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HomeBreaking NewsLalong, Keyamo named DG, Spokesman for APC Presidential Campaign Council

Lalong, Keyamo named DG, Spokesman for APC Presidential Campaign Council

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has named the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong as the Director General of Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, while the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo as the spokesman.

Adamu made the announcement while briefing State House correspondents after they met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Thursday in Abuja, along with the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Senators Kashim Shettima.

He disclosed that the essence of the meeting was to intimate the President as well as sought for his approval on the party’s plans regarding the campaign council organisation.

Speaking on the constitution of the party’s presidential campaign organisation, Adamu said APC arrived at the choice of the Plateau State governor, Lalong, purely on reasons of ability.

Responding to questions, the APC chairman insisted that the Muslim Muslim ticket of the party would not hinder the party from winning the 2023 general elections.

According to him, the Tinubu and Shetimma have a track record of achievements and excellence, emphasizing that what the country needs at the moment was the right leadership with people who have the competence.

Adamu further said, it would be an act of sabotage for any member of the party to play up the issue of religion instead of supporting the party to ensure victory in the 2023 election, even as he strongly warned that there will be consequences for anyone who attempt to ply such route.

“We in the APC are talking to our members in relation to the issue of religion in the choice of candidates, saying that anything short of support for the candidates would be sabotage”, Adamu said.
“The person who is going to be the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Organization is His Excellency, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, he will lead campaign.

“We have an interim spokesperson of the campaign organization, in the person of Honourable Festus Keyamo. Deputy spokesperson will be Barrister Hannatu Musawa and we’re hoping and praying for your maximum cooperation in presenting us the best way possible”, he said.

“Yes, we have been hearing concerns being expressed. In the APC, we believe very strongly, that no matter what description, no matter what faith you will associate with any one of our candidates, we are first and foremost Nigerians.

“There is no doubt in the fact that we have people whose stock in trade on some of these religious issues. Just like you have people expressing fears, or concerns about a Muslim-Muslim ticket, there are Christians that welcome it as a positive development, in Nigerian politics. They are Nigerians,” he said.

He, however, disclosed that the party recognized the concerns and will “put them to rest” before the election which is seven months away.

“We are extremely sensitive to some of these sensitivities of fellow Nigerians or fellow members of our party, but the fact of the matter is, one issue does not determine a candidate or determine victory.

“The party has taken a very careful deep look at the Nigerian situation and the political space and we believe very strongly that notwithstanding the expression that we’re hearing, we will be working on amicable solutions to the sentiment and we’re very sure by the grace of God we’ll put them to rest before the elections,” he said.

On his appointment as the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign, Lalong said he would be able to discharge his duties considering his leadership positions as the Governor of Plateau state as well as Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum.

Shettima also spoke on the Muslim Muslim ticket, boasting that himself and Tinubu have track record of achievements and excellence, saying, “Let us discuss issues, how to propel the nation to greatness is what we should discuss.”

“We’re on the same page with Mr. President regarding our organogram and the individuals that are going to play different roles within the organizational structure of the campaign outfits.

Also speaking, vice presidential candidate of the party, Shettima, described the preoccupation of some people with the arguments on his party’s same-faith ticket as a distraction from the real issues facing the country, pointing out that both Asiwaju Tinubu and himself, as running mate, have track records that Nigerians ought to be consider ahead of religion.

Citing the Ribadu-Bafarawa presidential ticket of the Action Congress of Nigerian in the 2011 general elections, Shettima urged Nigerians to focus on issues and not the faith of the candidates.

According to him, “in 2011, the presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidate of the ACN. Both of them were Muslims. Nobody raised an eyebrow. Now, the opposition have seen a winning combination and they are petrified, deep down to the marrow of their bones.

“What Nigeria needs right now is a leadership that will drive the transformation process. Sadly a section of the press is being used as conveyor belt for spreading lies and mischief, … on blackmail, or concoctions or exaggerated facts.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a track record of excellence. If you keep on stopping to throw stones at every dog that barks you, you will not reach your destination. We’re not trading insults and lies and mischief, we have established track records of excellence. Let our opponents show what they have done in their respective states.

“I brought forward Professor Babagana Zulum and I have ten others lined up, let’s discuss issues, how to propel this nation to greatness is much more important than playing on the sentiments of Nigerians.

“Poverty knows no religion or ethnicity, insecurity knows no religion or ethnicity. I’m appealing to you and besieging on you, the he members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm to take the path of moderation and inclusivity and fairness”, he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General of the party’s campaign organisation, Governor Lalong argued that the party picked him because of his ability and not he is a Christian.

“I’m not a Christian candidate. I was not nominated as a Christian candidate. The party said I’ve been nominated because of my ability. I’ve been a very loyal member of the party. I joined APC because I believe in APC.

“Second, I’m not only the Governor of Plateau, I’m chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum. So I cannot carry out leadership in any capacity. I only want to express to you that I am surprised that I’m being announced now. I am sure we’ll not disappoint you.”

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