The gloves are already being removed and a bloody fight appears imminent among the national leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In an unprecedented open chastisement of the party’s top echelon, of which it is a prominent member, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Monday took the handlers of the recent presidential election to the cleaners.
The election was lost by the PDP’s candidate and incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was the PDP’s first loss of presidential power since the country returned to civilian rule in 1999.
The NWC members washed their hands off the defeat, which they said was caused in the main by the “hate campaign” strategy of President Jonathan’s handlers.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday, said that members of the NWC did not play any significant part in the 2015 presidential campaign of the party.
He also revealed that PDP generated about N9 billion from the sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to aspirants for the various offices on the party’s platform last year.
Of the amount, the National Publicity Secretary disclosed that the party donated N500 million to the Professor Jerry Gana-led national presidential campaign fund raising dinner last December. It also gave out N100 million to each of the 29 gubernatorial candidates of the party during the April 11 governorship election.
Metuh spoke in reaction to an online report that the NWC members of the PDP shared part of presidential campaign funds among themselves.
He maintained that the NWC members were never involved in the disbursement of campaign fund.
According to Metuh, “Our advice and suggestions were ignored. We cannot be held responsible for the failure.
“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 abuse Ojukwu in anyway, PDP would have lost the elections in the South East”, he said.
Metuh attributed the poor performance of the party in the north to the hate campaign strategy adopted and executed by the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation against the presidential campaign of the APC’s General Buhari.
The NWC members, he insisted, had no knowledge of how the money voted for the PDP presidential campaign was spent.
Metuh stressed further that the N30 million allegedly paid to NWC members, which received the approval of the President, was for furniture, medical and other back log of allowances accruable to the members for the last three years.
Speaking on how the N9 billion realised from the sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to aspirants to various offices on the platform of the party last year was spent, Metuh said that the party donated N500 million to Professor Jerry Gana led national presidential campaign fund raising dinner last December and gave out N100 million to each of the 29 gubernatorial candidates on the April 11 governorship election.
He added, “We sponsored our House of Assembly candidates. The money was passed though the governors or through ministers and gubernatorial candidates in states where PDP has no sitting governor”.
He explained that the party got approval from President Jonathan for all its spending and expressed readiness of the NWC to make public its account.
He said, “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 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.
“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”, Metuh maintained.
The National Publicity Secretary claimed however that the party has resolved its differences sequel to the intervention of President Jonathan, the PDP governors and other key stakeholders of the party including governors and legislators-elect.
Metuh disclosed that PDP is joining forces with the NWC in the efforts to reengineer and rebuild the party and reposition to it to regain power in 2019.