The Presidency has reacted to the call by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan should be sanctioned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for defying its ban on election campaigns for 2015, saying President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife did not organize any campaign rally.
The spokesman for APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had in a statement on Thursday, said a women’s rally organised in Abuja by Mrs. Jonathan on Thursday was a campaign rally for the president’s 2015 ambition.
The opposition party’s statement read in part, “While one of the PDP gong-bearers, Okupe, was telling Nigerians that President Jonathan has not informed anyone that he will contest in 2015, his wife was coercing hundreds of hapless women, including those in uniform, into a show of shame tagged a “peace rally’’, but in essence, a campaign for President Jonathan ahead of 2015.
“Defying INEC, this brazen campaign featured women clad in specially-made ‘ankara’ that bore the picture of President Jonathan and reminds one of the disgraceful days of the late despot Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire, and the late clownish leader of Uganda, Idi Amin. What a company to keep in the 21st century!”
But in its defence of the First Lady, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe on Sunday said, “The first lady never organised a campaign. That (the rally) was not a campaign. There was nothing PDP in that programme. That programme was organised by the National Council of Women Societies.
Speaking in the same vein, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, noted that the women’s rally was to promote peace and described opposition to the rally as unpatriotic.
Gulak said, “It is wrong to say that the rally was for 2015 elections. The rally was for peace. This country needs peace and anybody or group who is against peace is unpatriotic, especially with the security challenges in parts of the country.
“On the use of the President’s photographs on their clothes, President Jonathan is the leader of the country and that is the reason. That does not mean that they were campaigning for the President.”