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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Buhari's absence at London meeting creates friction within APC's UK chapter

ALL Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari disappointed hundreds of his UK supporters yesterday by not turning up to a hastily and badly organised meeting with the diaspora in central London.

Hurriedly put together by several of the general's fans in the UK, the event, which took place at the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster, was attended by his wife Hajiya Aishatu Buhari. Accompanied by Dolapo Osibanjo, the wife of General Buhari's running mate and the spouses of several APC governors, Hajiya Buhari ended up standing in for her husband, who was inexplicably absent.

Despite being in London and attending several other high profile engagements, General Buhari's disappointing absence fuelled talk about his health. However, members of the APC UK chapter said his inability to come had nothing to do with rumours that he came to the UK to seek medical attention but was due to him having other engagements elsewhere.

Several members of the APC UK chapter boycotted the event, saying it was not organised through the normal channels and those behind it are not those who attend meetings regularly.  They added that the APC had planned to organise a proper interactive session between General Buhari and his UK supporters but their event was hijacked by unknown people.

One leading member of the APC's UK chapter said: "I do not know who these people who put yesterday's session together were. They are certainly not the people who attend our meetings every week.

"I understand a certain Austin Ogaga was behind the event but this is not somebody who we work with on a daily basis. To be honest, I fear that this may have been a ploy by the Peoples Democratic Party to destabilise us as the first lady Dame Patience Jonathan is currently in the UK and she may have been the one behind this."

According to one other member of the APC's UK chapter, the anomalies of yesterday's badly organised event will be corrected in a few weeks time when one of General Buhari's campaign managers Hon Aliyu Farouk visits. In January, Hon Farouk organised a successful town hall meeting in Brixton during which thousands of pounds were raised for General Buhari and equipment like laptops were also donated towards his campaign.

One other APC member said yesterday's incompetently organised event has done General Buhari more harm than good among his UK supporters as it was not well publicised and the general was badly advised. He added that a well organised event would have attracted thousands of supporters and had the general attended to address them, it would have given his campaign a big boost.

"This looked more like a jamboree put together by certain people who had their own agenda and who were paid to put on a show. A political meeting should be open to as many who want to attend and should not be organised as a private party whereby security men are used to keep people out," he added.

Other APC members felt that Hajiya Buhari was not the ideal person to address burning questions they would have liked to have put to her husband on policy. They felt General Buhari was ill-advised to hold meetings with UK politicians like former prime minister Tony Blair and not find time to speak to the Nigerian diaspora in the UK.
Credit: UK based Nigerian Watch

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