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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday came down hard on the former five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that their defection had no impact on his party.
The governors are Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Muritala Nyako (Adamawa), Musa Kwankwamso (Kano), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto) and Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers).
He further said some of the governors who defected to the APC cannot conduct local government elections in their states because they cannot win elections in their wards in their respective states. Also, the president said great efforts were being made to release the abducted girls of the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, but did not give details, stating: “Security details are not discussed in the market place.”
Speaking at the 65th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP, the president added: "Let me also join our chairman to encourage all our party members that we should not be scared at all. There was a time, especially when some of our governors for one reason or the other, moved and some members of the National Assembly also moved and people were feeling ‘oh, these people will overrun PDP’.
“From the privileged position that I am, I see, when I look across, I do not really see that threat. I said, ‘look, psychologically we must let everybody know that PDP is still the dominant party.’ I told the National Chairman that we should have zonal unity rallies, let us demonstrate our strength so that they will know that the one or two persons that left are inconsequential.
“Some of them, I am not sure, they can win their wards in an election now because some of those states are totally PDP states. When you think that you are this and you are that and you probably think you will leave with the whole state, by the time we arrive you get to know that others stayed behind to continue with PDP. That is what I am seeing because there are some states that cannot conduct local government elections,” he said.
Accordingly, he said: “All what I am saying is that PDP is still solid, PDP is still the dominant party, our rallies show very clearly and surely that this party will win our elections free and fair.
“In terms of decamping, the trend is also changing. At a time the whole thing is stalemated and we are seeing more people even coming to PDP. If you really want to play politics, it is PDP. Our democratic credentials have not been challenged. It is still the only party that you can become a candidate based on free and fair primaries.
“It is a party that do or not impose candidates on constituencies, it is a party that our candidates are accepted by the people from the various constituencies from the state level, that senatorial, House of Representatives or state House of Assembly. I believe that with this position of the party, we will continue to dominate the political landscape of this country.
“Let me join the chairman to congratulate all members of our party for bringing the party to this level. We are always proud of the party. From the beginning till today, we have not changed anything here, from the logo of the party, the name of the party, the motto, everything.
“It is the only party that the identity is known. That is why when you travel out, they have forgotten the name of other parties. It is only PDP they know because they cannot remember the names of the other ones because of the level of mutations that have been going on,” the president said.
The president commended the Senate President and indeed the Senate for ensuring that PDP regained focus despite all the challenges it was facing in the hand of the APC controlled APC.
He said other African heads of states during the ECOWAS and African Union would asked him, “We thought that PDP controls the National Assembly.' I said yes. 'It controls the Senate?' I said yes. 'It controls the House of Representatives?' I said yes. 'But the stories coming out from there I don't expect that. What is the problem?'
“But within this period, I think there are clear signs. This is party politics. We are talking about A or B. The party interest is the party interest. We are beginning to see that the game changer has brought so much changes across the board. We are beginning to see that the National Assembly is a PDP assembly.
“So, let me sincerely thank the Chairman of the National Assembly, our senators and House of Representatives are with us and those of them who are not here that we are appreciating what you are doing and of course, this is the last quarter the term of four years. In football match, they say injury time. I know we will continue to work together for the interest of our country and for the interest of our party”.
He also commended the governors of the party, saying, “another group of people that I must specially appreciate is our governors, the PDP governors. You know the Nigeria Governors Forum, there were some challenges that came up and PDP governors became very strong.
“Let me congratulate the great PDP state chairmen. We are quite impressed with what you are doing leading at the state level. Some of the states even without governors, we know what they are passing through. Even little allowances for transport for even some of their members sometimes, it is extremely difficult in some of the states where we don't have PDP governors. But still, you are forging ahead, you are never intimidated. You continue to push as if you have super governors with you. We commend you for your good work,” Jonathan stated.
On the security challenges in the country, the president told the PDP NEC that there was no need to be sacred of, as his administration, “But I will just join the chairman to note that this is not a good time for all of us as a country. Obviously everybody knows the security challenges we have. I don’t want to be moaning or complaining but all what I can assure our great party is that we are taking o the challenges. I can promise you that members of the BoT and members of the National Caucus I called the National Security Adviser to brief them. All what I can assure you is that those issues of equipment and other things we are handling them. God willing these challenges of Boko Haram or other criminal elements will soon come to be history in this country.
“While contending with security challenges, we are still totally committed to our developmental programmes based on our party manifesto.
“Most of our PDP states are doing well. In fact security challenges are less in the PDP states because of the commitment of the governors.
“At the federal level, if we don’t do well that is where they will say what have they done. We are working hard, some people are appreciating so of the things we are doing. The country is so big that sometimes people don’t see everything. By the time give account of our stewardship the party members will be happy for what we have done over this short period of time.
“Let me also join our chairman to encourage all our party members that we should not be scared at all. There was a time, especially when some of our governors for one reason or the other, moved and some members of the National Assembly also moved and people were feeling ‘oh, these people will overrun PDP”.
He also commended the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, for turning around the image of the party.