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The scheduled reconciliation meeting of the 21 presidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) scheduled for Wednesday in Abuja failed to hold.
The meeting billed for 2pm at the Transcorp Hilton, for the aspirants to proffer strategies to ensure the success of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu at the 2023 polls, was cancelled due to alleged non-commitment of the aspirants, many of whom had indicated their non-availability for the parley.
One of the former presidential aspirants, Dr Nicolas Felix, in a statement on Monday, disclosed that those who contested against the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu at the presidential primary, would converge on Abuja at 2 pm on Wednesday.
Series of publicity for the meeting was made before the scheduled date, but the postponement was eventually announced a few hours to its commencement but the party failed to disclose the official reason for the postponement.
Felix said, “We will also brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies to support our standard-bearer, Bola Tinubu, and seek to carry every Nigerian along in our bid to coast home to victory in the 2023 general elections.”
However, before the meeting was scheduled to start, Felix announced its postponement, stating that a new date would be announced. He, however, did not give the reason for the cancellation of the roundtable.
Felix’s statement read, “Please be informed that the strategic meeting of 2023 Presidential Aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, scheduled to hold on Wednesday the 31st of August has been postponed.
“A new date for the meeting will be communicated soon. Apologies for any inconvenience(s) that this might cause.”
The aborted meeting sought to address a number of factors such as a conciliatory move to reconcile aggrieved members, challenges bedevilling the country, inclusive politics and adoption of winning campaign strategies to coast home to victory ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Among those expected were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Five serving governors, namely Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) were also expected.
Others were the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun State governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun; a serving senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; fiery cleric, Tunde Bakare; Pastor and Businessman, Dr Nicolas Felix; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; Businessman, Tein Jack-Rich and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
One of the aspirants who abandoned the parley, however, told our correspondent that the move by Felix, the youngest APC aspirant, to reunite all the aspirants, especially the aggrieved ones, was an effort in futility.
The APC chieftain, who pleaded anonymity, further disclosed that the body language of the presidential aspirants and some party members who participated in the presidential primary was clear.
“We can’t be seen converging for anything that has to do with Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate) at this critical moment. Not even when the presidential candidate himself is seeing the majority of us as not being instrumental to his winning the 2023 election.
“I must say Felix has tried his best. But it is not his duty to call for such a conciliatory meeting. That initiative was dead on arrival. Both the party and Asiwaju himself have a lot of work to do before the 2023 election,” he said.
But another source disclosed that the event failed to hold because none of the aspirants showed up, noting that most of them were unhappy with Tinubu.
Also a source in the Tinubu campaign team, said Felix did not have the mandate to convene the meeting, stating that, “He is on his own. Nobody told him to convene the meeting. He did not carry other aspirants along. The meeting is not pro-Tinubu meeting.”