Emerging report reaching Page 36 on Thursday morning, indicates that a planned meeting of the former 2023 Presidential Aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, scheduled for Wednesday, yesterday, in Abuja, failed to hold.
The postponement of the meeting was announced a few hours to its commencement.
It was gathered that the meeting was cancelled, because of the non-commitment of the Aspirants, many of whom reportedly indicated that they would not be available for the strategic planning meeting for the victory of the party’s Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu, in the 2023 Presidential election.
One of the Aspirants, Dr. Nicolas Felix, in a statement on Monday, had said that those who contested against the APC Presidential Candidate at the Presidential primary election, would converge in Abuja, at 2pm, on Wednesday.
Felix noted: “We will also brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies to support our standard-bearer, Bola Tinubu, and seek to carry every Nigerian along, in our bid to coast home to victory in the 2023 general elections.”
However, before the meeting was scheduled to start, Felix announced its postponement, stating that a new date would be announced. He however, did not give the reason for the cancellation of the meeting.
Felix’s statement reads: “Please be informed that the strategic meeting of 2023 Presidential Aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, scheduled to hold on Wednesday, the 31st of August, has been postponed.
“A new date for the meeting will be communicated soon. Apologies for any inconvenience(s) that this might cause.”
The aborted meeting sought to address a number of factors, such as a conciliatory move to reconcile aggrieved members, challenges bedevilling the country, inclusive politics and adoption of winning campaign strategies to coast home to victory, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Among those expected at the meeting were: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
5 serving State Governors, namely: Yahaya Bello (Kogi), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), were also expected.
Others were: the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun State Governor and serving Senator, Ibikunle Amosun; a serving Senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara State Governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State Governor and serving Senator, Rochas Okorocha; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Pastor Tunde Bakare; Pastor and Businessman, Dr. Nicolas Felix; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; Businessman, Tein Jack-Rich; and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
One of the Aspirants who abandoned the meeting, however, stated that the move by Felix, the youngest APC 2023 Presidential Aspirant, to reunite all the Aspirants, especially the aggrieved ones, was an effort in futility.
The APC Chieftain who pleaded anonymity, further disclosed that the body language of the Presidential Aspirants and some party members who participated in the Presidential primary is very clear.
His words: “We cannot be seen converging for anything that has to do with Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu, APC Presidential Candidate) at this critical moment. Not even when the Presidential Candidate himself is seeing the majority of us as not being instrumental to his winning the 2023 election.
“I must say Felix has tried his best. But it is not his duty to call for such a conciliatory meeting. That initiative was dead on arrival. Both the party and Asiwaju himself have a lot of work to do before the 2023 election.”
Another source disclosed that the event failed to hold, because none of the Aspirants showed up, noting that most of them are unhappy with Tinubu.
Also a source in the Tinubu Campaign Team, stated that Felix did not have the mandate to convene the meeting in the first place.
The source said: “He is on his own. Nobody told him to convene the meeting. He did not carry other Aspirants along. The meeting is not pro-Tinubu meeting.”
The only female Presidential Aspirant on the platform of the party, Ohanenye, however, said that she could not attend the meeting, because her mother was sick.
She stated to The Punch: “I took permission that I will not be able to come; my mother is not feeling well. I told the Convener I will not be able to make it.’’
Asked why the Senate President did not attend the event, Senator Lawan’s Special Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, simply said he had not been briefed.
The Media Aide to the former Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Aniete Ekong, promised to find out why his Principal did not attend the meeting, he failed to respond to subsequent phone calls.
More news later…