All is set for the 2019 presidential battle with President Muhammadu Buhari launching his campaign tagged “Next Level” today. He is beating the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the game.
The Presidential Candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar will on Monday unveiled his Policy Document.Also, the President may by Monday announce members of the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).Although the list of members of the Council was kept under wraps last night, our correspondent gathered that it may be chaired by the President who will be assisted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, co-chairman and governors as coordinators.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi retains his portfolio as the Director-General of the campaign.
This is coming as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will today lift ban on campaign for 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections slated for Feb. 16, 2019.A statement by Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC Director Of Voter Education and Publicity, yesterday in Abuja said that political parties which fielded candidates for both elections would commence campaigns across the country.
Investigation by our correspondent show that President Buhari has adopted “Next Level” as the theme of his campaign in order to give Nigerians a peep of where he is taking the nation to in the next four years.It was learnt that all APC governors have been invited to the launching of “Next Level” at the Presidential Villa by 4pm today.
As at press time, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha was busy with logistics for the launch which is being coordinated by the Vice President. A top source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “Next level is the theme of President Buhari’s campaign. It is about the next set of ideas and programmes we are taking the country to.
“The President will on Sunday (18th November 2018). reel out all his achievements; he will present his score card and manifestoes coded the “Next Level”.
“The launch of Next Level is to prepare the ground for a nationwide comprehensive campaign. We will surely take the battle to the PDP and other parties.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has been constituted with the President as the chairman, supported by Osinbajo, many co-chairmen, APC governors, the National Chairman of APC, ministers including Adamu Adamu (Education) and Hadi Sirika (Aviation) and other party leaders like Farouk Adamu.
“Hopefully by Monday, the list of the PCC members will be out. We have kept the list under wraps because we know PDP has been spying on us.“Even the launch of Next Level has caught many unawares because we felt we should beat the opposition to its game.”Meanwhile, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC will meet on Wednesday on the setting up of a reconciliation committee and work on campaign structure for victory in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A member of the NWC said: “We actually scheduled a meeting for Tuesday but due to the public holiday, we may meet on Wednesday.“The NWC will use the session to raise a reconciliation committee on issues arising from the primaries and how to keep the party united for 2019 poll.“We know there are some challenges but we will try as much as possible to appease the aggrieved in order to move forward.
“We are expected to consider proposals for campaign structure in a manner that APC will be in good stead for a resounding victory in all the 36 states and the FCT.”The Next Level document obtained yesterday gave insights into Buhari’s new economic drive with employment as a major thrust.
Some of the highlights include the following:
*Engagement of 1m N-Power graduates
* Skill up 10 million Nigerians under a voucher system in partnership with the private sector
*Anchor Borrowers Scheme to support input and jobs to 1m farmers
*Livestock Transformation Plan to create 1.5million jobs
*Agriculture Mechanization Policy to create 5m jobs
*Provision of $500m innovation fund to tech and creative sector to create 500,000 jobs
*To train 200,000 youth for outsourcing market in technology, services and entertainment.
The document said: “Soft loans of up to N1m to small traders, artisans (carpenters, tailors, mechanics, hairdressers, barbers, plumbers, vulcanisers etc) and commercial drivers (Taxis, Keke, and Motorcycles).
“Next level will take current number of 2.3million traders, farmers, artisans under Trader Moni, Market Moni and Farmer Moni schemes to 10million Nigerians under the People Moni Scheme.
The President also pledged to raise power generation to 11,000 megawatts.The document added: “A minimum of 1,000 MW new Generation Incremental Power capacity per annum on the grid to bring a total of a minimum of 11,000 MW.“Distribution to get to 7,000MW under Distribution Expansion programme.”On security, the document indicated plans to “decentralize funding of police operations and foster true community policing by implementing direct transfer of funding to Police Divisions.
“Execute the second phase of the Farmer-Herder and National Livestock Policy to end the decades-long conflict between farmers and herders.”He has also promised more inclusion in government.It said: “To achieve 35 % in female appointments. More youth appointment for boards, special mentoring programmes in governance with young graduates working with ministers and other senior government appointees.”
On Education, there is a plan in the Next Level to “remodel and equip 10,000 schools per year.”
Buhari campaign groups ready. The President Buhari support groups such as the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) is set to kick off the campaign with what they call the ‘Buhari Connect’ meant to showcase the achievements of the President in the last three and half years.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told The Nation that the lifting of the ban by the electoral management body does not make it mandatory that parties should commence campaign immediately as they cannot determine for the parties when to start their campaigns.He said “Campaigns are not starting tomorrow (Sunday). What has happened is that the ban on campaign is officially lifted and parties are now free to begin their campaigns. You know, INEC can tell you when not to campaign, but they cannot determine for you when to start.
“They have lifted the ban and parties are now free to go out there and openly campaign for the elections. Within the next one week, we will roll out our campaign plans.”Director of Strategic Communication of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo (SAN) could not be reached for his comment on plans for the President’s campaign as calls to his phone and SMS sent to him were not answered as at the time of this report.
The party and the campaign organisation were yet to constitute a formal campaign organisation as at yesterday 17 to carry on with the campaign.
But the Buhari Media Organisation(BMO), one of the President’s support groups said it has lined up an open-air event to kick-start the campaign today at the Unity Fountain, Abuja where it intend to highlight and promote the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.The show, with the theme, ‘BUHARICONNECT’ and the slogan ‘THE PEOPLES PRESIDENT’, it said will attract Ministers, Governors and other top echelon of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A statement by the Secretary of the organisation, Cassidy Madueke said the variety show will also be an opportunity to highlight the achievements of President Buhari with testimonials from the beneficiaries of the administration’s Social Investment Programmes, including poverty alleviation, school feeding, Tradermoni, women empowerment, Anchor Borrowers and cash transfer programme.
The show will also feature appearances by political leaders and top government officials at the event which kicks up at 1pm today.The INEC in a statement by Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, announcing the lift of ban on campaigns said that political parties which fielded candidates for both elections would commence campaigns across the country today.He said that the commencement of campaigns was in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the INEC. He added that it was also in accordance with Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides 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.”
“Political Parties are expected to conduct their activities in an organized and peaceful manner, devoid of rancour, hate and/or inflammatory speeches.”
He reminded political parties and their candidates that campaigns for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly would commence on December 1.