By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief) @CelestineOkaf11
The 2023 general election campaigns seem to have practically taken off on Monday, October 10, 2022, with the formal inauguration, in Abuja, of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Campaign Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council flag-off in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The campaign kick-off of the two leading political parties are coming barely four months to the February 25, 2023 presidential poll. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently blew the whistle for the election Campaign kick-off on September 28 in line with the electoral timetable and the schedule of election activities.
Atiku, however, arrived Uyo on Sunday night for the presidential flag-off event which held at the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital. Other chieftains of the PDP who arrived Uyo as Atiku to ensure the success of the political event, include his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state.
PDP dignitaries who were part of the PDP Presidential Campaign start-off also include the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and his Adamawa state colleague, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri; Senator Uche Ekwunife of Anambra Central Senatorial district and a member of PDP Campaign Council spokesman and former lawmaker representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, among other top party officials.
However, Atiku Abubakar's main opponent at the May 28 PDP Presidential primary and Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike and his allies and fellow governors, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state, Engr Seyi Makinde of Oyo state and Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, etc, were conspicuously absent for the campaign flag-off event.
Their absence was as a result of the post-convention crisis which has continued to rock the party as Atiku and Wike's camps pull the PDP from both ends over their unresolved differences. Several peace talks initiated by both the party and some influential and concerned PDP members in Atiku and Wike's camps collapsed, as hardliners within their camps refused to burge, instead, were urging their principals not to also burge on certain peace terms which they considered unfavorable. These spates of events have somewhat imperiled the expected internal party support for Atiku's presidential bid.
Atiku, while twitting on his official Twitter account on Monday, shared some photo shots revealing that he arrived in Uyo last night with the Bauchi governor, Bala Muhammed, accompanying him on the trip. The pictures also revealed the chief host of the campaign event, governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state receiving Atiku and Okowa at Uyo. The former Vice President expressed joy being in Akwa Ibom in company of his campaign team henchmen.
Meanwhile, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have equally begun it's own presidential campaign with the formal inauguration of the women’s wing of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Team which took place on Monday at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Many leading lights of the APC from across the country were in full attendance. Chairman of the party's Presidential Campaign Council, President Muhammadu Buhari, was represented by Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, his Chief of Staff. Presidential flagbearer of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice Presidential running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, were at the inaguration event. Other top-notch of the APC who were equally at the event, include the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Nigeria's First Lady, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari; wife the APC flagbearer, Senator (Mrs) Oluremi Tinubu and the wife of Tinubu's running mate, Hajia (Mrs) Nana Shettima.
Some other leaders of the party present at the occasion were: the Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state; Kano and Imo State governors, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje and Senator Hope Odidika Uzodimma; APC National Women Leader, Beta Edu and other top chieftains of the party, federal and state lawmakers, as well as a large number of women supporters and stalwarts of the ruling party. NNL.