2015: Don't insult our opponents, Jonathan tasks campaign team at inauguration

By The Citizen

Ahead of next month's general elections, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned members of his Presidential Campaign Organisation (PCO) to ensure that campaigns are issues-based, devoid of personal attacks on presidential candidates of the opposition.

Jonathan gave the charge yesterday in Abuja during the inauguration of his campaign team led by former PDP National Chairman, Dr Ahmadu Ali.

The President who noted that his achievements in office remained his unique selling points, urged the PCO to seek support for the party across the country, but cautioned the team to be civil in their conduct.

He said: 'Our creditable performance in the past four years should be our strongest selling point, as we go to the campaign fields. Flaunt our achievements in all parts of the country; tell the story of what we have achieved and let the facts and the figures be heard in every nook and cranny of Nigeria.

'In doing this, you must be civil, decorous and law-abiding. I have repeatedly promised Nigerians and the international community that as much as it lies within our powers, the coming general elections will be free, fair, credible and violence-free. I made that pledge with all seriousness and I fully intend to fulfill it.

'As agents of the ruling party, all eyes will be on you during the campaigns and elections. I therefore, expect nothing, but the highest standards of exemplary conduct from you as your worthy contribution to the fulfilment of our pledge of peaceful and successful elections.

'Some other politicians and campaigners are threatening fire and brimstone. Do not join them. Some other parties are pulling down other people's posters. That is primitive. Please, do not join them.  Every Nigerian must be free to campaign anywhere. Thuggery, violence and malpractice or rigging must have no place in our campaign and electoral activities. Do not join those who threaten to start fires and turn them into infernos in our country.

'I assure you and all Nigerians that whoever foments trouble before, during and after the elections will be promptly and decisively dealt with according to the law. With all our party leaders and members, we are going into this election season to legitimately seek our people's mandate for further service, consolidation and continuity of progress for our country.

'We must place our hope for victory in nothing else but the support and confidence of the great majority of our people, and the blessing of Almighty God. We will ensure that the people's votes count and that their will prevails, as it should, in every true democracy.'

He said members of the Presidential Campaign Organisation  were selected based on their individual record of diligence, competence and integrity. 'You have all been invited to serve our great party in this capacity, in recognition of your loyalty, dedication, commitment to the democratic cause, and your outstanding individual talents.

'Without doubt, the forthcoming elections mark a critical point in our nation's history. The eyes of the international community are focused on the transition that lies ahead of us; the fifth post-military rule general elections that will be conducted under a civilian dispensation in Nigeria. The world is asking: will Nigeria get it right? My categorical response to that is: Yes, we must. And surely, we will. It is your duty to ensure that through your campaigns, and activities, this primary objective is not lost. Our commitment to free, fair, credible, and violence-free elections remains unshaken. That should also be your own commitment as we go to the field to seek the people's mandate once again.'

Ahmadu Ali, in his response, assured President Jonathan that his team would be civil in its conduct

'Let the word go out to all and sundry that our conduct during this presidential campaign will be exemplary because we have the fear of the Almighty God. Let me restate the fact that our party, the PDP, is in power. We are the defending champion with the belt tightly around our waists. Therefore, we will not behave like a desperate opposition.

'In the course of this campaign, we promise Nigerians who we  are coming to meet  in their communities that our language will remain civil and presidential. We are going to stick to issues and dwell on facts.'

Ali, in apparent reference to General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  expressed regrets that the opposition party was fielding a septuagenarian for a presidential race  in the 21st Century.

'In this 21st Century, where great nations of this world are fielding young men and women in their 40s and 50s as presidents and prime ministers, it is ironic that Nigeria's APC is fielding a septuagenarian with fossilised ideas of how to run a government and social engineering. Nigeria deserves a better leadership than their candidate, who has no certificates to tender, as requirement for entering an election,' he said. - The Sun.