The All Progressives Congress (APC) is to go tough on Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo State) for their recalcitrance over the outcomes of the party’s primaries that edged out their preferred governorship candidates in their states.
ORIENTAL TIMES gathered last night from Party sources that despite their expression of support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s rerun aspiration, both governors would be kept at arms’ length from the presidential campaign billed to take off in the early weeks of January next year.
The revelation came just as the spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), has dismissed concerns over the campaign programme of the APC, saying the party will not copy the campaign style of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A reliable source in the APC told ORIENTAL TIMES that the list of membership of the campaign team is ready and that the president has given the national leadership the nod to unveil it.
The APC campaign council, ORIENTAL TIMES gathered, would include all the national officers, all the governors and National Assembly members elected on its platform as well as former governors and top leaders in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
A top member of the APC, who is close to the APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, said the National Working Committee (NWC) had made its stand on the matter known to Buhari, who has given the party the go-ahead to constitute the campaign council.
“The party is insisting that only very committed members will be nominated into the campaign team. It cannot be those who are opposed to the leadership or have shown divided loyalty,” the source said.
The source added that Oshiomhole is not disposed to having some personalities, especially Okorocha and Amosun, manning key positions in the campaign structure.
He said the party chairman has described the actions of the two governors as highly antagonistic and as such should not be rewarded with a front seat position in the campaign council.
Oshiomhole was also said to have informed Buhari that the campaign council should be made up of only committed party men and not those that have divided loyalty.
He was also said to be against allowing those who are still pursuing their cases in court against the party or their sponsors from joining the campaign.
Both Amosun and Okorocha have been engaged in a running battle with the Oshiomhole-led NWC over the outcomes of the primary elections in their respective states.
As a result, loyalists of the two governors have defected to other parties to contest against candidates of the APC in the 2019 elections.
The two governors have also vowed not to support the party’s governorship candidates in their respective states.
Another aggrieved governorship aspirant of the APC and the Minister Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, is also angry at his disqualification by the party from participating in the primary elections.
Shittu, who is among those pursuing cases in court against the party, has blamed his ordeal on Oshiomhole.
ORIENTAL TIMES learnt yesterday that the anti-Oshiomhole governors are still scheming to win the heart of the president and to convince him of their support during the next year’s election.
Another source at the party headquarters said the face-off between the governors and Oshiomhole and the efforts to reconcile them have also affected the full commencement of APC campaign.
When asked to give reasons for the delay in the commencement of the national campaigns, the spokesman of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, Keyamo, said there was nothing to worry about.
He said the ruling party had its own plans on how to approach the electioneering.
But when reminded that other political parties, especially the leading opposition party, PDP, have set up campaign structures and are campaigning vigorously, Keyamo replied, “Must our campaign be modelled after their own?
“INEC gave up till February 15. What we decide to do with it is our own business. Have you not seen the vice president campaigning, going from community to community, door to door?
He, however, confirmed THISDAY’s earlier report that the party is planning to embark on an intensive national campaign beginning from January 2019.
Keyamo, who could not give further details on the campaign schedule, said the APC intended to make its campaign an action-packed one, adding that it would do a back -to- back public engagement.