Alex Enumah in Abuja
A fourth defence witness (DW4), Barrister Antony Okeke, in the ongoing trial of the erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Olisa Metuh, on Monday told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that the ‘smear campaign’ of the then opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) badly injured the image of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The witness, a lawyer and a former Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, who handed over to Metuh in September 2013, told the court at the resumed trial that it was not surprising for him to learn that the sum of N400m was authorised by former President Jonathan to counter the opposition’s campaign.
Okeke said that APC’s campaign had a devastating impact on Jonathan’s image that warranted the engagement of a number of consultants to help change public perception about the former President before the 2015 general election.
The witness in his testimony disclosed that Jonathan’s image was surrounded by a lot of issues that needed clarification.
He said, “The image of the party and that of Jonathan was seriously battered by the APC and as a result of that, the important assignment of the party at that time was the re-election.
“The party was doing all it could to be accepted by the voting public and for the party to be accepted by the voting public, it has to present a good image to the public”.
He also told the court that funds raised by individuals for the purpose of the campaign were paid directly to Jonathan and that Jonathan was responsible for the disbursement of the funds.
Under cross-examination by Tochukwu Nwugbufor, SAN, counsel to the second defendant, the witness said no fund was passed to him when he assumed the office of acting National Publicity Secretary of the party on June 20, 2013, and he also did not pass any to Metuh by the time he (Okeke) handed over to Metuh in September of the same year.
According to him, Metuh is a man who had “an unrivalled passion for his job and was so determined to make a success of it as the National Publicity Secretary of the party.”
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