Posted by: Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abuja in News THE NATION
The sustained attacks by the presidential campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and wife of the President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan on prominent Northern politicians have ignited serious crisis within the ruling party.
Investigation by our correspondent on Monday indicated that the hate campaign has sparked a row between President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
Specifically, Mu’azu and other Northern leaders in the PDP have kicked against the sustained vulgar and uncouth language deployed by the First Lady and Jonathan’s campaign spokesman, Femi Fani-Kayode in their attacks on the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
Mu’azu and other prominent Northern chieftains of the PDP are said to have taken exceptions to Mrs. Jonathan referring to Buhari as being “brain dead” without a word of caution from the President. The First Lady’s position was echoed by Fani-Kayode, who re-stated that “yes, truly, Buhari is brain dead”.
Similarly, Mrs. Jonathan’s reference to “people in the north who breed more children than the can cater for” during one of her campaign stops in Calabar, Cross River State, is also said to the causing disquiet within the leadership of the party.
Mrs. Jonathan had said: “Our people do not give birth to uncountable children. Our men don’t give birth to children they dump in the streets. We are not like people from that part of the country (North)”.
In that instance, Mrs. Jonathan was apparently referring to the Almajiri system in the North, a lower stratum of children whose situation her husband claims to be addressing with the establishment of Almajiris schools in some states in the North.
Investigation also indicated that prominent cultural elite, including some clerics have continued to register their indignation over the First Lady’s verbal indiscretion wondering why Mu’azu and other Northern leading lights in the PDP would keep quiet over what they considered an assault on their collective cultural values.
The Northern establishment is said to have taken the silence by Mu’azu and other prominent Northern chieftains of the party on Mrs. Jonathan’s verbal assaults as acquiescence, or approval.
Faced with opposition from his home base, the PDP National Chairman was said to have voiced his objection to the affront and is said to be exhibiting a lukewarm commitment to the president’s campaign.
This is said to have caused divisions between Mu’azu and some prominent chieftains of the PDP on one hand, and President Jonathan and a horde of party chieftains of Southern extraction.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh has denied it all. In a statement he issued on Monday, Metuh dismissed the report as “spurious” and an attempt to drag down the party chairman.
Metuh said in the statement: “As one of the founding fathers of the PDP, the National Chairman has continued to add immense value with his mature and decent approach to issues in keeping with the tradition and vision of our great party, a disposition that has continued to attract massive support across board for our presidential flag bearer, President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Indeed, we are aware that the aim of those behind the mischievous report is to sow seed of discord and cause confusion within our ranks, distract the leadership and undermine our presidential campaign, which is now coasting swiftly to victory to the chagrin of the opposition.
“It is incontrovertible that the National Chairman has been at the forefront of our presidential campaign train and enjoys an excellent working relationship with President Jonathan as exhibited in their bond at rallies, visits and meetings with stakeholders across the country.
“Whereas we recognize the zeal and enthusiasm of some of our supporters who are repaying the opposition in their own stock, our National Chairman, as the face of the PDP, has remained restrained despite numerous unwarranted provocations, a stance which does not in any way detract from his commitment to the campaigns but reinforces our values and dedication to unity, peace and stability of our dear nation.
“This exemplary style of politics played significant role in reducing the tension in the polity ahead of the elections and has also endeared our party to a majority of Nigerian citizens and key stakeholders in the electoral process.
“It is to the credit of the National Chairman that his leadership stabilised our party at its critical moment and successfully achieved unity among our leaders and members while strengthening the confidence of Nigerians in the PDP as the only vehicle to deliver democracy dividends to them.
“Also indisputable is his deft application of wealth of experience and far-reaching connections to galvanize the entire party structure in adopting President Goodluck Jonathan as our sole presidential candidate, a project to which he has remained unflinchingly committed.
“Since the commencement of the campaigns, our National Chairman has evolved and maintained a dynamic structure that involves members of the National Working Committee engaging in personal and group campaigns as well as strategic meetings with critical stakeholders in their respective states and zones to ensure the success of President Jonathan and other candidates of our party in the elections.
“”This is in addition to effective coordination of party structures in all the zones, states, local governments and wards across the country.
“Finally, we wish to state categorically that the PDP remains resolute as one united family and no amount of media fabrications and malicious insinuations will distract us from our focus ahead of the elections.”