The director of research and strategy of the Goodluck/Sambo campaign organisation, Mike Omeri has been suspended for ignoring the president's directive not to engage opposition parties in smear campaigns.
The suspension was ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan The letter, dated March 22, 2011, which conveyed Mr. Omeri's suspension yesterday, was signed by the director general of the Presidential Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dalhatu Tafida, who said he (Omeri) was making pronouncements without clearance from his superiors.
The letter reads, "In spite of repeated warnings to you to desist from pronouncements on the campaign without clearance from either the Director of Publicity or Deputy Director-General, or Director-General, you have persisted in this direction and thereby embarrassed the campaign with unauthorised statements that are at variance with the values and principles of our presidential candidate.
"You are accordingly suspended from your duties as Director of Research and Strategy until further notice while you are required to respond within 24 hours as to why stronger sanctions should not be applied to you."
It was learnt that Mr Jonathan, during a meeting with campaign directors and committee heads at the Legacy House campaign headquarters in Abuja yesterday, expressed worry over a statement Mr Omeri issued last weekend.
The president was also said to have demanded to know why Mr Omeri persistently ignored his instruction to the PCC publicity department not to engage in mudslinging with his challengers, and instead focus on issues.
In the statement that got him into trouble, the suspended director had cast aspersion on the integrity of the presidential candidates of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and that of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Nuhu Ribadu and Muhammadu Buhari, respectively.
Mr Omeri also threatened to expose the two candidates whom he said were not as clean as perceived by the public.
"The two self acclaimed anti-corruption 'stars' had proved that they had their hands soiled with acts of corruption when they were in government'', Mr Omeri had stated in the statement published in a national daily.
A forthnight ago, Mr Omeri also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify Mr Buhari for allegedly preaching violence.
The director also said that he received a text message from an unknown person threatening to kill him for speaking ill of the CPC presidential flag bearer. He said the threat came from the Buhari camp.