All Progressives Congress, APC, may have readjusted its plans to unleash President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory charm on five states it regards as strongholds of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of this weekend’s governorship and state Assembly polls.
Plans by the President to visit the five states, including Delta, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kwara and Taraba, Vanguard learned, have been cancelled. Another state that had been included in the campaign itinerary of the President was Imo State.
Though controlled by APC, the party is under stress in the state on account of multiple crises among tendencies in the state chapter and the face-off between the governor and National Working Committee, NWC, of the party. Instead of the President, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was on call in Delta and Akwa Ibom states, two states the APC is battling to pave the way for it into the heart of Niger Delta.
Further uncertainty about the Presidency’s plans surfaced, yesterday, as it was learned that tomorrow’s planned visits to three PDP-controlled northern states of Kwara, Sokoto and Taraba had been cancelled. APC A similar visit to Imo State earlier scheduled for yesterday, according to Presidency sources, was cancelled at the last minute.
It could not be confirmed at press time why the visits to the five states were cancelled. A senior official of APC contacted on the development feigned ignorance of the reasons for the cancellation. Presidency officials also did not respond to phone calls and text messages sent to them at press time.
Kwara and Sokoto states had been particularly on the radar of the APC, ahead of the presidential elections. The President won the two states albeit marginally, despite having PDP governors who recently defected from APC to the opposition party. His visit was expected to give further impetus to the plans to upend the political control of the two states.
However, the cancellation of the visit to Imo State was, yesterday, being framed on the need to avoid the Ogun scenario. Vanguard, however, gathered that plans for the president to bolster APC in Kaduna State on Thursday is expected to go ahead.
Osinbajo meet stakeholders in Delta, Akwa Ibom
Yesterday, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo took the president’s place in strategic meetings with chieftains of the party in Delta and Akwa Ibom states. A source present at the meeting noted that the vice-president also promised to look into complaints that officials of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, compromised.
The source said: “He asked us to close ranks ahead of the governorship election and heard our complaints about lack of security during the presidential election that facilitated the violence and intimidation that characterised the presidential election. ‘’The vice-president also promised to expedite work on the railway project, East-West Road and the dredging of the Warri Port.”
President should not misuse his office — PDP
Ahead of the visit, Delta State chapter of PDP has, however, cautioned the president not to misuse his office for illicit political ends.
The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, in a statement, said the visit was in bad taste, wondering why the president chose to visit only Warri. The party also advised the president not to abuse his office, adding that he should not attempt to manipulate the electoral process of March 9 with the visit. According to the statement, “we urge the President not to get involved in sinister contrivances by working to use his office as President, to scheme and manipulate the electoral process.
“We say this because of the March 9, 2019 governorship and state House of Assembly elections, as we have it on good authority that Buhari’s trip is not altruistic, and has nothing to do with the good and progress of Delta State.
“It is, indeed, a thing of shame that President Buhari will ignore other very important and urgent state matters to come to Warri to be at the head of a despicable scheme to manipulate and swing votes in favour of the unpopular APC and its candidates.”
The vice-president was at press time expected in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital. “We condemn the president’s insensitivity to the sensibilities of the people of Delta State who have taken PDP as their party.
‘’We also decry the shameful, slimy drive of Buhari and his detestable mission to use the power of State to secretly get the various agencies of the Federal Government, namely, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the police, the military and other security agencies to intimidate and harass PDP supporters, voters and subvert their democratic will and foist on the State an unpopular APC and its candidate.”