The event, which effectively kicked off at about 11 a.m., was however attended by some APC governors, federal ministers, and top echelons of the party.
Officials of the campaign kept informing the crowd at the earlier part of the event that the president and his deputy were on their way; but as time went on, it was soon clear that they would not be coming.
The publicity secretary of the party in Ondo State, Abayomi Adesanya, said the president and his deputy encountered an emergency situation that they needed to attend to on Thursday.
“The President and the Vice President had an emergency state matter they had to attend to and so could not turn up,” he said.
Investigations revealed that the Ondo event was never on Mr. Buhari’s schedule.
Mr. Adesanya, however, said President Buhari would be in Ondo State for the grand finale of the campaign, scheduled tentatively for November 19.
Messrs. Buhari and Osinbajo were not the only obvious absentees from the rally the party hopes to use to jumpstart its troubled campaign.
A national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and top party leaders close to him, also boycotted the event. Mr. Tinubu’s allies who were absent include the current Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola. Vice President Osinbajo is also an ally of Mr. Tinubu and was reportedly nominated for his position by the former Lagos governor under whom he served as justice commissioner.