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Presidency: Jonathan Hasn't Endorsed Any PDP Candidate

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…Disowns committee purportedly working for his 2015 campaign

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, (THEWILL) – The Office of the President has stated that President Goodluck Jonathan had not endorsed any candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket for Anambra State 2014 election.

The Presidency has equally dismissed a news report that President Jonathan had empowered a committee to work for his 2015 campaign.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said despite Jonathan’s pronouncements that he remains fully focused on the implementation of his administration’s agenda for national transformation and not the politics of future elections, 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.

According to the statement, “On Monday, April 15, 2013, ThisDay newspaper published a front page news story titled “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.”

Abati stated further that ”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,” adding “ 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.”

According to the the Presidential spokesperson, “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 at 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 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the unmistakable suggestion that the President has 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 raise (sic) up your hands, so you have been chosen by the 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.”