Death wish advert: Jonathan, PDP distance selves from Fayose
Say we never wished Buhari dead
PDP’s self dissociation not convincing – APC
Insists on independent probe of threat on Buhari
By Henry Umoru & Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have distanced themselves from the advertisements in some major newspapers by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, warning against voting for the APC presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), because of the possibilities that he would die in office because of his age.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, yesterday dismissed the denial by the PDP as “merely a case of a master dissociating himself from the errand boy after the message had backfired.”
Fayose had in the publications entitled “Enough of state burials,” warned that almost all the past Presidents from the North-West died in the office, adding: “Will thou allow history to repeat itself? Enough of state burials, Nigerians vote wisely, vote Goodluck Jonathan, Northern Presidency should wait till 2019.”
Reacting to the advertisement, yesterday, in Abuja, Director of Media and Publicity of PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, noted that the organisation and the party were not in support of the governor’s position on the issue.
Fani-Kayode said: “Governor Ayo Fayose is a distinguished leader of our party; a democratically elected governor and someone we have immense respect and affection for and he released this advert in his own name. That represents his own personal opinion which he is entitled to.
“What I can tell you on our part is that it does not represent the opinion of the Presidential Campaign Organisation or indeed the President. It is his (Fayose’s) opinion, which he is entitled to and he is somebody that we have immense respect for.
“He is a leading member of the party. I have spoken with him and we respect him but for any body to suggest that this is the position of the Presidential Campaign Organisation or President Goodluck Jonathan, that will be most unfair.
“If we wanted to say something like that we will say it without any kind of apology but of course, we will never say that because we believe in the sanctity of life. Age is not a function of how long you will live.
“It is important that we recognise the fact that age is not an indication of how long somebody will live. We believe strongly that we must continue to show immense respect to the person of General Buhari.”
He is entitled to his opinion
Fani-Kayode, however, said that he would not disclaim the advertisement since Fayose never claimed that he made his publication on behalf of either Jonathan or the PDP.
He said: “Fayose never said that he was speaking on behalf of President Jonathan but for himself and he said that he issued it in his name. And I have emphasised that, that is his opinion and he is entitled to it.
“I could only disown if a statement was purportedly made on our behalf and in fairness to him, he never said that. What is important is to emphasise that fact that his position does not represent our position on this. He is entitled to that position, he is a leading member of our party.
Questions relating to Buhari’s health
Fani-Kayode, however, insisted that although the PDP never wished the APC presidential candidate dead, “we will continue to raise questions over issues relating to his health.”
He further said: “We do not wish him ill, we do not wish him dead, we wish him long life and we believe strongly that such sentiment can be aired by individuals certainly not in our name.
“We believe it is important to always raise questions about facts; you know what these questions are and we will continue to raise them.”
PDP’s self dissociation not convincing – APC
In rejecting the denial by the Jonathan Campaign, the APC Campaign said that the response on the matter was “too casual and off-handed to impress anyone. It doesn’t sound convincing.”
It said the party “needs to take this issue more seriously to underscore its commitment to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy and the non-violence pact entered into by the party and its presidential candidate.
“It is very irresponsible for the PDP to want to distance itself from the death threat to General Buhari, made by not only a sitting governor of the PDP but also a high ranking member of the PDP Presidential Campaign Committee.
“Just in case the PDP had forgotten, what was Fani-Kayode thinking in his mind when he challenged General Buhari to make a jog round a field? Was it to put him through a body fitness workout or to plant a sniper somewhere around the field?
“Whatever the intention of the PDP was about the health status of General Buhari, we in the APC Campaign believe in the exclusivity of the divine role in the matters of life and death.
“It is not difficult for Nigerians to discern what the PDP odd intention towards the APC and its presidential candidate is. The PDP’s uncivilised death plot only exposes the mindset of the party and their cohorts.
“That the PDP can place such noxious campaign advertorial into the public domain, in a desperate attempt to promote an incompetent incumbent president is tantamount to PDP’s tradition of violence and victimization as well as an eloquent commentary on how President Goodluck Jonathan runs his administration.”
The Campaign Organisation, however, restated its request for an independent investigation into the PDP threat against General Buhari to ensure his safety and free and fair election on February 14.