The spokesman for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) says incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan does not need the endorsement of non-Nigerians to win the March 28 election.
Olisa Metuh says there are strong indications in the ongoing campaign that Jonathan will receive more than 65 percent of the total votes cast in the presidential poll.
“We don’t want to be too ambitious, but we are expecting 67-68 percent of the total votes. We know we will win the election comfortably and we are predicting that we will have 68 percent of all the votes on March 28,” said Metuh.
“Our campaign has been on issues and has been driven and led by the president himself, who has directed the campaign and who has engaged in meeting with Nigerians personally. He has met with the youth, the traditional rulers, [and] the market leaders the business community and he is personally leading the campaign,” he added.
Metuh’s comments came following reports that Morocco recalled its top envoy to Nigeria after the PDP reportedly used King Mohammed VI in its election campaign. Metuh said Nigeria’s foreign ministry is capable of handling any possible diplomatic row between Abuja and Rabat.
“For us in the People’s Democratic Party, we do not believe there is need for any rancor, any disagreement, because actually the northerners are very receptive to this president. We do not think that we need any non-Nigerian to campaign for the president in any part of the country,” said Metuh.
“The president is very well accepted by all Nigerians because of the developments that he has done. He has touched all the sectors of the economy across all the zones and all the tribes and all cadres of people. So, Nigerian people are excited about it,” he added.
The main challenger and leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, enjoys significant support in the northern states. Critics of the PDP however, say that the PDP used the Moroccan king in their campaign advertisements to cut into Buhari’s overwhelming support.
Metuh rejected the criticism as unfounded and not a true reflection of the situation on the ground.
“[Northerners] have accepted the president, [and] they are happy with what the president has done amidst the security challenges that we had and in the face of the global financial downturn. He has been able to achieve a lot,” said Metuh.
He also denied reports that the PDP has been buying votes in an effort to rig the election.
“It’s an insult to the Nigerian people, and we will not dignify it with a response because we believe that what is important to the average Nigerian is the issue of the provision of infrastructure. They want a responsible government that will cater for all their needs and the needs of their family,” said Metuh.
“Talking about buying of votes, I think it is fixed in the imagination of losers,” he added. “People, who have accepted that they will lose this presidential election, are coming up with all manners of accusation.”