Abuja — Barely 24 hours after the re-election campaign posters of President Goodluck Jonathan hit Abuja, unknown persons have vandalised the publicity materials placed in strategic locations in the Federal Capital Territory as uproar greeted the mysterious appearance of the posters.
Checks by Vanguard revealed that most of the posters in Asokoro, where influential Nigerian politicians and economic players reside, had been either defaced or removed. As at 4pm yesterday, the President's posters around ECOWAS, AYA, Gowon Crescent and adjoining streets had been taken off and replaced with some other religious or social publicity materials.
However, a few of the President's campaign materials displayed around the premises of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Secretariat in Wuse 5 and surrounding areas, were still intact as at press time. It was not clear who defaced or removed the posters just as no one has claimed responsibility for placing them in the first place.
Call peddlers to order, Ohanaeze, ACF urge Jonathan
This is coming as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) urged the President to call those placing the posters to order and the Jigawa State House of Assembly asked the state Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, to run for the presidency.
Umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organizations, Ohanaeze, said the posters were plots to destabilise the polity.
Outgoing Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nduka Eya, told Vanguard that it would be difficult to believe that Jonathan had knowledge of the posters because "from what we know of the president's character, he cannot do such a thing.
"Some evil minded people may be responsible for the printing of these posters which appeared on the streets of Abuja on the first day of year 2013 when Nigerians are still in festive mood. This is aimed at causing more crises and overheat a country that is already experiencing a lot of problems.
"2015 is still very far and it is absurd for anybody to start campaign for the presidency now. Jonathan had promised us that he will run for only one term of four years. If he decides not to keep his promise and decides to run for another term, then he must come out and say so, then Ndigbo will determine the next line of action, but that must be discussed," he averred.
ACF National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani doubted if those who placed the posters did it with the consent of President Jonathan because "this is not time for politics but for governance."
Said Sani: "I am not aware of any posters of President Jonathan flooding the streets of Abuja. But I do not think such would be by the consent of the President, since he told the nation recently that he was yet to make up his mind as to whether to contest or not. More so that a case of whether he can stand for 2015 is still in court. I believe because this is not time for politics, but for governance, the Presidency should call those placing the posters to order."
They are expressing their views - Presidency
However, the Presidency, yesterday, disowned the posters.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, in an interview, said the posters did not emanate from the presidency and that the President has not authorised anybody to print any campaign poster for him as reagrds 2015 elections.
According to Abati, those pasting the posters were trying to express their own view. The President, he said, had stated that he would talk about the Presidency from 2014, adding that those doing this do not have the consent of the president.
"What is most important now is for the president to deliver on his electioneering promises to Nigerians and not embark on the pasting of posters.
"It has not come from the president. Nigerians should take the president for his word and ignore any other information to the contrary.
Asked whether the president would take measures to disuade those doing that, Abati said since the posters do not have the names of those promoting them, there was little the president could do.
It's act of desperation - Benue CNPP
Reacting to the issue, the Chairman of Benue State Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, Engr. Baba Agan described the flooding of parts of Abuja with Jonathan's 2015 presidential campaign posters as an act of desperation and a calculated attempt to create confusion to heat up the polity. He noted that the brains behind the pasting of the posters were doing so in order to fly a kite that was doomed from the onset, adding that "Nigerians would not fall for it."
Jonathan should first redeem the nation -Bauchi CPC Chairman
The Bauchi State Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Aliyu Abubakar Saidu said the posters were hasty. He urged President Jonathan to redeem the country from its predicaments before talking of elections.
Saidu, in an interview with Vanguard, contended that since the election of the president into office in 2011 the country has gone through very turbulent times, which need to be addressed to restore sanity.
We need problem-solving posters - Cleric
Bishop of Calabar Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Tunde Adeleye said what Nigerians need now is not the posters of President Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election but posters on how to tackle sufferings in the country.
Opposing the move, Bishop Adeleye said: "That is very Nigerian. That is what we do. We major in minors and then divert attention from the problems of the people. It may be the work of some stooges who will want to divert attention from the hardship and poverty we are suffering from."
It's too early - SSPA chieftain
Also reacting, a founding member of South South Peoples Assembly, Dr. Ambrose Akpanika said that he was confused whether the issue of 2015 should dominate the political scene of the country now because according to him, Nigeria was facing a very difficult time.
Run, Jigawa House charges Lamido
Meanwhile, the Jigawa State House of Assembly has announced its full support for the state governor, Sule Lamido to contest the 2015 presidential election. Speaking while receiving the 2013 appropriation bill, the Speaker, Alhaji Adamu Ahmad Sarawa said it had became necessary for the lawmakers to speak up considering the pressure on Lamido from all parts of the country to run.
"We deemed it a duty to us to follow suit as those working with him, we knew his competence as well as his style and qualities of leadership. We heard so much comments of former and present political leaders and traditional rulers praying for Allah to make governor Lamido the next president come 2015. May Allah accept their prayers".