It appeared yesterday that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are entangled in a game of hide-and-seek apparently in a bid to outwit each other with the outcomes of their primaries ahead of the 2023 general election.
Barely 24 hours after the opposition party had fixed new dates for primaries to select governorship, federal and state legislative candidates of the party ahead of the 2023 general election, the governing party rescheduled its timetable for its primary elections.
In the new adjustment announced by its national publicity secretary, Barr Felix Morka, the APC shifted its governorship primaries from May 20 to May 26, 2022 after PDP announced that its governorship primaries will now be held on May 25, 2022.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the two major parties, especially the APC, are deliberately playing cat-and-mouse as part of strategies to outsmart each other on how their candidates for the 2023 general election should emerge as well as the zoning arrangement.
The reschedule of activities leading to the primaries showed that the two parties are weighing each other wit for wit and calculating each other’s moves.
A prominent APC chieftain who did not want his name in print because he is not authorised to address the press on the issue said: “Of course you don’t expect the opposition to take advantage of or capitalize on our weakness. Don’t forget that issues of consensus candidates and zoning of the presidential tickets have been matters of serious concern in the two leading political parties.
“There had been disquiet among leaders of the two political parties about the disagreement over how their candidates for the 2023 polls should emerge, especially on modalities to pick their presidential candidates, leading to agitations. It is better we wait and see the outcome of the PDP primaries before holding our own. By others’ fall wise men correct their steps.”
While PDP’s new dates did not affect the party’s presidential primary billed to hold in Abuja on May 28-29, the APC announced yesterday that its presidential primary initially billed for May 30 and June 1 is now scheduled to hold on May 29-30, 2022.
Addressing journalists yesterday after the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) meeting, the APC national publicity secretary, Morka, said the party approved a revised timetable and schedule of activities.
He said, “The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress has made and approved a revised timetable schedule of activities for the House of Assembly, National Assembly and governorship primaries.
“And appeals that arise from that governorship and House of Representatives primary election will now take place on Thursday, the 26th of May, 2022. The Senate and House of Assembly primaries will now take place on Friday the 27th May, 2022.”
The election appeals for governorship and the House of Representatives, according to Morka, will now be held on Friday, May 27, 2022, while the appeals for the Senate and House of Assembly primaries would take place on May 28, 2022. “Our special convention on presidential primaries will now take place between Sunday 29th May and Monday 30th of May 2022,” the publicity scribe stated.
He however noted that the mode of primary to elect the presidential candidate of the party would be made known in the guidelines that would be made available by the party. He added that the leadership of the party is yet to take any decision on the zoning of its presidential ticket.
On Thursday, National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP had in a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) jointly signed by the national chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, and the national secretary, Sen Samuel Anyanwu, stated new dates for the party’s primaries as follows: House of Assembly – Saturday 21st of May; House of Representatives – Sunday 22nd of May; Senate – Monday 23rd of May; governorship – Wednesday, May 25.
The letter added: “In the case of the South Eastern region, due to the sit at home currently observed on Mondays, the Senate primaries will now hold on Tuesday, 24 2022 in the South East zone.”
Meanwhile, when contacted about the seeming game of hide-and-seek between the two political parties, the PDP national publicity secretary, Hon Debo Ologunagba, said the party is more focused on ensuring that it conducts a successful convention, rather than being bothered about whether or not the APC was shadowing them.
He added that if the APC is copying any of their activities it shows that the governing party admires what the PDP is doing, adding that PDP has nothing to admire about the APC.
Ologunagba noted that PDP is more concerned about producing a president that will rescue Nigeria from the mess the APC has made of the country.
“We do not notice anything about what the APC is doing because there is nothing to pursue there. We are focused on what we are doing. We are not bothered about what they are doing. In any event, if they have to copy some things from us, they must have admired something that we have done. It shows that we are an organised party.”
He added, “We are focused on our national convention. Our aspirants and delegates are working around the states. And above all, we are working hard to rescue Nigeria from the situation the ruling party has put it in. We are looking at the big issues that are affecting the country, the anxiety in the land and all other challenges. That is what we are concerned about.”
But when contacted on the issue the APC spokesman, Bar Felix Morka, declined comment saying, “Please, this is not a good time.”
Race Between Amaechi And Me, Says Badaru
Meanwhile, Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, has subtly endorsed his fellow presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, saying the Transportation minister has the qualities of the kind of leader Nigeria needs. Badaru spoke yesterday during Amaechi’s consultative meeting with him, the leadership of the APC and delegates in Dutse, the Jigawa State State capital.
He said, “Your Excellency, our leader in APC, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, it is indeed my pleasure to receive my friend, a friend in this struggle. I know what we have done to keep this party alive today. I know what we have done to make sure we succeed in the 2019 elections. I don’t know too much about 2015, but I know that our guests have played a key role in bringing APC into power. “One thing I respect about my big brother and friend (Amaechi) is that what you see is what you get. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t pretend. He says it straight, and that’s the quality of leaders this country needs.
“Some of you might begin to think, ‘Ah, Badaru you are also a Presidential aspirant,’ but I assure you, there’s no contest between me and Amaechi. We belong to one father and we respect one father, and for sure, we will move in the same direction. We are all the children of President Muhammadu Buhari who loves us dearly and respects us, and whatever we do certainly must have his blessing, and that blessing we respect. “So Jigawa delegates, when you think of me, think of Amaechi too. I can tell you, there is no contest. On that day, either I run or he runs. But the two of us will never run (against each other),” Badaru said. On his part, Amaechi thanked the governor and delegates, and urged them to shun sentiments and vote for him at the APC presidential Primaries because of his capacity and competence.
Also speaking, former Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, testified of Amaechi’s leadership prowess and how he fought militancy in Rivers State to a standstill as Governor of the State, while he (Abba) was the Commissioner of Police in the State and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai was the 2 Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt.
Atiku Vows To Crush Bandits
Meanwhile, former vice president and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said there would be no hiding place for bandits if he emerges president of Nigeria in 2023.
He vowed to end the menace of banditry and other related forms of crime and criminality in the nation, adding that the unity of the nation is a task that must be done with a view to restoring the integrity and prestige of the country tarnished by the APC administration.
Speaking when he met with the Katsina State PDP yesterday at the party secretariat to seek their votes ahead of the forthcoming presidential primary, Atiku promised to focus on education, restore peace and order, revive the economy and make power devolution to the state and local government visible in his administration.
While faulting the APC administration under President Buhari, he said locating bandits’ hideout to get rid of their gory activities and doing the needful would be the major prime in his governance agenda if he is elected to govern the country.
The former vice president also claimed he won the 2019 election in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, and Yobe, adding that the APC rigged the results to their favour, even as he assured that it would not repeat again. Atiku urged the delegates to give him their mandates just as they did in 2019 in order to rescue Nigeria from the hands of APC.
Kwankwaso, Shekarau Form Alliance Against APC, PDP In Kano
Former governor of Kano State and Senator representing Kano Central, Ibraim Shekarau, yesterday dumped his party, the APC, for the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) controlled by Senator RabiuKwankwaso.
Shekarau, one of the founding members of APC, moved to the NNPP alongside thousands of his supporters. The former governor announced his defection at his Bompai GRA residence in Kano. Shekarau was seen with Kwankwaso, another former governor of the state, signing a register before obtaining the membership registration card of the NNPP, amidst loud cheers from thousands of supporters.
Shekarau had in 2014 defected from the APC to the PDP after protesting that the APC has given the party’s structure in Kano to Kwankwaso, who was the governor at the time, following the latter’s defection to the APC from the PDP.
Again, in the buildup to the 2019 election, Shekarau rejoined the APC in 2018 after the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP dissolved the Kano State executive committee of the party and constituted a caretaker committee allegedly to favour Kwankwaso who returned to the PDP.
Kwankwaso and Shekarau who used to be sworn political adversaries deemed it fit to form an alliance against the two major parties in the country. Shekarau confirmed that he had dumped the APC, saying his rift with the governor of Kano State “was institutional, not personal.” Shekarau while speaking during an interview on ‘Politics Today’, a Channels TV programme, also said he had defected to the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). He also argued that he did not at any point make a bogus demand from the party, but was rather asking for equitable distribution of the party’s seats.
He also maintained that party politics is different from governance, saying he carried everyone along when he was the state governor. “It is very true. I left APC as a result of many developments over the last couple of weeks or even months. I consulted with the various constituencies that I represent before leaving the party,” he said. Ganduje and Shekarau factions in Kano State had earlier held parallel congresses and produced two sets of state executives on October 18, 2021.
The national leadership of the party had recognised the congresses of the Ganduje group, leading to the other faction heading to the court. The Supreme Court, however, affirmed the Governor Ganduje-led factional leadership of the APC) in Kano as the authentic leadership of the state chapter.
Shekarau also blamed the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, for failing to call the two warring parties to a meeting. He said it was unfortunate that the rift between his faction and that of the state governor was dragged to the Supreme Court which opted to be settled internally. He noted: “The Appeal Court judge directed the party should put its head as one but unfortunately that was done. The Supreme Court judgement also repeats the same. “So, it looks like the party was not ready for us to meet with us and find a lasting solution.”
He boasted that his current party would work to win the governorship seat in Kano State. “We will work with the right mind to achieve it. If you calculate to win the governorship seat in Kano it is acceptable politically. We will join hands together with great minds to make Kano great. The Kano people believe in us,” he added.