The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has said the hate campaign against Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress by the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign team played a huge part in PDP’s woeful outing at the last general elections.
It also accused the team of shutting out its members from Jonathan’s electioneering after receiving about N500m out of the N7bn generated from the sale of forms to the aspirants.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, told journalists at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, that apart from the N500m, the Jerry Gana -led fund raising campaign committee generated about N21bn which it spent without involving the NWC members.
He said that the belief by the Jonathan campaign team that it could denigrate a respected statesman like Buhari, who is reverred in the North, instead of dwelling on issues, cost the party a lot of votes in that part of the country.
Metuh stated that the calls for the sack of the NWC members by those he claimed were responsible for PDP’s poor performance at the polls, were immoral and stood logic on its head.
He explained that a greater chunk of the N7bn generated from the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms was used to sponsor the party’s candidates at nearly all levels.
The PDP spokesman said, “We (NWC members) 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.
“I can tell you from my own records that we generated billions. I think we generated more than N7bn or N8bn or N9bn. We generated more than N7bn; we generated a lot of money.
“The first initial donation we made was half a billion to the presidential campaign funds even though we were not involved in raising funds for the presidential campaign.
“They generated campaign funds up to N21bn. The party was not involved in it and the party cannot account for it because we were not involved in the disbursement of that money. It was a Jerry Gana-led committee that handled it and nobody can question us for that.
“There is no governorship candidate that received less than N100m from this NWC . The House of Assembly candidates across the country got money from us too. The amount such people got depended on their states.
“These monies were given to some ministers and some people to distribute to the states. In some states, it was the campaign coordinators that we gave and in others, we gave to the governors or directly to the candidates of the party.
“For those of us in the North where the type of campaign that we generated made it impossible for our leaders in the North to garner support for our candidate(Jonathan) because of the hate campaign that was generated we are not answerable for it.
“We cannot be held accountable for issues that were generated that worked against our candidate in the North. This is clear; all Nigerians knew what happened.”
Among those that strongly attacked Buhari during the campaign were the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, and the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose.
Responding to allegations that members of the NWC received N30m each, the PDP spokesman 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. This is 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 Act.”
Metuh also explained that several attempts had been made by some “divisive elements to portray the NWC in a bad light following the party’s defeat at the polls.
He recalled that in the attempt to discredit the NWC, the “divisive elements” pushed out a series of misleading information to the public that the party leadership mismanaged the presidential campaign funds and hence the PDP poor performance.
The PDP spokesman added, “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 that the PDP 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, the PDP governors and other well-meaning members of our party against the national leadership.”
He also said that the “divisive elements” embarked on sponsored publications accusing the NWC members of sharing money generated from the sale of forms to aspirants.
Metuh stressed that the NWC members had remained very transparent in all their dealings since coming into office.
When contacted, the Political Adviser to the President, Rufai Alkali, said “I don’t have details of the said briefing” by Metuh.
Attempts to reach the spokesman for the Jonathan campaign organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile phone at 7:04pm indicated that it was switched off.
Efforts to reach Gana were also futile as of the time of filing this report.
Calls to his mobile telephone number indicated that it was switched off. The first call was at 8: 35pm, the second was at 8: 38pm and the third was at 8:54pm.tweet Follow @@metrolens1