Following insinuations that President Goodluck Jonathan has a hidden agenda on the proposed National Conference, the South-west Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday put up a spirited defence in support of the president, saying he does not have any ulterior motive behind the convocation of the dialogue.
The party also dismissed insinuations that the planned conference would widen the division between the north and southern parts of the country.
The party’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, disclosed this during a get-together party to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir celebration by the Chairman of the South-west PDP Organisation and Mobilisation Committee, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, for party leaders in the zone in Ijebu Igbo area of Ogun State.
The party noted that because the president believes in the indivisibility of the nation, it would be foolhardy for him to do anything that would compromise the corporate existence of the country.
He added that with the proposed national dialogue, President Jonathan had proved that his administration was not insensitive to the yearnings of the majority of Nigerians for the convocation of a national conference, where they would iron out their differences.
According to him, this is where the PDP comes in. PDP is the only party in this country, you will agree with me that really brings us all together. You go to Sokoto, Bornu, Rivers, the creeks in Delta, you go to the savanna plains in Bauchi State, you go the rainforest in Ondo and Ekiti States. You will see the umbrella of the PDP. PDP has cemented the unity of this country. Within the PDP we have nothing like North and South.
“This is an unnecessary dichotomy introduced by those who are unable to compete using their own human quality. We as members and leaders of the PDP in the country, we believe in the oneness of this country. We believe that we have six geo-political zones in this country,” he noted.
He, therefore, said he “does not see the country in terms of two entities. We see it as a family of six geo-political zones. Within each geo-political zones we have a lot of nationalities. So, it is very simplistic and it would be highly unpatriotic for any Nigeria to continue thinking in terms on North and South.
“The National Chairman, by the grace of God, is Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is from the North, the so called North, which I term as the North-east. The president and leader of this party is from the South South. The Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, is from the North-west. The Senate president is from the North-central. By the special grace of God, the National Secretary of the PDP is from the South-west, while the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is from the South-east.
“You will see that we have successfully welded together our diverse peoples to form a vibrant party and a cohesive government. There is nothing in the national dialogue that is going to widen the gap. The definition of the North as I speak to you is different from the definition you could have given it pre-1966. There is nothing like a monolithic North and there is nothing like a monolithic South. We have different nationalities, over 300 nationalities in this country working together within the PDP, working together within the administration led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and assisted by Namadi Sambo.
“Our party doesn’t believe in North and South. We are one people and we will continue to be one people. It is only failed politicians who are unable to compete using their own personal human quality who always resort to this question of North and South. I don’t believe in it, the PDP doesn’t believe in it. The federal government led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t believe in it.”
The PDP national secretary also stated that the president had no ulterior motive for setting machinery in motion to enable Nigerians hold a national dialogue.
Oladipo argued that the president had demonstrated sincerity by taking the decision to organise a national dialogue without being pressurised by Nigerians to do so.
“We are lucky to have a president who is a listening president. We have a president who believes in transformation. We have a president who has nothing to hide. We have a president who believes in the indivisibility of this country.
We have a president who believes in the leadership of Nigeria in the comity of nations. That is why he has decided without any undue pressure from any quarters, that as Nigerians we need to sit down together, look at areas that need perfection in our nation and see how we can move forward as one people under one God.
“Our position in the PDP is that this conference is timely, it is necessary dialogue should be a continuous thing amongst brothers and sisters. We as a party we are in support of the position of Mr. President and as an individual and an academic, I believe that dialogue is essential in social relations.
“We as a people in this country, we need to sit down together, look at areas of conflict, look at the areas of agreement, look at areas where we need to put in place mechanism for resolving conflicts. There will always be conflict in a large society like our own. As an individual I am in absolute agreement with the position of the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and president of this country,” he said.