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120 Days To Election, Presidential Candidates Drag Feet With Campaigns

With just 120 days until the 2023 presidential election, candidates and their political parties are yet to make any meaningful progress with their presidential campaigns.

Campaigns for the presidential polls kick-started on the 28th of September, 2022, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published the final list of candidates for national elections.

However, one month after, it appears not much has been done with campaign schedules and campaign councils for some of the parties.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) are the frontline candidates.

In this report, THE WHISTLER looks at the progress they have made with their presidential campaigns so far.

BOLA AHMED TINUBU

President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Campaign Council of the APC at the State House on the 21st of October, 2022.

Prior to the inauguration of the council, it was evident that there was a division on the campaign council list between Tinubu and APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu after a leaked letter allegedly written by Adamu accused the presidential candidate of appointing members of the Presidential Campaign Council without the approval of the APC National Working Committee.  

The APC candidate has also released an 80-page manifesto for his presidential bid.

He is, however, yet to release a campaign timetable and he has been absent at a number of stakeholder interactions.

The former Lagos governor has also not granted any media interview to tell Nigerians how he intends to govern the country if elected.

ATIKU ABUBAKAR

The crisis rocking the PDP appears to have affected the presidential campaign of Atiku.

The insistence of the presidential candidate on keeping PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, had driven a wedge between him and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State with Wike’s camp pulling out of Atiku’s presidential campaign.

Those on Wike’s side include former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Olabode George, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; former Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Jonah Jang of Plateau, former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke among several others.

The PDP candidate is also yet to announce a campaign timetable while rallies held in Akwa-Ibom and Benin recorded low turnouts. Atiku’s rally in Kaduna was marred by violence after hoodlums invaded the venue with swords and machetes.

Although Atiku released a policy document, he is yet to officially release a manifesto for his 2023 presidential bid. The former vice president is currently in the United States to hold a weeklong electioneering campaign with Nigerians and other business communities.

PETER OBI

The presidential campaign of Obi also appears to be suffering from a lack of coordination after the Presidential Campaign Council list released by his campaign office was greeted with criticism by a number of his supporters and party insiders.

While Obi has since promised that an updated list will be released, the party has gone ahead to inaugurate members named by the DG of the campaign organization, Doyin Okupe.

Also, the campaign timetable of the former Anambra governor has been moved at least three times for a variety of reasons.

The campaign kick-off date was initially moved from the 18th to the 25th of October, 2022. It was then shifted again to the 29th of October after Obi suspended campaigns to visit flood victims.

Unlike other aspirants, Obi has granted a great deal of media interviews and interacted with various professional organizations and socio-cultural groups although he is yet to release his campaign manifesto.

RABIU KWANKWASO

The campaign train of the NNPP presidential candidate has been moving at the slowest, as he is yet to name a campaign council, release a manifesto or announce a campaign schedule.

Asides from opening campaign offices nationwide and an appearance at an Eid Maulud celebration in Kaduna, Kwankwaso appears to have gone underground fuelling speculations that he might drop out of the race and throw his weight behind either Tinubu or Atiku.

Spokesperson of Kwankwaso’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ladipo Johnson had promised that the NNPP manifesto will be released last week, but it was not.

Ladipo also insisted that the former Kano State governor is not ready to step down for anybody.

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