The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has commenced the process of harmonising over 3,000 support groups campaigning for him ahead of the 2023 elections.
The development, which is coming barely 10 days into the political campaign season, was confirmed by the media team of the Bola Tinubu-Kashim Shettima 2023 presidential campaign group.
Earlier, the Director of Media and Communications of Tinubu Support Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, stated that his principal would focus on an issue-based campaign and not succumb to antics, mudslinging and image-smearing sentiments launched at him or his running mate.
He also confirmed that they had begun a move to streamline all the various support groups routing for Tinubu’s presidency.
This position was re-echoed by another member of the media and communication directorate of Bola Tinubu-Kashim Shettima 2023 presidential campaign, Biodun Ajiboye.
Ajiboye told our correspondent that all support groups, which were well over three thousand, were registered formally under the Tinubu Support Organisation.
“There are several wings of the campaign and each one has its role and niche, which the campaign is expected to take care of,” he said.
On how the TSO expected to manage such huge groups without friction, the public relations expert disclosed that the process was structured in a way to avert any conflict of interest.
He said, “In so far as they are registered with relevant certificates, there can’t be conflict. Besides, it should be noted that support groups following Asiwaju are in two to three major camps. As I speak to you, there is a group called ‘Council for New Nigeria Initiative’ under Senator Abu Ibrahim that has 650 registered groups.
“There is another camp called the TLG under Hon. James Faleke has over 1,000 member groups.”
While acknowledging that a former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has his own support groups, Ajiboye noted that Tinubu had empowered Senator Abu Ibrahim to manage the support groups under a certain platform called ‘Grassroots mobilisation.’
This is even as he maintained that their job is to merge the support groups before the political campaign kicks off on September 28.
“You need to wait for another couple of weeks to see how it spans out. Right now, it is still in the formative stage. Once it is concluded, everything will fall in place,” he stated.
Ajiboye also told the reporter that the composition of the APC Presidential Campaign Council was complete.
He said, “We are only waiting for the announcement. I am sure it will be announced in a couple of days or a week maximum.”
But the Director-General of Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance, Adebayo Shittu, thinks otherwise.
The former Minister of Communication, who has 375 groups, noted that he saw no need to streamline the various platforms promoting the APC presidential candidate.
“Whatever statement these groups deploy, if that’s the fear, will always be in their names. It has nothing to do with the candidate because they are not speaking for Asiwaju. That’s why when you hear me talk, I only speak for myself and not for the presidential candidate. But I campaign for him. I don’t see any conflict here.”
When asked how many of the over 3,000 groups sourced funds to remain relevant for the campaign, Shittu disclosed that their financial capacity might depend on certain factors.
He said, “It depends on individuals. For someone like me who manages a platform of over 375 groups, I spent more than N2m from my own purse.
“Some of it goes into printing T-shirts, stickers, posters, jingles, adverts and a lot of others. Not one kobo of it comes from Asiwaju. But it doesn’t really matter because we are convinced of his capacity to run a good government that will improve the lot of Nigerians. That is what fuels our commitment. It is not about having funds to run the association. It is not as if we are not paying staff.
“As I mentioned earlier, there is no conflict even if there are one million support groups. Remember too that some of these groups are not necessarily card-carrying members of the APC.”