The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has said the hate campaigns against Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari by President Goodluck Jonathan’s team, played a huge part in the party’s woeful outing during the last general elections.
It also accused close associates of Jonathan, who handled his campaign of shutting out the party leadership from the campaign.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, said this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
He explained that the erroneous belief by the Jonathan campaign team that it could denigrate a respected statesman revered in the North, instead on dwelling on issues, cost the party critical votes in parts of the North. Metuh equally said the campaign for the sacking of the NWC, which was being orchestrated by some of those responsible for the party’s woes, was immoral and illogical. He also revealed that the party generated over N7bn from the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms, most of which was used to sponsor the party’s candidates at all levels during the last elections. Metuh said, “We (NWC) 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, N8bn or N9bn. We generated more than N7bn and we generated a lot of money.
“The first initial donation we made was half a billion (N500m) 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 that money. It was a Jerry Gana Committee and they handled it and nobody can question us for that.
“There is no governorship candidate that received less than N100m from this Working Committee; and the House of Assembly candidates across the country got money from us. It depends on the state.
“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, in some states, we gave to the governors or directly to the candidates of the party.”
Metuh added, “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 candidates because of the hate campaign that was generated, we are not answerable for it.
“While I am not holding any excuse for them, 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.”
Responding to allegations that members of the NWC received N30m each, 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 the 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.”
Metuh explained that several attempts had been made to cast the NWC in bad light following the party’s defeat at the polls.
He recalled that 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, which led to the poor performance in the polls. He said this had formed the basis for the calls for the NWC members to resign. Metuh 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, claiming that the leadership embezzled funds belonging to the party.