The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has refused to hang the official portrait of President Muhammadu Buhari at the party’s national secretariat located at Zone 5, Abuja even over 100 days after the President assumed office.
According to reports by The Punch newspaper, the party has also said it would never put Buhari’s portraits on its walls even though it has removed that of the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who ruled on the platform of the PDP.
“We will never hang his portrait in this office, because President Buhari is not known to our party. He is not a leader of our party and therefore we will never put his portrait here. We are a political party, very partisan and therefore, we are not going to hide that,” National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, told Punch correspondent on the telephone on Tuesday.
Jonathan who was the presidential candidate of the former ruling party during the last general election was defeated by Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, a defeat which was the first to be suffered by the PDP since the return of democracy in 1999.
Before now, the party has always been hanging the portraits of all the Presidents at the party’s reception area as well as the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee halls within the secretariat.
Metuh said the APC also did not hang the portrait of Jonathan in its offices before the former President was defeated in the March 28 election.
“Can you find out if the APC had the portrait of former President Jonathan in their office before he was defeated? That is just it,” he said.
When asked whether the party was taking its own pound of flesh, Metuh said no but that since Buhari “is not a member of our party, we won’t put his portrait here.”
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed, expressed shock at Metuh’s comment.
“This is ridiculous and we have no comment. Let Nigerians judge the PDP on this matter,” Mohammed said.
He said the PDP spokesman had a shallow understanding of the concept of opposition politics.
Meanwhile, work has stopped at the new secretariat of the PDP, located in the Central Business District, Abuja.
Investigations by Punch correspondent indicated that contractors handling the project were only doing skeletal jobs at the site. As at Tuesday when the reporter visited the site, there was no visible job being done at the site.
It was gathered that the cost of the project was put at N11.5bn when it was awarded some years ago. At completion, the building is expected to have 12 floors, with two other floors serving as the car park.
The party had claimed that the project was being financed from levies and contributions from members.
When a fund-raising dinner was organised a few years ago, the party was able to realise about N5bn, and the project, which started more than four years ago, was to be delivered in 126 weeks.
The former National Chairman of the party, under whose leadership the project commenced, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, had then said that the complex, when completed, would strengthen the capacity of the PDP to discharge its role effectively in Africa.
The party had claimed on January 5, 2015 that it was going to spend part of the N21.8bn it realised from the party’s fund-raising on the party’s secretariat.
A former Minister for Information and the Chairman of the party’s Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, had said the money donated to the PDP was not meant for the campaign of the defeated Jonathan alone.