Some former members of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political machinery that was the brain child of the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, have revealed how the embattled governor of Ondo state, Olusegun Mimiko, bribed leaders of the party to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term.
They spoke on Monday shortly after the endorsement press conference at the Adegbemile Cultural Centre Press in Akure on Monday by the members of the group under the banner of Atiku and the PDM.
The group, which has members across the Southwest states of the country through its leader, Bode Ajewole said their decision to endorse Jonathan was hinged on the position of Jonathan to implement the recommendations of last year’s National Conference immediately he is reelected.
They said: “The Yoruba people are in the support of the recommendation of the Confab held last year, most which the sitting president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has vowed to implement immediately after his re-election.
"Believing in the ultimate fulfillment of Jonathan promises to us in the southwest, we therefore direct all members of AAA/PDM collectives and all members of the Yar-Adua political family in the southwest including those in APC, SDP, PDM, Labour Party and Accord to support and vote for President Goodluck Jonathan.”
But speaking with a SaharaReporters correspondent shortly after the purported endorsement, the members of the group confirmed they were bribed through the leadership of the group to endorse President Jonathan.
Some of them, who spoke under condition of anonymity, disclosed to SaharaReporters that they were fully mobilized from other Southwest states to travel to Akure, with all expenses paid, to carry out the endorsement, and that their leaders received a huge sum of money from Governor Mimiko for the job.
“Quote me anywhere, Governor Mimiko gave us money through our leaders to endorse President Goodluck Jonathan for second term. I know you are very inquisitive and eager to know more but I won’t tell you the amount I was given but I can tell you it’s a bribe”, one of the members said.
A woman and member of the PDM from Ekiti State also disclosed that she received a text message from the publicist of the group to mobilize members to Akure for the endorsement. Thereafter they were paid cash for the visit, she said.
“Although leaders of the group have been telling us that there would be a meeting in Akure with some powerful politicians but they never revealed that the meeting would be with governor Mimiko to endorse President Jonathan but this morning I received a text message to mobilize some members to Akure for a Press conference and that was how I got to know that it was President Jonathan they want to endorse”, she revealed.
“I received N30, 000 for the visit, although a friend told me, I was cheated because I came all the way from Ogun state in free vehicle but at least I didn’t lose, I still gained from them”, another member told our correspondent.
Asked if he would surely vote Jonathan in the next week presidential election, he said “My friend, I don’t know the people in other Southwest states but for [us] in Ogun State Jonathan is a failure because if I vote him, my wife would kill me, she dislike Jonathan [more] than anything. The man has done nothing in the Southwest and he wants [our] vote.
“We are just collecting this money because it’s our money. We shall keep on deceiving him and his cohorts like Mimiko, we know that General Buhari is the only change for now that we need”, he declared.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Bashir Yusuf, has described those who endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan, at a press briefing in Akure as “not card carrying members” of the movement.
“We wish to make it categorically clear that members of the group that addressed the press conference in question are not members of PDM,” he declared in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday. “They defected from our Party in June last year to pursue their aspiration in APC and are no longer members of our party.”
Furthermore, he stressed that the party had already endorsed the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as far back as January, reiterating that those who endorsed Jonathan lacked the mandate to speak for the party.
The National Chairman dissociated the party from the purported press conference convened alongside governor Mimiko in Akure in the name of the party to endorse Jonathan for a second term.
“Since they are not card-carrying members of PDM, they do not speak for PDM nor have any basis for doing so. While we wish them luck with their new project of supporting President Goodluck Jonathan in the forthcoming election, we call on them to desist from using the name of PDM in this obviously sponsored and commercial misadventure. They should find another platform to realise their aspiration since PDM is not for the highest bidder.
“The National Executive Committee of PDM had, at its meeting of January 22, 2015 unanimously, without any dissension, resolved to support the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari and our Party will stand by that commitment until the end.
“Our members are already busy canvassing for support for Gen. Buhari across the country and will not be distracted from doing so. These political jobbers should please leave PDM out of their Jonathan-for-president misadventure”, the statement read.