The Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress has released a revised campaign timetable indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari would attend the party’s presidential campaign in at least ten states of the federation.
In a statement Friday morning, the party’s campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, said Mr Buhari would be available to wave the broom and mobilise voters in Adamawa on 9 January, Yobe on 10 January, Sokoto on 16 January, Kwara on 17 January and Ogun on 25 January.
The President, Mr Keyamo said, would also be physically present at the rallies in Cross River on 30 January, Nasarawa on 4 February, Katsina on 6 February and Imo on 14 February.
Mr Buhari will also participate in the grand finale of the APC presidential campaign in Lagos on February 18 ahead of the election on 25 February, the campaign spokesperson said.
The President had, on 15 November 2022, attended the flag-off of the APC presidential campaign in Jos, the Plateau State capital. He thereafter stayed away from campaign activities, a development that triggered speculations that he had little or no commitment to the Bola Tinubu-Kashim Shettima presidential ticket of the APC.
Mr Buhari’s decision to rejoin the campaign has immediately sparked excitement in the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), with Mr Keyamo describing the development as the president’s demonstration of “further personal commitment to the election of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu”.
“The PCC expresses its profound gratitude to President Buhari, the leader of our great Party, for his sterling and inspirational leadership at this time and for galvanising our teeming members and supporters across the country,” Mr Keyamo said.
“We urge our party faithful and supporters to turn out en masse, as usual, in the forthcoming campaign rallies. The zero hour is nigh; our spirits must be high; we must not relent in this collective march to our victory that is divinely ordained.”
Since 2003 when he first ran for the presidency of Nigeria, Mr Buhari has proven that he is a popular and influential political figure, especially in the North of the country. It is unclear if his party’s poor performance in delivering electoral promises to the Nigerian people in the last seven years has diminished that popularity.
However, several political pundits believe the President’s presence in the APC presidential train might draw more support and voters for the Tinubu-Shettima ticket.
There have also been arguments that Mr Tinubu gave unreserved support to Mr Buhari and contributed significantly to his victories in the 2015 and 2019 elections and that it should be the President’s time to pay the APC candidate back in like measure.
“Buhari is in Abuja,” popular political analyst Ugo Egbujo wrote on Facebook on the day Mr Tinubu campaigned in Kano. “Buhari is fit and strong. Buhari is not in Kano. Buhari should be in Kano. One good turn should deserve another. Obama was everywhere for Clinton. Obasanjo was everywhere for Yaradua.
“Governors go everywhere for their successors. Buhari is 80, but he travels all over the world. Tinubu was everywhere for Fashola. Tinubu was everywhere for Buhari. Buhari is needed.”