27th September, 2010
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has debunked claims that he is using public funds to prosecute his presidential campaign.
He stated this today during an interactive session with newsmen shortly after he submitted his presidential nomination form at the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zone 5, Wuse, Abuja.
While dismissing the allegations as untrue, President Jonathan said he has not used and will not use public funds to campaign and that at the appropriate time, his presidential campaign organisation will make its sources of funding public.
The President also chose to shed some light on the issue of zoning by pointing out that the PDP zoning policy becomes operational after the president and vice president have been determined by the party.
When asked why he still opted to vie for the 2011 presidency despite agitations by some PDP members of northern extraction that the zoning policy of the party favours the north, President Jonathan clarified that the zoning concept of the party revolved around the rotation of offices, after the presidency has been determined.
According to President Jonathan, â€œwhether by virtue of the party constitution or according to practice, the concept of zoning in the PDP has always been to encourage the rotation of power among the various sections of the country because the PDP believes in the six zonal structures of the country.
â€œPDP does not zone the presidency. It only zones offices that it has absolute or reasonable control over like those of the party chairman, the Senate President, House of Reps Speaker and others – so long as it has the majority.But these offices are only zoned after the President and the Vice President have emerged.â€
President Jonathan argued that if the party had zoned the office of President, then some of those rooting for a northern presidency now would not have participated in the 1999 and 2003 presidential contests.
President Jonathan also noted that the presence of past chairmen, elders, governors and other bigwigs of the party who accompanied him to submit his nomination form is a bold statement of endorsement of his presidential bid by the party, and thanked them all for their support.
Speaking, PDP national chairman, Okwesiliese Nwodo, told President Jonathan to be ready for a stiff contest as the party so far received the forms of four formidable candidates.
He was however optimistic that the PDP will still be the party to beat at the 2011 polls, and will produce the next president.
Dignitaries who accompanied President Jonathan to submit his form included Vice President Namadi Sambo, former PDP national chairmen, Ahmadu Ali and Barnabas Gemade, Governors Liyel Imoke of Cross River, Ikedi Ohakim of Imo, Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Shehu Shema of Katsina, Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo and a host of other party bigwigs and presidential aides.