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GEJ Tells Appointees Meeting Discreetly Ahead Of 2015 Poll To Resign

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 20, (THEWILL) - If you are a political appointee serving in the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and you are holding discreet meetings towards fulfilling a political ambition in 2015, the President says it is a distraction from the targets of his government and wants you to either abort your meetings, resign or be sacked.

The President gave the advise at the 58th edition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at the party’s national secretariat, Wadata Plaza, Abuja on Monday.

“Let me plead with those who are interested in the general elections in 2015. I have noticed that some people have just started meetings. It is too early to hold meetings. The idea is that people who were elected into offices as Governors and President be given some time to work. In a situation whereby a Governor has not even stayed for a year, the President has not stayed for a year and you start harassing people for 2015, it is another way of saying everything is about elections.

“There must be time to work. At the federal level, if you are holding a political office and I notice that you are involved in meetings for 2015 election, I will ask you to leave and go and hold your meetings because that meeting is too early; government must not be distracted,” President Jonathan said.

Speaking on deregulation and the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE), the President said it would be difficult to meet the targets set out in the programme because the government still pays a huge sum subsidizing petrol.

“The current realities have made nonsense of the laudable feat articulated in the SURE programme. What we have in the downstream sector now is price increase, as against the total deregulation envisaged. I think as I came in I saw this SURE book being distributed, we are withdrawing it; this is the old one. We developed this with the expectation that we are going to completely deregulate the downstream of the oil industry, which is 100 per cent removal of subsidy.

“You know, we could not achieve that though there is increase in the pump price. So, this has to be adjusted. I don’t want this thing to be distributed. It will give a wrong impression. Nigerians will start to say that Jonathan government promise this and what has it done?

“We are working on a new document based on reality but we don’t want to promise what we will not achieve. Those who have the pamphlet should please return it. We cannot realize the monies that are stated there but we will still come up with a document based on what we get,” the President stated.

President Jonathan further charged party leaders to conduct free and fair ward, local and state congresses for the forthcoming PDP national convention saying, that transparency in the party has come to stay.

“Let us begin to move from the culture of imposition. From wards, states to national level, let us ensure that people are elected democratically. If we have rancor-free congresses, of course, we are sure that primaries or general elections in 2015 will also be democratic and the general elections will also be free and fair.”

After the NEC’s closed-door meeting, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali in a chat with journalists said NEC approved a new timeline for the party’s national convention, which will now hold on March 24, 2012.

Alkali said the exercise will begin from ward congresses on March 03, 2012, adding that a slight tenure extension was also approved for the present PDP National Working Committee (NWC).

“NEC also unanimously approved a slight extension of tenure of the current NWC to terminate at the end of March 2012. Similarly, NEC approved that tenure of office of ward, local government, states and zonal executive committees terminate in line with the revised timetable for congresses and national convention.’’