PDP’s Publicity Secretary says PDP has established channels of external communication.
The National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has warned all aides to top government and party officials to desist from making public comments on issues without getting clarifications from authorised officials.
The party was reacting to reports in the media in which the PDP was said to have commented on an earlier report credited to Governor Martins Elechi of Ebonyi State on the proposed National Conference.
“We wish to clarify unequivocally that the National Working Committee of the PDP never in any manner whatsoever made or authorized any comment on the said report,” the party said in a statement by its spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, on Monday.
Mr. Metuh said the PDP as a well-organized democratic institution has duly established channel of external communication which is carried out with the utmost sense of responsibility after due clarifications on issues.
Thisday newspaper had quoted the duo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, and the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Abubakar Jalo, as criticising Mr. Elechi for referring to the proposed National Conference as a huge joke.
According to Thisday, Mr. Elechi had last Friday spoken in his native Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State where he dismissed the planned conference as “a big joke, waste of time, and a distraction to Goodluck Jonathan.”
In his reaction Mr. Okupe reportedly said “The issue of participation of the states of the federation in the national conference is beyond the approval of any state governor, let alone states under the control of the PDP-led federal government.”
Similarly, Mr. Jalo was reported to have stated that “If there is any problem that made the governor to make such statement, that problem would be addressed within the PDP internal mechanism used in resolving crisis. But the issue of not participating is not fair, as all the PDP-controlled states will actively participate.
“The national conference is a product of the PDP-controlled federal government. The president is the leader of the party and the national conference is the initiative of the federal government. So, it would be out of place for any state not to participate.”
In its reaction, the PDP said it was wrong and completely unacceptable for anybody to present statements made by individuals who are not members of the National Working Committee of the PDP on the said report as the official position of the party; more so when such statements were made without due clarifications from the governor.
The statement said the NWC has respect for all elected officials, especially PDP governors who remain strong pillars of the party.
“We restate our respect for Governor Elechi who is one of the best governors in the country and one of the leading lights behind the stability and growth of not only the PDP as a party but the institution of democracy in Nigeria generally,” it said.
It described Mr. Elechi as a seasoned democrat and statesman who played key roles in the creation of Ebonyi State and displayed famed political knowledge and grassroot appeal as the PDP South East Coordinator in the 2011 general elections.
“It is therefore unacceptable to the National Working Committee for any person under any guise whatsoever to make comments that in any way ridicule or seek to ridicule his image and portray him in bad light,” the party said.
Elechi denies statement
Meanwhile, Mr. Elechi himself has denied making the statements credited to him. The Governor in a statement by his spokesperson, Onyekachi Eni, on Monday clarified that he did not make such a statement.
According to Mr. Eni, the attribution of the remarks to the governor was the handiwork of “partisan opposition elements, who are bent on capitalising on any issue to heat up the polity in their avowed and discredited mission of making the country ungovernable.”
The statement did not make clarifications on what Mr. Elechi actually said.
The PDP, however, said in its statement that with the clarifications by Mr. Elechi on his remarks on the National Conference, it is clear to all that the comments on the statement earlier credited to the governor were uncalled for as he and the National Working Committee are indeed on the same page in supporting the proposed National Conference.
“The National Working Committee therefore cautions all aides of elected officers at all levels to desist from rushing to make unnecessary and unprovoked statements that tend to cast aspersions on our elected officials, especially State Governors who hold the sacred mandate of the people, particularly when there can be clarifications through direct contact with their principals.
“All such aides must henceforth guard their actions and utterances and ensure that they do not in any way undermine the unity and stability of the party,” the statement said.