defence witness, Mr. Anthony Okeke in the ongoing trial of the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, told a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s image was battered by the
then opposition All Progressives Congress’ “smear campaign.”
Okeke is a lawyer and former acting national publicity secretary of the PDP, who handed over to Metuh in September 2013.
He said the opposition party’s campaign dealt a great blow to Jonathan’s image so much that a number of consultants were 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 N400million was authorised by the then president for the counter of the smearing of his image.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on charges including fraudulent collection of N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014, and using same for PDP’s presidential campaign.
Metuh and Destra Investments Limited are also being tried on charges of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2million
Okeke, who was led in evidence by Metuh’ lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), and later cross-examined by Destra’s lawyer, Tochukwu Nwugbufor (SAN), said in his evidence yesterday that Jonathan’s image had a lot of issues that needed to be clarified.
The witness said, “I was not surprised 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 his 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 to 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.”

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