Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and members of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council met in Abuja on Wednesday night to strategise ahead of the commencement of the party’s presidential campaign.
The meeting, which was held at the PDP Presidential Campaign office (Legacy House) was attended by notable members of the council.
A correspondent reports that the meeting was the first Atiku held with the members of the campaign council since they were named a few days after the former Vice-President won the party’s presidential nomination.
Those who attended the meeting included the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus; Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, who is also the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, who is the zonal coordinator of the campaign for North-West; Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, zonal coordinator, North-East; Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, zonal coordinator, North-Central; Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, zonal coordinator, South-South; and a former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, who is the zonal coordinator for the South-West.
Others were the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, zonal coordinator, South-East; a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Kabiru Turaki, Chairman, Legal Matters; and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, who is the Chairman, Fund Raising Committee.
The meeting, which started around 9.15pm, ended around 12.28am on Thursday.
Sources at the meeting said Atiku formally informed the members of his desire to run a broad-based campaign devoid of acrimony and that he would want the campaign to be issue-based.
It was also gathered that issues of logistics, funding and how to fill other positions in the campaign council were discussed.
Punch correspondent gathered that a former minister (name withheld) from Kwara State was tipped as spokesperson for the campaign council.
However, the majority of the attendees were said to have accepted the suggestions, but regretted that the person might not be allowed to do the job to avoid the party being accused of nepotism.
The source said, “We have all accused President Muhammadu Buhari of nepotism. That’s why we said the person being suggested as spokesman should not do it. Though he is a good candidate and has the ability to do the job, but his state of origin worked against him.
“This is because Saraki who is the DG of the campaign council is from Kwara State while the National Publicity Secretary of the party is from Kogi State. The two states used to be one and both are from the North-Cenrral . That’s why we are beaming our searchlight on another person.”
It was also gathered that the meeting told Atiku to collapse his campaign structure into the PDP Presidential campaign council, as the leadership of the party insisted that there must not be any duplication.
In preparation for the kick-off of the campaign, the party has started the renovation of the Legacy Building, an action that had made some officers to relocate from their official offices.
It was gathered that the majority of the officers of the campaign council like Atiku, Saraki and the coordinators would have different offices within the building.
Secondus and members of the National Working Committee of the party were also mandated to call a meeting of the party’s National Executive next week where the budget for the presidential primary would be approved.
The NEC meeting is also expected to ratify the appointment of members of the campaign council.