Ben Ayade of Cross River State has vowed not to support the presidential candidate during the campaign “since the party leaders have demonstrated to know more than him in his state.”
The governor was surprised that none of the people he recommended were mentioned by the party after submitting lists of those he thought would successfully mobilize voters for the presidential candidate in Cross River
Some aggrieved North-west APC governors have threatened to withdraw their support for Mr Tinubu should they continue to be disregarded.
The Bola Tinubu presidential campaign is being sabotaged in some states by governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who are currently in power.
The disgruntled governors, acting through the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), charged the party and its candidate, Mr. Tinubu, with ignoring their nominations to the presidential campaign council.
The campaign council’s 422 members, many of whom will work at the regional and state levels to ensure Mr. Tinubu and his running mate Kashim Shettima’s victory in the 2023 presidential election, were announced as part of the campaign council’s constitution on Saturday by James Faleke, the APC’s secretary.
Prior to that, according to sources with direct knowledge of the request, the party’s leadership had asked the governors via the PGF secretariat to designate individuals in each of their states to be members of the presidential campaign council. Each governor was asked to submit a list of five candidates.
The governors were shocked to learn that Mr. Tinubu and the party had changed their nominees without their consent with others from their respective states.
The PGF chairman and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, the APC chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, and the director general of the PGF secretariat, according to high-ranking party insiders, have received several complaints from the governors on the composition of the campaign council.
In one case, according to the officials, Cross River Governor Ben Ayade vowed not to support the presidential candidate during the campaign “since the party leaders have demonstrated to know more than him in his state.”
The governor was surprised that none of the people he recommended were mentioned by the party after submitting lists of those he thought would successfully mobilize voters for the presidential candidate in Cross River. Mr. Ayade had run for the party’s presidential nomination but was unsuccessful.
An insider who pleaded not to be identified because he is not allowed to speak to journalists on this subject said that the governor of Kwara, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, is claiming that he submitted five names but only saw one entry on the list. “The governor claimed that seven people from Kwara are on the list, and they are all members of the same local government.”
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredelu, who was listed as the coordinator of the South-West campaign, also complained to the party’s leadership that the names of the people he selected were overlooked. Before and after Mr. Tinubu was chosen as the party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Akeredolu was spotted supporting him.
The insider told PREMIUM TIMES that “if the list is genuine, it implies that the party and the candidate are not serious about the campaign.” “We think that the governors have the most electoral sway at the state level, and if the governors nominated people to the campaign council and they were ignored, that indicates trouble.”
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, certain APC governors in the northern region are upset that Mr. Tinubu hasn’t included them in the campaign process so far. “The APC presidential candidate does not trust any of them except from those around him,” the governors are afraid to say.
The governors, especially in the North-west, believe their political futures are not secured in the hands of Mr Tinubu, whom they had accused of sidelining them. They believe his handling of the campaign council list has suggested he lacks respect for the governors’
Sources with knowledge of the thinking in the aggrieved governors’ circle and opposition politics said the disagreement is creating an opportunity for the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to strategise for the backing of the North-west APC governors.
The North-west governors, particularly, are said to be threatening to withdraw their support should they continue to be disregarded.
Contacted to know what the campaign council is doing to address the agitations of the governors, Mr Faleke declined calls placed to his line. He also failed to respond to a text message inquiring about efforts being made by the party to stem the looming sabotage.
Controversies had trailed the release of the party’s campaign council list on Saturday. There were speculations that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo declined membership of the committee due to his opposition to APC’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.
But Festus Keyamo, the APC campaign spokesperson, said it was President Muhammadu Buhari who advised that Mr Osinbajo be exempted from the campaign council due to his important role in administering the country pending the handover of power.
Campaigns for the 2023 national elections will officially kick off on 28 September ahead while that of governorship and state houses of assembly will commence on October 12 this year, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).