ABUJA — THE leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has washed its hands off the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in the last presidential election, blaming it on what it described as the tactlessness of the President’s hand-picked campaign team led by Dr. Ahmadu Ali.
The party directly blamed the hate campaign launched against the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for the defeat.
President Goodluck Jonathan displaying Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms at the People’s Democratic Party’s Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday (30/10/14).
File Photo: President Goodluck Jonathan displaying Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms at the People’s Democratic Party’s Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday (30/10/14).
The National Working Committee, NWC, of the party also, yesterday, dismissed reports of profiting from the N9 billion raised for the party’s campaigns, affirming its readiness to defend the N30 million paid to each NWC member which it claimed was approved by the President.
Contacted on the development, spokesman of the Presidential Campaign Organisation, PCO, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, promised to comment on the issues today.
Addressing journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, while exonerating the party from Jonathan’s failure, traced the defeat to the exclusion of the party and its leadership from running of the campaign. Metuh said even advice was ignored by those that ran the campaign.
Blames PDP’s failure on hate campaign against Buhari
Metuh particularly blamed the hate campaign by the Presidential Campaign Committee which resulted in the failure of the party, saying members of the NWC did not play any significant part in the 2015 presidential campaign of the party.
He said the abysmal performance of the party in the North was a result of the hate campaign adopted and executed by the party’s PCO against the APC and its presidential candidate, Buhari.
The denial follows recent reports of pressure on the NWC to resign from office on account of the loss of the presidency to the APC.
Jonathan failed because party was not carried along
Denying the culpability of the party leadership, Metuh said:
“We did not lead the party to failure, we were not involved in the campaigns and our advice was ignored. If we had handled the campaign, Mr. President would have won the election. We cannot be held responsible when our advice was ignored.”
Noting the issue of the hate campaign against Buhari, he said:
“Let me say this. In 2003, President Obasanjo ran an election against Odumegwu-Ojukwu in the South-East. In 2007, Yar’Adua ran election against Ojukwu. I can tell you, if PDP had engaged in name calling or abused Ojukwu in any way, PDP would have lost the elections in the South-East.”
Reacting to an online report that NWC members shared part of the presidential campaign funds among themselves, he said the NWC was never involved in the disbursement of campaign funds as he revealed that the party spent over N4 billion to sponsor their candidates in the presidential, governorship, National Assembly and Houses of Assembly elections.
N9bn generated from sale of expression of interest and nomination forms
According to Metuh, the party generated about N9 billion from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms from aspirants to various offices on the platform of the party for the 2015 elections.
He said the party, out of the money generated, donated N500 million to the presidential campaign fund last December and gave out N100 million to each of the 29 gubernatorial candidates on the April 11 governorship election.
According to him, “we sponsored our House of Assembly candidates. The money was passed through the governors or through ministers and gubernatorial candidates in states where PDP has no sitting governor.”
Metuh, who disclosed that the party got approval from President Jonathan for all the expenditures, expressed the readiness of the NWC to make public its account, saying:
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that this national leadership has remained very transparent in all its dealings since coming into office.
“No NWC member has been involved in any way 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.”
On N30m paid to NWC members
On the allegation of N30 million paid to each member of the NWC, Metuh said:
“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 PDP spokesman, who explained that the NWC members had no knowledge of how the money voted for the PDP presidential campaign was spent, said the N30 million paid to NWC members received the approval of President Jonathan, saying it was meant for furniture, medical and other allowances accruable to members in the last three years.
“The NWC is willing and ready to make this account public in line with the Freedom of Information law.
“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, which publicly clarified 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 labelling 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.”
No crisis in PDP national leadership
Metuh, who said the party had resolved its differences following the intervention of President Jonathan, the PDP governors and other key stakeholders of the party including governors and legislators elected, disclosed that PDP was joining forces with the NWC in its efforts at re-engineering and rebuilding the party as well as repositioning it to regain power in 2019.
NWC insists its tenure expires March 2016
“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.”
We’re pained, we helped you to power, PDP tells Fayose
Meanwhile, the NWC has expressed shock that Governor Ayodele Fayose would join the chorus of those seeking the dissolution of the body after the national leadership made way for his emergence as the party’s governorship flag bearer in the Ekiti State governorship contest last year.
Metuh said it was least expected of him, having enjoyed the support of the same body to regain power.
He said: “The National Secretary of the party, Professor Oladipo, has already replied appropriately. But we feel pained by Governor Fayose’s action.”
“This is a man that got total support from the NWC during the governorship primaries in Ekiti State.
“At a stage, some stakeholders in the state wanted him to be excluded from partaking in the party primaries, but we in the NWC stood our ground that due process must be allowed. Through our internal democracy, he eventually won the ticket and we mobilised funds for his election, we give glory to God, he won the election.
“We are pained that such a man we supported so much could come around and call for our sack because of the outcome of an election not due to our faults.”