Jonathan in Owerri to welcome defectors, declares there’s no discrimination in PDP
President Goodluck Jonathan has said that in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, there will be no discrimination for the returning members of the party.
The president made the declaration at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri on Saturday during PDP’s Sensitization rally where former governor of Imo State Chief Achike Udenwa and a number of former party members were received back to its fold.
Among the prominent returnees are Senator Chris Anyawu, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Chief Mike Ahamba, Chief Cosmas Iwu, Chief Lambert Iheanacho, and Hon. Independence Ogunewe.
Jonathan said that if the former members who defected to other parties return within the period, they will be on equal pedestal with existing members and enjoy the same privileges otherwise, they will have to be on the queue.
Jonathan who was obviously impressed by the turn out of defectors in Imo State assured that there will be no discrimination against them in the PDP.
“The message today is very clear and I believe some of my good friends are not here. We have opened the door for a few days. You join us these few days, the position you occupy is the position any other person will occupy. No discrimination.
“But if you don’t come and come later, you will queue behind your ward assistant chairman.
“So, the time to join us is now so that there will be nothing like discrimination in anything. The party is open for everybody. Equal rights and justice is guaranteed. We are party that believes in justice and so, we must also believe I equal rights.
“For us, Imo state PDP has come together, everybody has equal rights, there is no discrimination. We call on all of you who are still watching that this is the best time to join us so that you can use the platform of PDP to express any interest you have,” he said.
The president who insisted that the occasion was not a campaign rally, said there will be no democracy in Nigeria without the PDP and extolled its qualities which he said anyone wishing to join a party must consider.
He said it is only the party that can guarantee equal rights and justice as well as a level-playing field for all members.
According to him, “sometime in Nigeria, the young people get worried because we the politicians sometimes don’t even know what to convey to them by what we do.
“You ask ourselves, why should any person join a political party. There must be a reason for you to join a political party. The political party scientists will give you so many theoretical reasons but those of us who are practical politicians will say that the first thing that drives you is the ideology of the party.
“The second thing that you will consider is, does that party promote democratic principles and obey the rule of law because if you go to a party that does not promote democratic principles and doesn’t obey the rule of law, anything can happen.
“Another thing that you ask yourself is that in that party, is there any sense of inclusiveness? Can everybody be treated equally? Can somebody like Jonathan from the peasant family get up to the highest position in the party,p? Is it possible?
“And maybe the next thing you consider is whether the party is stable because nobody will go where experiments are still being done.
“And if you look at the PDP, you will know that among all the political parties, and that is true, they also know because you asked me to be here, I travel all over the world and I discuss with the high and mighty, and the tell you that, look, Nigeria is PDP and that anything that happens to PDP, it is not only Nigerians get worried but other heads of state especially in Africa get worried because all of them believe that PDP. Is the only stabilizing factor in the Nigerian political journey.
“There will no democracy without PDP and the reasons are obvious. In terms of ideology, since we started the PDP, the name has not changed, identity has not changed, the logo has not changed, the motto has not changed, our slogan has not changed.
“It shows that the party still believe in what they are because we believe we are doing the right thing and there is no need for mutation.
“If you talk about the promotion of democratic principles and the rule of law, you will agree with me that even some of the states where PDP lost election including Imo State where some people had to step aside because there were some problems in the party that were not too democratic and that is why you see these people stepping aside but now we have come back.
“And of course, PDP has always been the best even when we have issues. Now, we must follow the rule of law and completely follow the concept and principle o democracy. And when you talk about inclusiveness, it is only PDP that people like me could be elected as president of this country.
“You don’t need to be a money bag to buy people. All what you need to do is to be yourself and be a person of worthy character. The party will identify you and use you.
“And of course, If you talk about stability, PDP is the only stable party in Nigeria. It has not changed in any form.
“This is the party that we expect all Nigerians who want to decent politics to follow,” Jonathan said.
The president welcomed the returnees and was confident that PDP will regain Imo State in the next election.
Other who spoke at the occasion include Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha, National Chairman of PDP, Ahmed Muazu, Chairman of its Board of Trustees (BoT) Tony Anenih, Supervision Minister of Foreign Affairs Viola Onwuliri among others.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan paid courtesy calls on the chairman of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Eze C.I. Ilomuanya and the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness, Alfred Achebe.
While in Onitsha, Jonathan described himself as the number one messenger in the country while everyone in public office is a messenger.
Jonathan assured that work on the second Niger Bridge will be commence soon and also praised governor Peter Obi of Anambra State for his prudent use of resources of the state.
Jonathan also assured the monarch that Governor Obi being a member of the Economic Management Team will continue to play a prominent role at the national level when he lives office as governor.
The Obi of Onitsha commended the president for his commitment to transforming the country.