Canvassers for a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday formally opened shop with a vow that Buhari, who is presently receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment in the United Kingdom is the best person to take the country beyond 2019.
The move by the campaigners came as it emerged that other potential presidential aspirants waiting in the wings in the All Progressives Congress, APC, have successfully infiltrated the party’s National Working Committee, NWC with party leaders pledging loyalty to different potential aspirants.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina when contacted expressed ignorance about the development. “I am not aware of this,” Mr. Adesina said yesterday.
The same sigh of ignorance was expressed by some of those in the front of the Buhari 2015 campaign, reflecting the exclusive story published by this paper last Saturday that rival structures different from those, who canvassed for Buhari in 2014/15 were warming up to battle over who should lead the campaign for a possible 2019 campaign.
The campaigners for Buhari’s second term, who met in Abeokuta yesterday under the banner of Buhari Campaign Organisation came from the six geopolitical zones to “rejuvenate” the Buhari campaign structure in the South-west.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, Chairman of BCO’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Alhaji Kabiru Dutsin-Ma said their move was to ensure that the legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari endured.
He said: “Since President Buhari occupied the office of President he has done a lot and most Nigerians are aware of the development. We are going to do our best to enlighten the public about the development”.
The National Coordinator of BCO, Danladi Pasali also highlighted some of the achievements of President Buhari in the economy, infrastructure, and war against corruption among others. Members of the BCO Board of Trustees present at the meeting included Hassan Isiyaka (Sarki Kudu), Amb. (Dr). Abdullahi Bawa Wase and Alhaji Salisu Garba (Sarki Fulani Sagamu)
The Acting National Secretary of BCO Deaconess Rita Solari Inko-Tariah, Deputy National Co-ordinator of BCO Chief Daniel Omofezi, Ekiti State BCO coordinator, Chief Otetola Tunde together with some traditional rulers in Abeokuta among others were also present at the meeting.
Meanwhile, among the prospective presidential aspirants and national chieftains, who have divided the APC National Working Committee, NWC, are a top senator, a top national leader, Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso and Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
At the head of the senator’s lobby in the NWC, Saturday Vanguard learnt is the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who like some members of the NWC were compelled to retrace their steps of antagonism towards the Senator who has survived all the intrigues that were set against him.
A very prominent party official who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on the condition of anonymity yesterday said Odigie-Oyegun and the NWC were forced to review their relationship with the senator after they realised that the battle against him was mainly because he opposed the aspiration of another party chieftain to be the running mate on the 2015 presidential ticket.
The party source said most senators who were hitherto against the senator are now behind him, “having realized that they had been chasing shadows. Those who opposed his emergence, thinking the President did not like him, are now supporting him because those senators did not even have access to see the president. All they were told, was, this is the president’s body language. How can a country like Nigeria be doing things not based on clear instructions but on someone’s body language?”
Besides Odigie-Oyegun, who it is claimed was supported to the office of national chairman by Ahmed Tinubu, another person aligned to the senator is the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. Abdullahi, a former commissioner in Kwara State, was widely believed to have been removed as minister of sports in the Goodluck Jonathan cabinet because of his allegiance to the senator. We gathered that the senator has not made his intentions clear but many party men are turning to him to provide leadership as he appears to command respect among leaders of the party.
The party’s two deputy national chairmen; Senator Lawali Shuaibu (North) and former Governor Segun Oni (South) are believed to be aligned towards the political interest of the national leader who has not also declared interest but capable of dictating the pace and swinging the pendulum to where his heart is. The National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, on his part remains unwavering in his allegiance to the powers in the presidency.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Timi Frank who has fallen out with many in the NWC is himself an unrepentant loyalist of Atiku Abubakar, one of the party chieftains believed to be quietly mobilizing for a presidential run in 2019 within the APC and if not, outside the party.
Remarkably, Frank’s position came to him on a platter from Senator Wamakko who had the position conceded to him.
Senator Wamakko also has the loyalty of the National Vice Chairman, (Northwest) Inuwa Abdulkadir. Some have picked on the relationship between Wamakko and Abdulkadir as part of the reasons for the bad blood between Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Abdulkadir.
The fence of Abdulkadir’s residence in Kaduna was recently pulled down for alleged violation of the building regulations of the state.
It is claimed in some circles that Governor El-Rufai is seen as a possible threat to whatever presidential aspiration that may arise from the alliance of Wamakko, Kwankwanso and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
On his part, the National Treasurer, Mohammed Gwargwawa is a strong loyalist of Senator Kwankwaso.