saw here is the meeting of difference layers of the party. It was the meeting of the major stakeholders of the party. The Progressive Governors, NWC, and PCC with the presidential candidate. 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 to 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 passmark.
“We can’t give you the content because we are not going to take it away from our candidate. He is going to present it himself before Nigerians on a particular date and occasion. We have set up a small committee charged with the responsibility of reducing the manifesto documents to major highlights in message form we will sell to even the market women, street trader in the most simple language. We don’t want to present to Nigerians a very complicated document that they cannot understand in simple terms,” he said.
Keyamo hinged the reason for the delay in the ruling party commencing campaign on the need to align it with the schedule of President Muhammadu Buhari who is chairman of the campaign council.
“You know that the structure of our campaign involves 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 like manoeuvring a 50-ton tanker in a highway, but 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 take his diary into consideration 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.”
The PCC spokesperson also spoke on the controversial campaign council list saying: “We have accommodated all the interest groups in the campaign list. There was virtually no disagreement in the meeting today.”
Defending the reason its National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, was absent at the meeting, Morka said he was in touch after sending a representative.
“The National chairman was not missing, he was adequately represented by the Deputy National Chairman, North and his counterpart in the South. He was in touch with every stakeholder who was in the meeting. The candidate, he did inform them of his inability to be here, but he was effectively represented.”
Director of Special Media Project and New Media, Femi Fani-Kayode also spoke on the controversy over the campaign list, stressing: “this meeting we just had more or less clarified everything, that is why the publicity secretary of the party is here, that is why all the four media directorates in the PCC were represented. Everybody was there, the governors, the PCC, we are all speaking as one, we all agree on everything. We are working towards an objective which is to be launch as soon as possible and to come out strongly. There is really no hurry about this as far as we are concerned.”
But reacting to the controversy trailing the party’s campaign funds, the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, admitted that there were pending issues to be discussed in due course.
“Our campaign financing is really important because without it, you can’t do a whole lot, but that is a subject that we will discuss in due course.”