The office of former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied claims by a section of the media that the ex-President on Monday, endorsed Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), during a visit to the former President by Sheriff and his supporters.
Jonathan’s media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, who described the claim as false, clarified in a statement that the issue of endorsement never came up in the course of the visit, “not at the closed door meeting with Sheriff nor during the former President’s interview with newsmen.”
Eze, who wondered “why few reporters, some of whom were not even at the venue, chose to infuse mischief in their report”, also noted that Jonathan as a former President and foremost leader of the party, welcomed Sheriff and some of his supporters to his house, in line with a mediation role he is playing towards unifying and strengthening the PDP.”
He further stated that Jonathan opened his doors to Sheriff upon his request, just as he had earlier done to the Makarfi-led caretaker committee members, adding that the former President is prepared to broker more talks until the issues in the leadership of the PDP were finally resolved.
He said: “Indeed, it may interest you to know that after meeting with Sheriff, the former President also met with Senator Ahmed Makarfi, leader of the PDP Caretaker Committee, and the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jubril, later in the evening.”
Eze emphasised that “as a peace-loving leader of the party, the former President’s interest is to help reposition PDP to enable it play a constructive role in the affairs of the nation, in view of the imperative of deepening the nation’s democracy.”
Eze said further: “I wish to let those spinning this falsehood know that it just doesn’t add up to fly a contrived banner of endorsement in one breath, and in another, concede that the former President explained his commitment in meeting with different interest groups, towards resolving the differences in the party.”
He also said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the following are the former President’s exact words during the interview with newsmen, as had accurately been reported by most online and major national newspapers, as well as broadcast organisations.
“We (PDP) are not factionalised. We are one. We are solving our problems. There are bound to be differences in politics. It is the way we resolve these differences that make us human beings and that is what makes us leaders. I have met with Sheriff. And I have met with others. I will still meet with others, so that we will be able to do what is expected of us as a political party,’ Jonathan said.
Eze further made a case for fair and balanced reporting of national issues, saying: “While we appreciate the interest of journalists in the coverage of the activities of the former President, we urge accurate and constructive reporting, as it is a known fact that we cannot truly develop our nation, if journalists continue to twist and fabricate stories with the intent of misinforming the public.”