Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday descended on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for trying to distort his remarks on the 2011 presidential election in which President Goodluck Jonathan was declared the winner.
Tinubu said the PDP suffers from selective amnesia by the way it was responding to several national issues, which it should have given a deeper reflection.
The ACN leader said that it was not true that he endorsed the election that produced Jonathan as free and fair, pointing out that his remark was quoted out of context by the party for political gains.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, had claimed in a statement that Tinubu had at a lecture held at Chatham House in London declared the election of Jonathan free and fair.
Metuh was reacting to the ACN support for Gen. Buhari’s warning that dire consequences awaited the polity if elections were rigged in 2015.
But Tinubu through his Media Adviser, Mr. Sunday Dare, accused the PDP of wilful mischief by deliberately quoting the former governor’s statement out of context.
Dare insisted that though Tinubu said he had thought Jonathan won the election, his tally was exaggerated, thus casting a slur on the integrity of his victory.
Tinubu had said during the 18 July 2011 Chatham House lecture, “I believe Jonathan won the election but that the returns attributed to him in some parts of the country obviously appeared exaggerated. Thus, celebrating the election as free and fair might lead to INEC beating its chest and might short-circuit the process of fundamental electoral reform. We must not relent in our struggle for fundamental reforms.”
In that same speech, Asiwaju Tinubu had warned against the danger of draping the 2011 elections in qualities they did not deserve, adding that such false hope could come back to haunt Nigeria, if future elections were not improved upon, saying that by then, the damage might even be beyond the judiciary to fix.
“The negative consequence of this inflated measure is that the bar has been set too low for the conduct of subsequent elections. Those in power now believe they will not have to improve the process. This would be a gross miscalculation of the public mood. Should subsequent elections be of the same uneven quality, I fear a backlash that cannot simply be contained by resort to the judiciary for resolution.”
Dare wondered how all these were different from what Gen. Buhari said; and how a party out of touch with reality and just throwing political tantrums, could claim Tinubu’s analysis of the 2011 elections amounted to endorsing Jonathan’s elections.
But even on the so-called international observers’ endorsement, Tinubu had warned, in this same speech, that such endorsement was hasty, misleading and did not represent the true picture of the situation.
“The 2011 elections were not of the high quality the government and many international observers proclaimed. In a way, international observers have done Nigeria a disservice that will become apparent in the future. The observers did not see what took place before Election Day or what happened in rural Nigeria.
More importantly, most observers ended their day as the sun set and the polling stations closed,” Tinubu had said. “They ended their watch just as the agents of malpractice would begin their craft. Observers made a broad final conclusion based on a thin filament of information. They judged a complicated play solely by viewing one of its several acts.”
Dare cautioned PDP against muddling up facts for political mischief and counselled it to devote more time to reading the full Chatham House speech, instead of quoting it out of context to confuse and confound unsuspecting Nigerians.
Dare called on the PDP led administration to address the challenge Gen. Buhari had thrown: organise a free, fair and transparent election and everything would be well. But try and skew the vote, and face sure disaster.