The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDP, has distanced itself from a newspaper advert sponsored by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, suggesting the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, will die in office if voted president.
In the advert published by Punch, Mr. Fayose compared Mr. Buhari to past heads of state and president who died in office.
He urged Nigerians to choose President Goodluck Jonathan as life against Mr. Buhari, whom he said represents death.
The publication sparked outrage Monday, will calls on Mr. Jonathan and the PDP to denounce the governor’s action.
On Tuesday, the media director for Mr. Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi Fani-Kayode, told journalists in Abuja that the governor’s position did not represent the opinion of Mr. Jonathan or the campaign organisation.
“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 as the Presidential campaign organisation is that it does not represents the opinion of the Presidential Campaign Organisation or indeed the President, it is his 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 anybody to suggest that this is the position of the presidential campaign organisation or President Goodluck Jonathan, that will be most unfair,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.
He added: “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 said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode said the party will however continue to raise questions on the issue of Mr. Buhari’s health, insisting, “We believe it is important to always raise question about facts, you know what these questions are and we will continue to raise them.”
According to him, “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.
“Fayose never said that he was speaking on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan but for his own self 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. We have immense respect for Fayose just as we have immense respect for General Buhari and we will not allow anybody to attribute something to us that we did not say.
“So it is his statement and he is entitled to it. It doesn’t represent our position and he never said he represented our position.”