Determined to oust President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election, Senate President Bukola Saraki; presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; and the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, are leading a host of other chieftains of the opposition party in a meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to fine-tune their campaign strategy ahead of the November 18 commencement date.
The special strategy session, which started on Thursday in the Middle East city, is meant to put finishing touches to some of the PDP’s plans aimed at defeating Buhari at the next poll.
According to sources close to the meeting, Atiku is also using the forum to perfect his comprehensive policy document, detailing how he intends to improve Nigeria.
It was learnt that the PDP presidential candidate’s roadmap for Nigeria’s development would be unveiled to Nigerians in the next few weeks.
It was revealed that Atiku, who had been in Dubai earlier, was joined by Saraki, Secondus and a host of other PDP chieftains on Wednesday night.
It was also gathered that Atiku’s running mate and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, was also attending the meeting.
The Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Daniel, who is a former Governor of Ogun State, is also present at the meeting, according to party stalwarts who spoke under the condition of anonymity.
A top source in the PDP said that the meeting was important for the party to fine-tune its strategy ahead of electioneering.
“All of them, including Atiku, Saraki, Obi and Daniel are meeting in Dubai now; the essence is to strategise ahead of the campaign,” the source said.
As of the time of filing this report, our correspondents could not ascertain how long in terms of the number of days the strategy session would last but it was learnt that Saraki, Atiku, Secondus and other leaders in the meeting were determined to perfect most of their plans ahead of the presidential campaign scheduled to begin on November 18.
According to INEC’s timetable and schedule of activities issued by the commission, campaigns for presidential and National Assembly elections will commence on November 18, while campaigns for governorship and state assembly elections will start on December 1.
Confirming the meeting in Dubai, the spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said there was a need for Atiku to meet with critical stakeholders ahead of the presidential, governorship and other campaigns scheduled to begin soon.
He said, “The appropriate response is that the former Vice-President, who is now the presidential candidate of the PDP, after a very gruelling and rigorous campaign during the primaries, has taken a couple of days for a deserved rest.
“As a matter of fact, the quantum of work needed to be done in Nigeria is such that the rest is almost turning out to be a working rest.
“He has been engaging quite a lot of critical stakeholders who have flown all the way there to have conversations with him, share ideas and rob minds with him, while others are there to felicitate with him on his victory.
“As soon as he returns to the country, the entire machinery for his presidential campaign will be ready and all Nigerians can look forward to a glorious era so that the change to the change presently in place happens.”
Asked to mention all the stakeholders in the meeting, he said, “I’m sure it’s not an inventory-like meeting where I will say who is there or who is not there. Frankly, I don’t have a list of the people who are there, but I know a lot of high-ranking people are around the former VP because of his goodwill which he has gathered over the years.”
On the party’s readiness for campaigns for the 2019 general elections, he said, “We are extremely prepared because Nigerians are also ready. In going round the country, Nigerians have now keyed into the agenda of ‘let’s keep Nigeria working again’.