A defence witness, Mr. Anthony Okeke, in the ongoing trial of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that former President Goodluck Jonathan authorized the sum of N400m to counter the opposition who dented his image.
Okeke, lawyer and a former Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, who handed over to Metuh in September 2013 said that the money was to put a fight against the then opposition All Progressives Congress’ “smear campaign
He said the opposition party’s campaign dealt a great blow to Jonathan’s image so much that a number of consultants was needed to change public perception about the former President ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
The witness who was the fourth called by Metuh since he opened his defence, said the opposition “cleverly” tagged Jonathan as an ineffective and unserious president.
He added that it was not surprising for him to learn that the sum of N400m was authorised by the then President for the countering of the opposition’s campaign.
The witness said, “I was not surprised the that the President promised to bring money for the election. Like I said before, at a time before the national convention, the then President, being the presumptive nominee of the party, would ordinarily do everything within his power to launder both him personal image, image of his government, and the image of his party because at that time, elections were less than three months away.
“In my own estimation, before his nomination and after his nomination there were issues that needed to be clarified.
“The opposition at the time had mounted a massive smear campaign against the President. They cleverly tagged him clueless and went to town giving the impression that he was an ineffective and unserious President. That smear campaign needed to be countered. The party needed a lot of consultants and media outfits counter it.
“I will agree that there was an improvement on the image of the president. It will be difficult for me to estimate it, but some works were done.”