By Sani Tukur
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has given insight on why President Goodluck Jonathan lost the recent presidential election to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari.
The spokesperson for the party, Olisa Metuh, said Monday that the party headquarters was sidelined during the campaigns, and that “overzealous” persons were allowed to run a hate campaign against Mr. Buhari, thereby making the former military ruler more popular.
The PDP campaign was characterized by hate campaigns against Mr. Buhari with little emphasis on the achievement of Mr. Jonathan.
Some of the most horrific attacks against Mr. Buhari came from the president’s wife, Patience, the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and the spokesperson for Mr. Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi Fani-Kayode.
Mr. Metuh said, “In 2003 President Obasanjo ran against Odumegwu Ojukwu, while late President Yar’adua also ran against him in 2007.
“If the PDP had run its campaign based on hate speech against the Ikemba Nnewi, he would have won by a landslide in the whole of the South East,” he said.
Campaign funds fraud
Against the backdrop of controversy regarding how campaign funds of the PDP were spent and recent agitations for the members of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, to resign for leading the party to failure, the NWC reacted by insisting that no money was given to it and that it rather spent its own internally generated funds to sponsor the candidates of the party.
Mr. Metuh, who addressed a press conference at his office on Monday, said the NWC generated over N9 billion from the sales of nomination forms to aspirants and used the money to support candidates of the party.
“We gave the presidential campaign N500 million and also supported our governorship candidates in the states with N100 million each, apart from those running for the state assemblies,” Mr. Metuh said.
The NWC members have been accused of pocketing funds given to them for party campaigns.
News website, Sahara Reporters, reported weekend that several members of the NWC received and pocketed N30 million, refusing to work for the victory of the party.
Mr. Metuh said the NWC was never given any money for the campaigns and denied embezzling such money.
He however admitted that NWC members received the said N30 Million, which he said included their housing, furniture and other allowances that have not been past for the past two years.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Metuh said the NWC is willing and ready to make its account public in line with the Freedom of Information law.
He also said President Goodluck Jonathan was “directly involved” in the decision to disburse the N30 million funds to the NWC as well as BOT members.
Mr. Metuh accused “fifth columnists” of trying to create crisis in the party with a view to afford elected officials an opportunity to defect from the party in line with a recent Supreme Court ruling.
He said the NWC members were running the party under difficult conditions for over a year with no help from any quarters.
“Where were these people when we lacked funds to run the party for over one year. We could not even buy newspapers or diesel for our generators,” he said.
PDP spokesperson however, said the crisis generated over the use of campaign funds is over following a meeting of all parties concernedSunday.
He said the meeting, which President Jonathan chaired, succeeded in finding an amicable solution to the problem.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Metuh said with the crisis over, the party is now poised to reclaim the presidency in 2019 and that there are no more talks of any resignation of NWC members.
“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.
“We are not only in office, we are in power,” he said.
Mr. Metuh urged all PDP members across the country to close ranks and work together with their leaders at all levels and make themselves partners in progress in the rebuilding the party.
“What we need now is to eschew all personal and private agenda and join forces to reinvent our party for the task ahead,” he said.