John Ameh, Abuja
The weekly Federal Executive Council meeting did not hold on Wednesday as President Muhammadu Buhari intensified campaigns for the February polls.
Findings by The PUNCH indicated that Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, who ordinarily should stand in for Buhari in presiding over the FEC meeting, was also said to be out of Abuja.
The PUNCH gathered that the presidential campaign team left Abuja for Sokoto State on Wednesday with the President to participate in a campaign rally there.
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and Co-Chairman of the Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and many top members of the council, were in Sokoto for the campaign.
Incidentally, days back when he inaugurated his campaign council, Buhari had promised that governance would not suffer because of campaigns.
It was for this reason that Buhari relinquished the duty of leading his campaign to Tinubu.
But, on Wednesday, there was no FEC meeting as the numbers one and two citizens were said to be out of the capital city.
However, a presidential official informed The PUNCH that the fact that the FEC meeting did not hold on Wednesday (yesterday) did not affect governance in anyway “or suggest that Buhari has reversed his promise.”
The official also pointed out that only a day earlier, the President presided over the National Council of State meeting where “far-reaching decisions” were taken on the National Minimum Wage and the preparations for the polls.
“It is not that the FEC meeting must be held every Wednesday. Sometimes, other issues crop up as well and they have to be addressed.
“The President presided over the NCS meeting on Tuesday. The VP too was there,” the official stated.
Another source rationalised “why Buhari must” attend the Sokoto campaign rally.
The source explained, “Sokoto is a key North-West state and the APC sees it as a stronghold.
“Remember that the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. He left the APC to join the PDP and even contested the Port Harcourt presidential primaries of the PDP.
“It means that had Tambuwal picked the PDP’s ticket, he would have been contesting against Mr President on February 16.
“Also, this is a test battle between the governor and Senator Aliyu Wamakko. The governor had already shown his crowd strength during his own campaign rally, which he held some days back.
“So, Buhari too must come to Sokoto to see how much work the APC had done there.”
The Presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, in a series of tweets and videos on Wednesday, captured Buhari’s visit to Sokoto through his verified twitter handle, @GarShehu.
In one of the tweets, he wrote, “#Sokoto, #PMBInSokoto,” with an attached video showing Buhari waving a broom at the APC supporters at the Gininya Memorial Stadium, venue of the rally.
Similarly, the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted, “Hello, Sokoto, we are here with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban of the Universe, as the #NextLevel train arrives ‘Birnin Shehu’ this morning…”
In another tweet, Ahmad wrote, “Sokoto as usual, is also in the bag, so #PMB4Plus4 here is accepted religiously.”
Like Shehu did, Ahmad too attached videos confirming Buhari’s presence at the rally.