Presidential elections are about three months away, and the country’s opposition parties are at various levels of preparations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has fixed Sunday November 18 as date for commencement of campaigns.
PREMIUM TIMES visited some of the parties’ headquarters in Abuja, spoke with some officials, to find out how they are preparing.
National Conscience Party: NCP
”We are yet to design a letterhead for our campaign organisation so that messages would go round to those who need it. And we would make sure we forward all the information to your newspaper when the ground is clear,” a party official who did not give his name said.
”It is the campaign committee that would decide the strategy to be used, some of our members may have their individual strategy. We would need more time.”
When asked how many candidates the party had, he responded:
”I just came back from INEC office so as you can see we are trying to collate them. We had little problems with some names so we are trying to seek them and we do not know if any would be disqualified or would be qualified,” he said.
Social Democratic Party: SDP
The party publicity secretary, Alfa Muhammed, said the party was putting some “finishing touches in preparation for their campaign”.
“We are just putting finishing touches for our campaign team. We are just waiting for the period that INEC has marked for the commencement of campaigns. And by then we will commence the action,” Mr Muhammed said.
He said the campaign team was being put together.
”It is still in progress and they would be unveiled in the next few days. I understand the presidential candidate, Donald Duke just arrived from Lagos today, we are going to have a meeting tonight about it. We would have to conclude the composition and inaugurate the campaign team.”
When asked how many candidates the SDP had, he replied that: “We have one presidential candidate and others we would make them available on Monday. We have candidates virtually all over the states and they are all contesting in almost all the offices.”
Allied Congress Party of Nigeria: ACPN
Its presidential candidate is Oby Ezekwesili, the former Minister of Education and Co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG movement.
The party publicity secretary, Paul Isamade, said: ”We all know INEC would lift the ban on the campaign on the 18th of November. What we have just been doing so far is consultation and sensitising people.”
When asked about the composition of the party campaign committee he responded: “It is not something you can get on the phone.
“Presently I am in Warri, Delta State. And I would be in Abuja on Friday.”
The All Progressives Grand Alliance: APGA
In a telephone interview with the party’s publicity secretary, Ifeanacho Oguejiofor, he said the party would commence its own campaign on the November 27 but noted that the party would still do “some skeletal campaigns across the federation”.
”Efforts are geared towards having a successful campaign based on issues. We are planning to kick off our national campaign on the 27th of November.
”It is going to be a campaign in all the states of the federation, there is going to be a grand opening of the campaign. We would be doing something on a skeletal basis across the states.”
He said the Director General of the party campaign committee is Samson Olalere.
Independent Democrats, ID
It is one of the two parties registered in 2013, the other being Peoples Democratic Movement.
It participated in all the four governorship polls held so far, namely in Bayelsa, Kogi, Edo and Ondo. It is already preparing for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State.
As part of the preparations, ID recently held a congress in the state during which it elected new officials. It said it is determined to take power from the ruling APGA.
Its chairman, and also the presidential candidate of the party, Edozie Madu, said, the party is fully prepared for the campaign.
He also said the party would release the list of members of the campaign committee.
Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN
The party’s national chairman, Razak Eyiowuawi, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that the party would embark on its campaign “sometime next week”, adding that a date has not been fixed. He said the campaign would start in Kano State.
People for Democratic Change, PDC
This party can be remembered for only two things since the 2015 general elections. First is the petition filed by its candidate in the Enugu East Senatorial District and former governor of the state, Chimaroke Nnamani, against the winner of the election, Gil Nnaji.
A member of the party, Emeka Igwe told this newspaper that since the party has no presidential candidate, “there would not be any campaign from Sunday”.