BusinessDay

Obi, Tinubu, Kwankwaso yet to unveil manifestos

...Tinubu absent as others sign peace accord

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party; Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC); and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) have yet to unveil their manifestos, even as electioneering is picking up following the kick-off of campaigns for the 2023 polls.

A manifesto is a policy document containing the plans, aims and the cardinal principles of a candidate or political party’s campaign and how the plans would be implemented if voted into power.

But unlike Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obi, Tinubu and Kwankwaso have not released this all-important document, even after the commencement of campaigns on Wednesday.

While both the Labour Party and NNPP said their presidential candidates would unveil their manifestos in the next one or two weeks, it could not be ascertained when the presidential candidate of the APC would launch his.

Out of the four presidential hopefuls, only Atiku and Tinubu have constituted presidential campaign councils.

Abayomi Arabambi, national publicity secretary of the Labour Party, told BusinessDay that Obi would unveil his manifesto the same day the party’s presidential campaign council would be inaugurated.

“We have to do our things different from other presidential candidates. The day we are going to inaugurate them is the day he will now address Nigerians on his plan of action. We will let you people by next week,” he said.

Julius Abure, national chairman of the Labour Party, said on Wednesday that the party would unveil the manifesto and campaign council for the presidential election soon.

“The Labour Party will officially open its campaigns in a few days from now and the world will be formally notified. It will also formally unveil a list of leaders and members of the party that will formally the campaign council,” Abure said in a statement.

Major Agbo, national publicity secretary of NNPP, said in an interview with BusinessDay that the party would unveil both the campaign council and manifesto of its presidential candidate next week.

Agbo said the reason for the delay was the extension of the number of campaign days from 90 to 150 days before the election date by the Electoral Act, 2022.

He said: “We are set; everything is set. We were supposed to have it this weekend but, it is important that I let you know that this is the first time since the return of democracy that we have this plenty period to campaign. In the past, it used to be 90 days but the new Electoral Act has extended it so we have all the time.

“As you can see some other political parties, some have not been able to unveil their campaign teams. We have the time; that is the reason. But I can tell you that before the end of next week, certainly we will be able to, not only to present our manifesto to Nigerians but also inaugurate the campaign council.”

Festus Keyamo, spokesman for the presidential campaign council of the APC, could not be reached to ascertain why Tinubu was yet to unveil his manifesto, as his (Keyamo) number was switched off at the time of this report.

Bayo Onanuga, director of media and publicity in the defunct Tinubu campaign organisation, had said the APC presidential candidate would in “consultation with the party, experts in various fields and a broad section of the populace, through empirical and evidence-based approach, is working on an all-embracing manifesto that will be presented to Nigerians when it is ready before the official campaign begins in September.”

Meanwhile, Tinubu was conspicuously missing at the signing of the peace accord for peaceful campaign organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) for presidential candidates in Abuja on Thursday.

While Atiku, Obi, and Kwankwaso, among others, were present to sign the pact, Tinubu was represented by his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

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Abdusalami Abubakar, former head of state and chairman of the NPC, appealed to the 18 political parties, their presidential candidates as well as spokespersons to stick to issues-based campaigns in order not to threaten the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said the commission would vigorously monitor compliance to ensure that political parties shun abusive, intemperate or slanderous language as well as insinuations or innuendoes likely to provoke a breach of the peace during the electioneering campaigns.

Yakubu said it would also closely monitor compliance with the limits on campaign spending under the Electoral Act, 2022, stressing that there are sanctions provided by law.

He said political parties and candidates should study and familiarise themselves with the electoral legal framework to avoid any infraction of the law and the unhappy consequences that will follow any act of misdemeanour.

According to the INEC chairman, it is not enough to simply sign the peace accord as it is more important to abide by its letter and spirit.

Yakubu urged political parties and their candidates to pass the message to all their members and supporters across the country for compliance.

He said: “The 2023 General Election will be conducted for 1,491 constituencies nationwide made up of one Presidential constituency, 28 governorship elections, 109 Senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies and 993 State Assembly constituencies.

“Every constituency is important. Every election is important. Therefore, the commitment to peaceful and issue-based electioneering campaign should resonate beyond the 18 party chairmen and presidential candidates present here today.”

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