The absence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s list of presidential campaign councils has caused controversy. The list was finally made public after weeks of suspense and numerous delays.
However, APC governors, ministers, lawmakers, ambassadors, as well as current and former public office holders, are among the names on the list which totals 422 people.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong was listed as Director-General along with Deputy Director-General (Operations) Adams Oshiomhole and Director of Media and Publicity Bayo Onanuga in the most recent list released by the Presidential Campaign Council Secretary, James Faleke, in Abuja on Friday night.
The shocking omission of party heavyweights, many of whom have feuded with Tinubu or engaged in a cold war over his preference for the divisive Muslim-Muslim ticket, is a result of this.
They include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal, former Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, and one of Tinubu’s biggest supporters, Adebayo Shittu, who is in charge of the Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance.
After winning the APC presidential nomination, Osinbajo’s camp distanced itself from the former governor of Lagos; however, the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as Tinubu’s running mate was made despite the opposition from Dogara and Lawal.
According to Saturday PUNCH, Dogara had stated on Tuesday that the election of a Muslim-Muslim ticket was “doomed to end in spectacular failure” and was a pointless political endeavor.
The former speaker made the claim while giving the opening remarks at a summit called “Meet The Church,” which was put on by the Nigeria National Christian Coalition.
On the other hand, Lawal vowed that the APC’s introduction of a same-faith ticket was part of a deliberate strategy to further polarize the north.
In an interview with Arise Television, the disgruntled former SGF claimed that he was coordinating with about 40 Christian leaders in the north to ensure that the contentious APC ticket failed.
Shittu’s sin remained largely unknown despite Shittu vehemently defending his principal on all fronts, including live political television programs.
But it was learned that the former minister of communications has never been popular with APC supporters because he “found his way into the party” by joining the Congress for Progressive Change, one of the few political parties that merged to form the current All Progressives Congress.
In a recent interview, Shittu had stated, “I believe people frequently regard me as an outsider because I was never a member of Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress, or Action Congress of Nigeria. In addition, it hasn’t been proven that I’ve fought with Tinubu, despite the fact that detractors who are envious of my current victories in the fight to secure his success have been trying to cast me in a negative light and threaten me with legal action under the guise of “I am one of Tinubu’s enemies.”
But I’m happy and proud to say that Tinubu, a seasoned politician who is knowledgeable about politics, has consistently insisted that Shittu is not a foe. It does not mean that we are enemies just because we have never collaborated before. In any case, he is someone who appreciates what I have been doing.
It is unexpected that the list includes Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the minister of interior, and Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers State who was recently indicted for alleged anti-party activities.
Amaechi had subtly accused Tinubu of paying off delegates to cast their ballots at the previous Convention, but Aregbesola was suspected of working to elect Ademola Adeleke as the next governor of Osun State at the expense of the incumbent and fellow party member, Adegboyega Oyetola.