Jonathan lashes out at PDP critics, says they are pretenders

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan has described the critics of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as pretenders, saying despite their refusal to acknowledge the achievements of the party since it took over power in 1999, it has kept it promises to Nigerians.

In his remark at the party’s Special Convention held at the Eagles Square yesterday, he said the PDP is the only party that has retained its identity since three parties were registered in 1998, adding that is the only party that is not align to any ethic, religious or regional interest. He further added that others parties have been imploded along the way or subsumed their identity in search of political direction and relevance.

He said PDP is not just party of the present, but it is the party of the future, adding it does not fight destitutes but destitution.

The President said the PDP has remained a strong fortress of hope for Nigerians but has remained focus on building a greater Nigeria, one that can afford this generation and the generation to come better life.

President Jonathan took a swipe at dooms day prophets who ahead of the 2015 general elections, have propagated dooms day scenarios, assured that the PDP will continue to grow bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger.

Jonathan said the reason for the convention was to ensure that the party adhere to due process following the observation of an error in the election of some of its national officers by the Independent Electoral Commission.

While commending those who voluntarily resign rather than dragging the party into unnecessary litigation, he assured them that PDP will reward them.

President Jonathan listed some of the achievements of the PDP in the various sector of the economy in the telecoms, agriculture, aviation, transportation, roads, water resources, education among others.

He said as the biggest party in Africa that is truly nationalistic in nature, it would not disappoint Nigerians, reaffirming the party’s commitment to internal democracy and belief in the rule of law.

The President said, “The process of building and enduring political institution is difficult, thankless but ultimately rewarding.

“We are gathered here at Eagles Square to uphold our tested values of our great party internal democratic culture as well as chart a new course and way forward for our party.

“Our great party which is widely acclaimed as the biggest in Africa,  is  the only Nigerian party that has been growing in leaps and bounds. It is the only Nigerian party that is not align to any ethic, religious or regional interest. It is the only party that is collectively owned by Nigerians. We are very proud of our heritage and we will never betray the trust that the majority of Nigerians reposed in us.

We will recall that in March 2012, our great party held its regular national convention in this very square, during which the new national party leadership was elected. The process was proceeded by meticulous plan and was executed with commendable efficiency to popular acclaim. However that exercise contained a procedural flaw to which the attention of the party was drawn by INEC.

“Rather that engage in protracted legal argument about the merit or otherwise of such an observation, we opted to respect the pronouncement of such a key national institution as an example to other political players about the meaning and purpose of constitutional rule of law and democracy. Thus, rather than be a set back to the steady building of our party political and organisational structure, it is a golden opportunity for us to showcase our formidable political will that has seen us through many obstacle and challenges since our great party was founded by visionary and selfless Nigerians in 1998.

“We are here today to reaffirm our faith in Nigeria, our commitment to internal democracy and our believe in the rule of law.

The PDP is one big family and we are her for a family meeting. We must utilise our strength for the benefit of our immense followership and the generality of Nigerians that look up to us. We pride for inspiration and guidance we cannot afford to let them down.

“I also commend all those who took the pain to make the sacrifice and demonstrate maturity and loyalty to the party to bring us to this moment, that is those who willingly and voluntarily resigned their positions to allow us do this convention. They are patriotic party members unlike others who drag the party to unnecessary litigation. We commend them and promise that the party will reward them.

“We are here fellow delegates in obedience to due process. We are confident that all those who will be elected today into positions of responsibility entrusted with the mantle of leadership within the party will work diligently as one team. The party has provided a level playing field for all contestants to demonstrate their readiness for this call to service.

“Of course in the PDP we always insist that in our elections there are no winners or losers. We are all winners. So those that will be elected here must serve with honour, integrity and dignity.

“We must work relentlessly to bring about the much needed cohesion, discipline, and supremacy of the party to enable it face without distraction pressing national challenges and task ahead.

“To remain strong and successful, we must not only continue to be a party of internal democracy but also of internal discipline. Our party structures and rules are clearly defined, they provide a clear guide for action and programmes. To undermine them is to compromise our strength and goals.

“I will like to remind all here how far we have come. Of the three political parties registered in 1998, and I want you to listen, only PDP has retained its singular identity and core vision as a political movement till date while others have been imploded along the way or subsumed their identity in search of political direction and relevance. The PDP has remained a strong fortress of hope for our people but remained focus on building a greater Nigeria, one that can afford this generation and the generation to come better life.

“As we approach the 2015 general elections, many dooms day scenarios are being propagated, ladies and gentlemen, the PDP will continue to grow bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger.

“The visible vibrancy that our party has encouraged from 1998 helped to strengthen our party and support the goals of internal democracy of this country. It will foster greater democracy in our party. We believe in freedom of speech, we believe in the freedom of association, we believe in the freedom of participation.

“The PDP is the party for patriots, for those who for partisan reasons continue to deny or feign ignorance of the progress Nigeria has made under the PDP leadership listen to me.

“Telephone penetration has grown from 400,000 in 1999 before the PDP came on board to over 120 million today. Our telecom sector has grown to be the biggest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world providing jobs for millions of Nigerians and creating a new generation of successful entrepreneurs and industrialists.

“The reforms in our communication sector are fuelling the boom in new media and supporting the development of our country. These are facts are critics never want to acknowledge.

“Under the PDP our banking sector has flourish. The branch network has grown tremendously, more branches means more assets. Our financial services are more jobs. Recapitlisation has grown in phenomenal proportion and so are the assets and loan portfolios. And the systemic crisis that use to consume banks and depressed depositors have been well managed. Before this time, banks will collapse and some people will even commit suicide because they will take community and club money and put in their accounts and when banks collapsed and they have money to pay they commit suicide. From the beginning of PDP administration that is over.

“We now have a stable and healthy banking sector. Our banks are establishing branches all over the world, global markets are now vert receptive to them. The crisis that rocked the capital market has been effectively addressed. The market is booming again. These are facts are critics never wish to acknowledge.