Fourteen days after the ban on public campaigns was lifted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for 25th of February presidential and National Assembly elections, three major presidential contenders are yet to kick off their campaigns. While the three presidential candidates in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC), Peter Obi (LP) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP), are yet to formally commence their campaigns for the presidency, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, flagged off his campaign in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday.
On the side of the APC, the delay can be alluded to the crisis within its fold over the composition of the presidential campaign team as stakeholders have been holding various meetings. In one of the meetings attended by some APC governors, the National Working Committee (NWC) and other stakeholders, the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, said the party would lose the 2023 poll without the input of its governors. Some APC governors were said to be aggrieved on the grounds that their nominees were not included in the campaign council. Following the bitter event that greeted the list, the director general of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, announced the postponement of their inauguration to pave way for the inclusion of more party stakeholders in a statement. However the spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said yesterday that the final list will be released this week, after which a date for the formal kick off of campaign will be announced.
A conflict of interests between some stakeholders in the Labour party and the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, might be responsible for the delay in commencing campaign in Labour Party as various people are now fighting to be relevant in the party as a whole. Reacting to the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Arabambi Abayomi said: “Our campaign council will be holistic, it is going to be all-inclusive, not people that move from APC to PDP at all times. We are the only party that has a manifesto; we have ample time to kick-start our campaign. Because of the yearning of the people for positive change, we have to include everyone; that is the reason we have not put together our campaign council. But between now and the next few days, we are going to inaugurate our campaign council. We remain the party to beat,” he said.
The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) on the other hand is yet to constitute its presidential campaign council and kick start electioneering rallies. We however gathered from a reliable source in the party that the campaign council will soon be inaugurated and campaigns will kick off. He said the delay was as a result of logistics issues as the party was still putting things in place for the presidential campaign headquarters in Abuja, and once it is fixed, it will be open for use, the council will be constituted, and they will start work there.