- PDP will not support separatist agenda – Akpabio
- As Makarfi’s caretaker tenure is extended
Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Abuja said that the Peoples Democratic Party had returned from limbo and would reclaim power in 2019.
Mr. Jonathan said this in his address at the party’s a special national convention.
He said the party’s “achievements” while in power would rekindle the confidence of the electorate to vote it back in power in the 2019 general elections.
“The party is indeed back to reclaim its prime position as the party to lead Nigeria to greatness.
“As a human institution, we cannot claim to be perfect and as a political party, our accomplishments up to 2015 are clear for every Nigerian to see,’’ he said.
According to Mr. Jonathan, the achievements of the party while in power are ample evidence to demonstrate that PDP is a party of vision and accomplishments.
Highlighting achievements of the party, he said that elections conducted from 2011 by the government controlled by PDP met globally-accepted standard.
“We succeeded in doing that because of the leverage and the autonomy we gave to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“PDP is a party that wants to place Nigeria in a position to compete favourably with other countries,’’ he said.
On the economy, the former president said that PDP provided “focused leadership” through institutional and sectoral reforms which impacted positively on the country, especially in the last four years of our tenure.
“We tamed inflation at a single digit, maintained price stability, and drove the economy to become the largest in Africa.
“We also made Nigeria to be the number one foreign direct investment destination in the continent,’’ he said.
According to him, in 2012, PDP ensured that prices of food remained stable in spite of flood which affected 50 per cent of farmlands along the flood plains of river Niger and Benue.
Mr. Jonathan said the country was able to regain its goodwill internationally because the PDP pursued programmes and policies that were not only rewarding but were copied by other countries across the globe.
“We can recall that our agricultural transformation agenda transformed key agricultural value chains, boosted local production and created a new generation of young commercial farmers.
“The introduction of electronic wallet checked corrupt practices in the distribution of fertilizer and enabled farmers to get fertilizer like all other agro inputs.
“In the same vein, the YouWin programme empowered a crop of young Nigerians to go into entrepreneurship and in turn employed others,’’ he said.
Mr. Jonathan said although his administration did not block all the loopholes, it came up with “strong innovations” to fight corruption.
According to him, we introduced the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which has helped to reduce corruption.
“Government is run by policies, the creative thinking, brains in the executive council and in the civil servants were harnessed to get to where we are.
“If elected in 2019, PDP will fight poverty and ensure that food prices are reduced,’’ he added, and urged Nigerians to partner the party to restore good life in the country.
Meanwhile the chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate caucus, Godswill Akpabio, has said that the party will not support any separatist agenda in the country.
Mr. Akpabio made this known while speaking at the Non-Elective Convention of the PDP in Abuja on Saturday.
He said the party would continue to promote anything that would ensure the peace and unity of the country.
Mr. Akpabio, who is also the Minority Leader of the Senate, condemned hate speeches in some parts of the country, saying the unity of the country was non-negotiable.
He assured of the PDP’s support for policies of the present administration.
On the PDP’s stance on fight against corruption, Mr. Akpabio said it believed strongly in the cause, saying it was a PDP government that established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Corruption is endemic and it was brought about by the colonial masters.
“In 1960 when the Governor-General of Nigeria was handing over to the elected government of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, one of the things he said was that the problem of Nigeria was corruption.
“So, it is not a Nigerian invention and PDP has been fighting it.
“However, we must distinguish between the fight against corruption and the fight against political opponents.
“We must distinguish between fighting corruption and persecution. They are two different things,’’ he said.
Mr. Akpabio lauded the recent Supreme Court judgment on the leadership of the PDP, and said that the judiciary restored sanity in the party.
He said with the judgment, the party was poised to act as a viable opposition, while working towards ensuring good governance.
“What a beautiful moment this is for democracy in Africa.
“Nigeria is the largest black nation in the world, and a country with the population of over 170 million people cannot afford to disintegrate.
“The only way the black race can have respect is for Nigeria to have a stable democracy and the only thing that shows democracy is the legislature.
“That is why we are here in our numbers as senators, House of Representatives members and all of you gathered here today.
“We all represent democracy and that is what the PDP stands for. PDP stands for a show of the will of the people to determine who leads them,’’ he said.
Mr. Akpabio assured party members who had defected to other parties and anyone willing to join the party that its doors were open to accommodate them.
He congratulated the Chairman and members of the National Caretaker Committee of the party and pledged the continued support of PDP senators in moving the party forward.
Even as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has extended the tenure of the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee by four months.
The extension was approved Saturday afternoon by delegates from the country’s 36 states and the FCT at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
The convention also approved a recommendation for the dissolution of the state executive committee in Anambra,as well as those of all the local governments and wards in the state.
Governorship election will be held in the state in November.
In the same vein, the convention approved the dissolution of the state executive committees in Adamawa, Borno, Kebbi, Kwara, Osun, Lagos and Ogun states.
Caretaker committees proposed by the NCC for all the states were also approved.