Anenih gives Jonathan, others deadline to declare 2015 aspirations
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan and other party members who are aspiring for elective offices in 2015 general elections to declare their intentions before the end of September.
Chief Anenih threw the challenge at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa Sunday night at a special post-convention dinner of the party hosted by President Jonathan.
Anenih, while speaking at the dinner said this was the first time the party was discussing about its future and admonished party faithful to remain united in order to go into election in 2015 as a united body, appealing that 'the task ahead is enormous. We must be seen as a team, not as a group'.
He then urged President Jonathan to come out and declare his presidential intentions before the end of September saying, 'it is no longer right to say the time is not right. It is good that we tell our people where we are going and how the journey will be like.'
He said the call had become necessary in view of the need for the party apparatus to prepare adequately for the exercise. 'We must be ready for the journey. By the end of September we would not be able to tell anybody that the time is not right', he told the president.
To members of the PDP faction, Chief Anenih told them: 'We will not fire any shot but we will win the war. We should not recognise opposition within PDP. We will work together as a team so that by 2015 we will come here again to shake hands. We stand for unity and discipline. Nobody who is indisciplined will be spared. We will do everything to bring everybody together,' he said.
President Jonathan who received high dose of praise from party chieftains in attendance at the dinner said the dinner was a partial fulfilment of the party's decision to encourage periodic meetings to interact with party members across states and at different cadres for them to bond with each other.
President Jonathan said that despite the major disagreement in the PDP, which has led to the formation of a parallel body, the party remains intact.
Though the post-convention conference recorded an impressive attendance of pro-Jonathan party chieftains including state governors, prominent stakeholders of the party including the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and seven PDP governors who have broken ranks with the party were conspicuously absent.
While assuring elected officials of the party of his support, President Jonathan played down the crisis in the party saying: 'In any human institutions there must be disagreements. What happened (the factional PDP) is a minor disagreements that can be solved.
'For those who have issues, we thank the elders and governors who have been meeting and listening to them, we are committed to resolving our differences'.
Noting the central place of the party in the heart of Nigerians, President Jonathan said even those who are not members of the party do not want it to disintegrate.
'Even those that are aggrieved call themselves the new PDP, meaning they know without PDP they are nothing. PDP is intact, that we have some disagreements is normal. PDP is intact and will remain intact. We will make sure that the party remains one; those who left will rejoin us. It is only PDP that has not changed name or form. We will do our best to keep PDP one, to keep Nigeria one,' the president promised.
Vice President Namadi Sambo who spoke on the future of the party said PDP has always provided leadership for this country and cannot afford to shirk that responsibility at this critical time.
Chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, dismissed insinuations that the crisis in the PDP portend danger for the country. He said that Nigeria had faced major challenges in the past and did not break up and Nigeria will not break up under Jonathan's watch.
He challenged members of the opposition party as well as Nigerians to put elected officials of the party to task based on their performance and 'not on the pages of newspapers'.
He dismissed the crisis in the party as a misunderstanding that will be resolved soon.
'We want to assure you there is no faction in the PDP; what we are seeing today is just a storm in a tea cup. If you want to step out of the party you are free, this is the only party you can leave and return and become a national party chairman.
The Senate President, David Mark, represented by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate is undivided, united and will continue to protect the interest of Nigerians and support this administration.
'Our party seems to be challenged; we appeal that everything should be done to bring everyone back to the umbrella. Together we are united'.
Also the Speaker of the House of Representatives represented by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, said PDP members in the National Assembly will continue to support the party through legislative means.
Professor Jerry Gana described the faction that emerged after the convention as a pre-meditated plan, assuring however that the party remains focused and deep enough to confront it.
He said 'while reconciliation is good, wonderful and is even encouraged by the Bible, we should not give room to impressions that certain people are indispensable.'
Speaking on behalf of former governors Boni Haruna of Adamawa, in company of Dipreye Alamieyeseigha (Bayelsa), Jim Nwobodo (old Anambra State), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Abdulkadir Kure (Niger), said 'we are here to reaffirm our support for the national leadership of our party, the president and our party.
'PDP gave us a platform to serve our nation, therefore we cannot be part of any plan to dismember PDP,' he said. Governors present were Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue (Deputy Governor) Cross River, Delta, Gombe, Katsina, Taraba (Acting Governor), Kebbi, Plateau, Kogi.
Others present were former national party chairmen, former members of the National Assembly and former governors.