•Also debunks setting up committee on presidential contest …Warns political jobbers to leave him alone
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has described as “totally untrue and without any basis in reality” that he has endorsed candidates for the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship elections.
This is even as he has debunked newspaper reports (not Daily Sun) that a 21-man committee had been set up to start working on his behalf ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.
He insisted that he was yet to take a decision on whether or not he would seek re-election in 2015 and had therefore not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections. President Jonathan said that he should be left alone to focus on delivering on his promise of good governance and national transformation without unnecessary distractions.
He warned political jobbers and their collaborators in the media to stop heating up the polity with baseless speculations and falsehoods, revolving around imaginary plans and schemes by him for the 2015 elections.
President Jonathan specifically denied an advertorial where he purportedly lifted up a politician’s hand in supposedly endorsement of his gubernatorial ambition.
He warned those he described as “unscrupulous persons” that had begun to print 2015 campaign posters with his photograph, sayimg that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to announce the commencement of campaigns and political parties were yet to conduct any primaries for the selection of candidates.
A statement signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, reads: “In spite of clear and unambiguous pronouncements by President Goodluck Jonathan that he remains fully focused on the implementation of his administration’s agenda for national transformation and not the politics of future elections, the Presidency has noted with concern that some individuals, groups, organisations and sections of the media have continued to foster the myth of a president and administration solely concerned with jostling and self-positioning for the 2015 elections.
“On Monday, April 15, 2013, ThisDay Newspaper published a front page news story entitled “21-member C’ttee Empanelled for Jonathan’s Second Term Bid” wherein it was stated, inter alia, that “the president’s aides and associates have set up a 21-member committee to advise (President) Jonathan on the viability of his entry into the presidential contest in 2015”.
The impression is further created that a group known as “We, the people” has its roots in the Presidency and that the 2015 campaign has now become the main preoccupation of the Presidency. “This is totally untrue and without any basis in reality.
As he has truthfully declared on several occasions, President Jonathan has not yet taken a decision on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2015 and has, therefore, not mandated any individual, committee or organisation to start working on his behalf for the 2015 elections.
“President Jonathan’s stated wish to be left alone to focus on delivering on his promise of good governance and national transformation without unnecessary distractions should be respected. Political jobbers and their collaborators in the media should stop heating up the polity with baseless speculations and falsehoods revolving around imaginary plans and schemes by the Presidency for the 2015 elections.
“The Presidency has also observed what seems to be an emerging trend whereby persons with their eyes fixated on political opportunities in future elections are beginning to use President Goodluck Jonathan’s name to promote themselves and their vaulting ambitions.
It was clearly in this regard that some unscrupulous persons began to print 2015 campaign posters with President Jonathan’s photograph, whereas the Independent National Electoral Commission is yet to announce the commencement of campaigns and political parties are yet to conduct any primaries for the selection of candidates.
Perhaps, the most audacious illustration of this trend and resort to mischief and opportunism is represented by an advertorial, which appeared on page 14 of the Saturday Vanguard of April 13, 2013 signed by one OBITEX Industrial and Investment Company Limited.
The colour advert shows President Jonathan purportedly raising the hand of Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the unmistakable suggestion that the President had endorsed Nze Nwankpo as the PDP gubernatorial candidate for Anambra State.
The advertiser claims as follows: “As Mr. President, His Excellency, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has symbolically raised (sic) up your hands, so you have been chosen by God Almighty to be the governor of Anambra State come 2014.”
It is instructive that the so-called raising of hand is represented through an artist’s sketch and not a photograph with verifiable, empirical value. For the benefit of the unwary, the Presidency emphatically states that President Jonathan has not endorsed any candidate for any position whatsoever ahead of the 2015 general elections neither has he commissioned persons to start campaigns for his own candidature.
As a leader, who respects the rule of law, President Jonathan respects the fact that there are laid down procedures, defined by INEC and the political parties, for the selection of candidates for any election. As a law abiding citizen, President Jonathan will not engage in any act, symbolic or direct, that runs counter to laid-down procedures.
As a loyal party man, he will equally not do anything that will amount to the usurpation of the party’s structures and powers to conduct primaries and choose candidates for elections. We, therefore, disown the claims and allegations of Presidential endorsements or the commencement of 2015 campaigns.
The general public and affected stakeholders are advised to be wary of the kind of opportunism, misrepresentation and mischief that usually arise ahead of elections in general.
The Presidency seizes this opportunity to warn all 2015 political office seekers and their sponsors, friends or collaborators, to desist from unconscionable exploitation of President Jonathan’s name in the service of jaded antics of self aggrandisement, promotion and positioning”.