President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed optimism that he would win the forthcoming presidential election, saying “victory is with us”.
The president spoke at the inaugural meeting of the 2019 APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He appealed to the members of the council to be dedicated and committed to the task ahead.
“I would like to appeal to you to dedicate and commit yourself once again to the task at hand. There is no doubt that victory is with us: it is ours, but that shouldn’t mean we should rest even for a moment.
“Even though we are confident of winning, I urge you to work as hard as you can so that we can maximise the scale and extent of our victory.
“I urge you to rise to the challenge of the great expectations this party and Nigerians have for you and the confidence that I personally have in the ability of all of you to deliver,” he said.
The president urged the council members to ensure a smooth campaign and a resounding victory for the party and its candidates.
“Needless to add, your selection was not easy, because in forming this council, the party settled only for the best. You are the cream of the party and I assure you that with unity of purpose and effective harmony and communication, there is no political opponent you cannot overcome,” he said.
He said the agenda for the inaugural meeting was to consider and approve the structure and operational modalities of the campaign council.
All the 22 APC governors were absent at the meeting.
They are Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow (Adamawa), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Abudullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa) and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger).
Others are Simon Lalong (Plateau), Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo).
The governors, according to the list of the council members released by the Presidency, are to serve as state coordinators in their respective states, while gubernatorial candidates in non-APC states will serve as state coordinators in their respective states.
Contacted, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the governors weren’t in attendance, “because they are governors, they are governing their states.
“Don’t forget that elections are not defined in Abuja, it will take place in the 36 states and I’m sure there are APC members who are campaigning for the House of Assembly, various federal house and senate constituencies, governorship constituencies. So, it will not be helpful to bring them to Abuja. Here it is about policies, it will be consummated and translated to practice across the 36 states, 774 local governments and wards,” he said.
Oshiomhole said “The whole country is Mr. President’s constituency, so he will have to visit each of the 36 states with appropriate message, reminding people always. You know in the country today, given the challenges of survival tend to forget where we are coming from, they just look at where we are.
“There is a saying that except you know and remember where you are coming from, you cannot appreciate where you are. “Even in the life of a man, those who look at those in their front will never thank God enough but when you look at your back and see those behind, you will appreciate that you have made a lot of progress.”
However, speaking on the absence of APC governors at the event, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha said there is no cause for alarm.
Okorocha said all the APC governors were present at the inauguration of the council by President Muhammadu Buhari and so got to work immediately which, he said, explained their absence at the meeting.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said it is not in doubt that all APC governors are committed to the re-election of Buhari and urged their supporters and loyalists not to yield to the antics of the opposition, who might want to capitalize on everything to score cheap political points.