2019 Polls: Buhari, Tinubu, Others Storm Abuja For APC Caucus

  • As PDP dares INEC on open campaigns

BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – With all eyes on February 23 announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the re-scheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, bigwigs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are storming Abuja today, (Monday), February 18, 2019 to hold an emergency caucus meeting .

Sources close to the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said among those expected at the meeting are President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Co-Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Director General of the Campaign and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, National Working Committee (NWC) members as well as serving and former governors.

Also expected at the meeting, scheduled to hold at the APC’s National Secretariat at 11am, are stakeholders described as strategic field officers in the party’s electoral planning process. The meeting is seen as breaking from tradition of using the Aso Rock Presidential Villa as its usual venue.

The sources hinted that topping the agenda is assessing the party’s strategies for winning the forthcoming polls given the new window created by INEC’s shift in dates.

Also, the party is expected to review its position in Rivers and Zamfara states where there are still legal tussles over APC’s participation in the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections.

According to one insider, besides the task of re-mobilising human and material resources for its field operations, the ruling party will also be considering the electoral umpire’s position of not extending the campaign period for political party within the one week window.

Reacting to opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s insistence on re-opening its campaigns for the presidential and national assembly polls, the insider said APC is keenly watching events as they unfold and will likely make its position on the issue known after the Caucus meeting.

PDP to re-open campaigns

The PDP, through its National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity of its Presidential Campaign Organization, Kola Ologbondiyan, faulted INEC on the decision, maintaining that the electoral umpire in issuing the order ran afoul of the provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act.

Daring the Commission, Ologbondiyan maintained that the PDP will re-open campaign, because the Act recognizes that the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

He stated that; “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after due consideration of the provision of the Electoral Act, is set to re-open its open campaigns consequent upon the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the earlier scheduled date of February 16 to February 23, 2019.

“The party rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC, holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country.”

The PDP spokesman further said; “Our position is predicated on the clear provision of section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act which stipulated that “for the purposes of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

“The clear import of this provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to February 23, 2019, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of February 21.”

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