by Dare Lawal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came under heavy criticisms this week following the decision of the party to throw its weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the commission’s conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election.
The electoral body came under fire following what has generally been described as incompetent conduct of the poll. It was therefore a surprise that the PDP through its national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, backed INEC after the poll despite the fact that its candidate, Tony Nwoye, could not vote during the election due to the fact that his name could not be located on the voters register. His family members couldn’t vote as well.
The PDP has now made a U-turn on its position. The party said that it has not disowned its candidate Tony Nwoye. The party’s publicity secretary also said that he never described the election as free, fair and credible.
He said that the party’s position which he expressed on Sunday was to commend the President and other stakeholders for providing an enabling environment for the peaceful conduct of the polls.
Metuh had on Sunday said, “The Peoples Democratic Party hereby commends President Goodluck Jonathan for providing adequate security and the enabling environment for the conduct of credible, free and fair governorship election in Anambra State last Saturday in spite of any perceived hitch (es).
“In the same vein, we commend the entire people of Anambra State and all stakeholders who played key roles in ensuring peaceful and orderly conduct of the process.”
He had also said while the party awaited the official result, “it expressed its satisfaction that the election was conducted without disturbances, despite the massive importation of political thugs by the All progressives Congress as well as their heinous plots to introduce violence to disrupt and rig the poll.’’
However, on Thursday when asked if the party’s position was not at variance with the position taken by its candidate, who joined other candidates in demanding fresh elections, Metuh insisted that there was no contradiction.
He said “We commended the President and the electoral officers for providing the enabling environment for this election.
“Mind you, what we said (last SUNDAY) was that we commended them for providing an enabling environment. We never said whether it was peaceful or credible or free and fair.
“It’s a question of semantics, we were more concerned with the fact that APC wanted to rig the election and that they wanted to cause a lot of violence and mayhem in Anambra but the security forces were capable of handling the situation and they stopped them.
“It has nothing to do with the conduct of the election but the creation of the enabling environment for a peaceful, credible, free and fair poll.”
As can be seen from Metuh’s two quotes, he did say that the election was free and fair despite his attempts to whitewash things.
Metuh also denied claims that the PDP was conniving with the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance in order to gain support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
He said the point needed to be made that the PDP fielded Prof. Charles Soludo as candidate in the 2011 Anambra governorship election, worked hard towards his election but that this did not prevent APGA from supporting the President.
The spokesman said, “So the notion that we are doing this or that because of the 2015 Presidency is not true.
“With what has happened before with the norms and the practice of the party in the past, we don’t need to justify any such thing.”