All Progressives Congress (APC) Thursday named Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong as the Director-General of its presidential campaign for the 2023 elections.
APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu said this while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
The APC chairman was accompanied to the State House by the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
He said Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN), was appointed the interim spokesperson for the APC presidential campaign council.
Answering a question on how the party arrived at the choice of Governor Lalong as the Director-General of the party, the APC chairman said it was based on his ability to deliver.
He said the party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket for the 2023 elections is a positive development for the country’s politics.
“Yes, we have been hearing concerns being expressed. In the APC, we believe very strongly that no matter what description, no matter what faith you will associate with any one of our candidates, we are first and foremost Nigerians.
“There is no doubt in the fact that we have people whose stock trade is on some of these religious issues. Just like you have people expressing fears or concerns about a Muslim-Muslim ticket, there are Christians that welcome it as a positive development in Nigerian politics. They are Nigerians,” he said.
The APC chairman said the party recognised the concerns and would put them to rest before the election which is seven months away.
Adamu said: “We are extremely sensitive to some of these sensitivities of fellow Nigerians or fellow members of our party. But the fact of the matter is, one issue does not determine a candidate or determine victory.
“The party has taken a very careful deep look at the Nigerian situation and the political space. And we believe very strongly that notwithstanding the expression that we’re hearing, we will be working on amicable solutions to the sentiment and we’re very sure by the grace of God we’ll put them to rest before the elections.”
Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate, Senator Shettima, said the same-faith arguments were the machinations of a petrified opposition.
Citing the Ribadu-Bafarawa presidential ticket of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 general elections, Shettima urged Nigerians to focus on issues and not the faith of the candidates.
“In 2011, the presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidate of the ACN. Both of them were Muslims. Nobody raised an eyebrow. Now, the opposition has seen a winning combination and they are petrified, deep down to the marrow of their bones.
“We will not trade in insults, lies and mischiefs. We have established a track record of excellence. Let our opponents show what they have done in their respective states. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s discuss issues.
“How to propel this nation to greatness is much more important than playing on the sentiments of Nigerians. Poverty knows no religion or ethnicity, insecurity knows no religion or ethnicity,” he said.
…TSO’s coordinator too
In a related development, the Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO) has unveiled Hajiya Mariam Buhari as new national coordinator.
The group also announced Mrs. Ayodele Fatunsin as the new deputy national coordinator.
Announcing the new appointments Thursday in Abuja, TSO’s national secretary, Otunba Gboyega Bada said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the political spirit, the moving force that every political party reckons with it. He is the easiest product for us to market. As of today in the present-day Nigerian democracy, the first person you talk about is Asiwaju. He is a political strategist; he is a builder of men, a financial guru.”
Eulogising the leadership acumen of the APC flag bearer, Bada said:”There is no other person than the Jagaban of Africa who has touched the lives of many, not only in Lagos but across and beyond the country and that is why APC decided to designate him as the National Leader. If you mention the relevance of anybody in politics, it is to the people.
“If you have any issues in Borno, Asiwaju will ask you to go and meet so so people, the same thing in the east, the same thing in the west. So, he has that capacity and a strong political force; political spirit in politics.”
The TSO leader further said ahead of next year’s election, the group had carried out a restructuring that would enhance the performance and delivery of the presidential aspiration of Tinubu as President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
Announcing the new leaders of the group, Bada said: “Today, we decided to have a sort of restructuring to enhance our performance. We must increase our communication within and outside the organisation, and our collaboration with other groups propagating the emergence of our principal as the next President of Nigeria.
“In this regard, we now agree that a small restructure and the appointment of a National Coordinator and a Deputy National Coordinator is the only thing that has changed.
“There is a unanimous decision that Hajiya Mariam Buhari, wife of the Deputy Governor of Katsina State be appointed as the National Coordinator. We need someone who has that capacity, who can move, who has unhindered access not only to our principals but to all regions, leaders in APC and other groups because in the Tinubu Support Organisation, we are looking for voters; voters where we can find and that is the reason for appointing her as the National Coordinator.
“We went further to agree that another woman is appointed too, from the south as Deputy National Coordinator. Let me also say that because of the exigency of the situation now we have to move TSO for better performance. The name of the Deputy national coordinator Mrs Ayodele Fatunsin.”
Accepting her appointment, Hajiya Buhari said: “I have been the northwest Coordinator of President Muhamadu Buhari in 2015 where I played a vital role. I worked and I have the recommendation, I have credibility and I have the result for then. So, this time around too, I am sure, I am capable to bring out massive results and massive votes for Bola Ahmed Tinubu In sha Allah.”
On her plan to deliver North-west, Buhari said: “Before the appointment today, I have already put together my structure for the campaign. I assure you and I have 100 per cent assurance for all Nigerians that North-west zone, we are going to deliver Asiwaju by the grace of God. My structure is already on the ground, I have gone far. I have reached the entire North-west zone. I compiled my structure both with the challenge of insecurity but In sha Allah we are going to succeed by the grace of Almighty Allah.”
Also, the PDP presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has appointed Senator Dino Melaye and Dr. Daniel Bwala as his campaign spokespersons. Bwala, a former APC chieftain joined the PDP last week.
A statement Thursday by Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said the two appointments took immediate effect.
The statement partly read: “Malaye is a politician and a member of the 8th Senate, who represented Kogi West Senatorial district. He hails from Ayetoro Gbede in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
“Bwala, on the other hand, is a legal practitioner, politician and public affairs analyst. He hails from Borno State.”