Friday, 13 February 2015

PDP Makes U-turn, Passes Vote of Confidence on Jega

PDP national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu
• Calls Obasanjo’s endorsement of Buhari a rumour
• Asks all parties to focus on positive campaigns
After days of bombardment and harsh criticism of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, over the commission’s preparedness or lack thereof for the
general election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made a U-turn on Thursday when its national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, passed a vote of confidence on Jega.

This was a departure from the aspersions cast on Jega by the Director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who Wednesday accused the INEC chairman of holding secret meetings with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Dubai and another country, in order to rig the elections in favour of the opposition party.

Addressing a press conference in the company of all members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), the party’s governors led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, among others, Mu’azu said that the party has confidence in the ability of the chairman of INEC to conduct the general election.

Mu’azu also spoke on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, stating that his endorsement of the APC presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), was a rumour and that the former president could not have committed anti-party activities.

He said Obasanjo remained a committed and loyal member of the PDP.
According to Muazu, “President Jonathan appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega and knew him very well before the appointment.

“The president has restated his confidence in the INEC chairman and therefore we have confidence in him to conduct free and fair elections. We have confidence in him and I don’t act on rumors; therefore we will work with him as the chairman of INEC.”

Mu’azu stated that though the ruling party is in agreement with INEC, which gave security concerns for the postponement of the elections, “we are nevertheless not unmindful of the fact that the commission on its own part was not fully prepared for the February 14 election date”.

According to him, “Taking the INEC chairman on his own words on the 68.8 million registered voters, the commission had only printed and delivered 66.3 million permanent voters’ cards, with 1.3 million yet to be delivered and 1.1 million stolen cards yet to be replaced.

“Also according to Jega, 45.09 million voter’s cards were collected by prospective voters representing 65.8 per cent of the registered voters and 23.71 million PVCs, representing 34.2 per cent were yet to be collected as at February 7th, which was exactly one week to the February 14th earlier scheduled date.

“Compare this anomaly with the 2011 elections where not a single eligible voter was disenfranchised. By this account, INEC could not sincerely claim to have been fully prepared for a desirable credible, free and fair election at the time when more than 23 million registered voters were going to be disenfranchised.

“Nigerians embraced the idea of the PVCs as a model to facilitate credible elections and not as instrument of disenfranchisement.”

In view of this, he said, the PDP has noted the reactions that had trailed the postponement of the elections, particularly the very subjective statements from opposition leaders alleging the ruling party and the government masterminded the postponement to favour the PDP.

On the exchange of words between the PDP and APC, Muazu said: “Rather than join issues with the opposition in some of these needless and unsubstantiated utterances, we want to use this press conference to call for a neat and positive campaigns devoid of lies, propaganda and
incendiary statements.

“The truth is that the postponement has in no way whatsoever conferred any particular advantage to our party and our candidates. Instead, it came with an attendant loss of time and resources and delayed our celebrations of electoral victory, which with the support of Nigerians, we would have started savouring by Saturday.

“However, this temporary setback rather than dampen our spirit, will be a catalyst to propel our members to consolidate on the milestones already gained by our campaigns and goodwill among Nigerians.”

On the endorsement of Buhari by Obasanjo, Mu’azu said: “I consider it a rumour and bearing in mind the political sagacity of the former president, I am sure that he would not commit any anti-party activities. He is a loyal and committed member of our party.”

In his remarks, Akpabio exonerated PDP governors in the North-east and North-west zones from campaigning for APC and Buhari, saying: “That is part of the mischief of the opposition; that is a rumour, it is falsehood, it is baseless, it is evil and it is scandalous.

“I must advise that we should campaign based on issues and not mislead Nigerians. The PDP governors across Nigeria have resolved to return President Goodluck Jonathan to Aso Villa.

“This is a fact and that was why the PDP governors endorsed the president for a second term in office.

“We took cognisance of his track record and the fact that in the last four years, no president has achieved what he has achieved across the country. Of course we are aware of his achievements in the education sector, among others.

“The insurgency in the north can only be fought through education and so he established 14 universities including polytechnics. He still went ahead with the establishment of Almajiri schools to ensure that children do not fall as easy prey to those who want to recruit them into all forms of vices.

“Not only that, we are aware of the massive development in terms of infrastructure and all that. You are aware of what he has done in building new turbines to enable us solve our power issues.

“So the president has done well and of course that was why no PDP governor agreed to contest for the presidential election. It was not because we are not capable but because we felt that the man that is there has delivered the goods to Nigerians. What we are looking for in this country, is peace progress and unity.

“So I want to advise those who want to win elections that they should try to eschew bitterness and the idea of violence. They should strive to stop this mindless propaganda.

“No PDP governor is working for the opposition and all of us are going to deliver our states to the PDP and for those of you as journalists who may be in doubt, note that this is not our first election.

“The PDP is well grounded. We have had elections from 1999 to date, the PDP so far is the only party that is very difficult to beat. If there is any party that is difficult to beat, it is the PDP and I want to assure you that in 2015, we are going to win the presidential election,” Akpabio stated.

Source: This Day Live

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