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2023: Tinubu drops Aregbesola, Kalu, Nnamani others from campaign council

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Orji Uzor Kalu and Bola Tinubu

A former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has been dropped from the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also dropped from the Bola Tinubu’s campaign team is a former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, and that of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, as well as Kassim Afegbua, a former commissioner for information in Edo State.

Their names were missing from the reviewed PCC list released by the National Secretary of the APC, Iyiola Omisore, late Wednesday.

The initial list released in September by the PCC Secretary, James Faleke, had their names as members of the council in different categories.

The council was constituted to coordinate the campaign of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, for the 25 February election.

It was earlier reported how governors under the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) threatened to sabotage the campaign over the old list, which they claimed ignored their nominated persons.

Also, there was a letter that allegedly emanated from the office of the National Chairman of the Party, Abdullahi Adamu, rejecting the composition of the PCC. However, the party disowned the letter.

The Chairman of the PGF, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, and the Director General of the PCC, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, had reportedly worked on the list to factor in the interest of some senior members of the party.

As a result, the inauguration of the PCC and the flag-off of the campaign were suspended.

Two weeks ago, the governors met with the NWC members to resolve the matter.

Aregbesola, Nnamani, Kalu excluded
In the old list, Mr Aregbesola and some former governors were listed under local government mobilisation.

The former governor of Osun State, and a known political ally of Mr Tinubu, recently had a frosty relationship with the APC presidential candidate over the last Osun State governorship election.

The minister had opposed the second-term ambition of his successor, Gboyega Oyetola, a relation of Mr Tinubu.

In the course of the tussle, Mr Aregbesola had in a video made some unsavoury remarks against Mr Tinubu, whom he served under as works commissioner from 1999 to 2007 when he (Tinubu) was Lagos governor.

In the viral video, the minister was seen castigated Mr Tinubu over the political situation in Osun.

“We exalted him (Tinubu) beyond his status and he turned himself to a god over us and we had sworn to ridicule anyone who compared himself to God,” Mr Aregbesola had said during a meeting of the faction of APC he leads.

The appearance of Mr Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu State and currently a PDP Senator, in the first list generated controversy on social media.

Bayo Onanuga, one of the spokespersons of the PCC, had in a statement defended the inclusion of Mr Nnamani, noting that he was included in the council because of his personal relationship with Mr Tinubu.

Mr Nnamani, in August, used his verified Twitter handle, to praise Mr Tinubu, for the reforms in the administration of criminal justice, education, healthcare and employment of non-indigenes when he was governor of Lagos State.

Mr Kalu, who is the Senate chief whip, was removed as the APC presidential campaign coordinator for Abia state, according to the reviewed list of the PCC released by the party late Wednesday.

He was listed as the coordinator for Abia alongside the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Ikechi Emenike.

However, according to the new list, Mr Emenike is now the sole coordinator of the party’s campaign in the South-east state.

Mr Kalu had signified interest to jostle for the APC presidential ticket on the ground that the ticket was micro-zoned to the South-east. He later withdrew from the race and backed Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

A self-confessed non-APC member, Mr Afegbua was included in the initial list as secretary of the public affairs directorate. However, he has now been replaced with Gideon Obakahan in the new list.

The former commissioner for information in Edo State has stated it repeatedly that he is not a member of the ruling party, but a supporter of the APC presidential candidate.

Another change to the list is the Labour Directorate, where Bobboi Kaigama, the former Trade Union Congress (TUC) president, was initially listed as the director.

But in the new list, a former Deputy President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, is now the director of the unit

The new list of the PCC also include all NWC members, all APC National Assembly members, all federal executive members, all former governors and deputy governors who are members of APC, all former APC NWC members and all APC National Executive Council members.

Others are all serving APC speakers, deputy speakers and principal officers of State Houses of Assembly, all APC former speakers of state assemblies, all APC state chairmen and all APC candidates of national and state assemblies.

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, are still not included in the new list.

The ruling party had explained that Presidential Muhammadu Buhari directed that they should be excused from the campaign team to enable them focus on governance during the campaign season.

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