Written by Gbade Ogunwale
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders said yesterday that the hate campaign initiated by the party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) was responsible for President Goodluck Jonathan’s crushing defeat in last month’s election.
Jonathan’s campaign spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, presidential aide Dr. Doyin Okupe and First Lady Patience Jonathan led the hate campaign.
President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other party leaders were the main targets of the assault.
Most of the hate documentaries were aired by the African Independent Television (AIT) and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). Tinubu has sued AIT for alleged defamation.
The PDP crisis sparked by its loss boiled over yesterday with the National Working Committee (NWC) intensifying its fight back against calls for its resignation.
Chairman Adamu Mu’azu and National Secretary Prof. Wale Oladipo have rejected calls for their resignation.
National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh yesterday spoke in Abuja about the party’s loss.
He told reporters at a news conference: “The decision of the Presidential Campaign Organisation to adopt and execute a hate campaign strategy against the then presidential candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari led to the failure of PDP.”
Metuh said the blame being heaped on the party’s leadership by governors and some aides of the President for the loss of power at the centre was misplaced.
According to him, the President’s campaign team failed to heed the advice to desist from the hate campaign, adding that the leadership of the PDP, which could have offered direction, was sidelined in the campaign.
The PDP spokesman added that the negative effects of the hate campaign aimed at northerners, their values, tradition and culture backfired on the party and its presidential and most of its governorship candidates in the region.
He revealed that the party generated over N9 billion before the election from the sale of nomination forms across the 36 states and Abuja as well as for the presidential nomination.
Metuh dismissed the allegation of mismanagement of campaign funds against the party chiefs, saying the party contributed N500 million to the presidential campaign and N100 million each of its governorship candidates in the 36 states. National Assembly candidates also got financial support.
“The monies were paid either directly to the candidates, through ministers or campaign directors in some states,” Metuh affirmed.
He said the NWC was ready for a probe over how it spent the money. He defended the N30 million advance payment, which he said was given to each member of the NWC.
According to him, the money was payment for three years backlog of medical, housing and other allowances of the NWC members.
He expressed sadness that Fayose, who was the major beneficiary of the primary election which gave him the governorship ticket, could also join the call for the sack of the party leaders.
Against all odds, Metuh said the party leadership stood its ground to ensure a transparent process through which Fayose emerged.
“We are greatly pained that at the fact that a governor like Fayose will call on this NWC to resign. It is on record that because of the internal democracy that we provided, he was able to emerge governor today. He was called all sorts of names but the NWC opened up the process and he emerged winner.”
“The party also gave him N250m for his campaign. We are pained and sad that somebody who enjoyed the transparency of this NWC will call for its resignation,” he added.
He faulted the call for resignation of the party’s elected officials, saying the party chiefs were not assigned any role in the presidential campaign.
“Otherwise, the call for our resignation would have been on moral ground. But the fact that we were sidelined, asking us to resign is untenable,” Metuh added.
He said former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late President Umaru Yar A’dua would have similarly lost their elections in the Southeast in 2003 and 2007, if they had launched a hate campaign against the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who contested against them.
Metuh added: “Our advice and suggestions were ignored. We cannot be held responsible for the failure. While we are not holding any excuse for them, we cannot be held accountable for issues that were generated, that worked against our candidates in the North. All Nigerians know what happened.
“Let me say this. In 2003, President Obasanjo ran an election against Chief ýOdumegwu Ojukwu in the Southeast. In 2007, the late Alhaji Yar’Adua ran election against Ojukwu. I can tell you, if the PDP had engaged in name-calling or abuse of Ojukwu in anyway, the PDP would have lost the elections in Southeast.
“You will also recall that we had hinted you on several occasions that some fifth columnists working with other parties had been concocting some frivolous allegations and sponsoring amorphous groups against the NWC.
“We had also alerted the Nigerian public through you, that some members of our party, including ambitious aides and associates of President Goodluck Jonathan, are using their perceived closeness to him to further their heinous agenda of injecting crisis in the party with a view to hijacking the structure for their selfish interests.
“In the attempt to discredit the NWC, these elements pushed out series of misleading information to the unsuspecting public, alleging that the party leadership mismanaged the presidential campaign funds, leading to the poor performance in the polls and as such NWC should be made to resign.
“When this wicked and baseless allegation was debunked by the NWC after publicly clarifying that it was not involved in the handling of the campaign and its funding; and that such were exclusively managed by the Presidential Campaign Organisation appointed by the President, these divisive elements in their desperation came up with another allegation, claiming that the leadership embezzled funds belonging to the party.
“Even after the NWC also debunked this despicable allegation, showing that the party’s funds were judiciously appropriated for our state election campaigns, this group resorted to labeling the NWC with attempts to instigate President Jonathan, PDP governors and other well-meaning members of our party against the national leadership.
“This is in addition to recent sponsored publications accusing the NWC of corruption with claims that members shared monies generated from the sale of forms from aspirants for the general elections.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that this national leadership has remained very transparent in all its dealing since coming into office. No NWC member has been involved in any sleaze or embezzlement of party funds.
“Also, no member of the NWC has ever been accused of embezzlement of funds in any ministry, department or agencies of government at any level whatsoever.
“We state clearly that we have not been given any money; rather, this NWC generated billions of naira from the sale of forms from where we funded our candidates for governorship and state assembly elections in all the states of the federation, in addition to funds released to key leaders, including NWC and BoT members, to prosecute the campaigns in their various areas. The NWC is willing and ready to make this account public in line with the freedom of information law.
“We hereby wish to alert the general public and all our members that the main agenda of these elements is not only to hijack the national leadership but also to create an impression of division and crisis and pave the way to lure some of our elected members to decamp to other parties, apparently in view of the recent ruling of the Supreme Court which allows defection in the event of leadership crisis at their party’s national level.
“However, we are happy to announce that the leader of our party, President Jonathan, the PDP governors and other key stakeholders of our party including governors and legislators-elect are deeply concerned about this development and have intervened to ensure the desired stability in our party.”
Metuh spoke about the “reengineering in the party, adding that the PDP Post Election Assessment Committee, which is to be inaugurated tomorrow (today) evaluate its performance in the general elections and make recommendations.
“On this note, we wish to state clearly that there is no crisis in the national leadership of the PDP. The National Working Committee under the chairmanship of Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu is duly elected and is fully in control of the administration of the party until the expiration of its tenure in March 2016 in line with the provisions of the constitution of our great party,” Metuh said.
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