PDP NEC passes vote of confidence on President Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday got a major boost to its political to his muted ambition to run for the second term in office with the National Executive Committee (NEC) of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), handing him a vote of confidence.
And in a gush of enthusiasm, President Goodluck Jonathan like the lizard in Achebe's Thing Fasll Apart patted himself at the back, declaring that under his leadership Nigeria has made significant progress in many sectors.
Jonathan also boasted that no amount of gang up by opposition political parties can uproot the PDP.
He spoke at the 61st National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP held at the Wadata Plaza, Abuja,
A statement by the Special Adviser to President on media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati said the confidence motion was moved by Senator Ibrahim Mantu and unanimously adopted by all members of the committee at yesterday's PDP NEC meeting.
He said the party commended President Jonathan's 'resolute and decisive tackling' of Nigeria's security challenges which, it said, had curbed terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria, particularly in the North-East geo-political zone.
The PDP also applauded ongoing reforms and development in the country, especially those in the agricultural, aviation, transportation, and education sectors, saying that it was apparent that President Jonathan's Agenda for National Transformation is being diligently implemented and that Nigerians are better for it.
The party also commended President Jonathan's strict adherence to the rule of law as well as his protection and defense of the constitution.
'The President is discharging his mandate to the appreciation of Nigerians that overwhelmingly voted for him in the 2011 general elections.
'It is therefore in view of the above that members of the National Executive Committee of our great party do hereby pass a vote of confidence in the President, Commander-In-Chief, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR,' the motion stated.
Jonathan described the killings in Zamfara State as not Boko Haram related, even as he said what concerns him most at the moment is the alarming rate of communal conflict and ethnic cleansing in some parts of the country that people now attribute to Boko Haram.
The President, who noted that PDP must work to increase the number of governors produced by it in subsequent elections, however stressed that Nigerians must appreciate the party for stabilizing the polity.
He said, ''One good thing that Nigerians should commend PDP now is that if you look at the evolution of political parties, it is now stable. Before when elections are coming, by now you will hearing about new parties being formed and at a time, the ballot paper was becoming too long, INEC was finding a way of deregistering parties.
''Because PDP has come on very strong, no matter the criticism they are criticizing us, they know that we are very strong and they realize that what they need to do is not forming new parties but parties coming together. So, we are helping to stabilize the polity.
''We will encourage them to come together more. We want a situation where it is PDP versus one. In that case, the polity will be more stable. Even our members will be more loyal to the party because you will have nowhere to go.
''All this time, immediately we disagree in PDP, somebody is picking form in one PPP, DDD party and contesting House of Assembly or House of Reps or Senate. When we have only two, before you get there, they have already occupied that place. So, even if we disagree, we will agree at the end of the day and it will even help to build a stronger party.
''So, Nigerians should commend PDP. If PDP were weak, people wouldn’t have gathered together. There wouldn’t have been any reason for parties to come together to fight PDP. But when you have so many parties on their own they know they cannot face us until they come together then you know that we are formidable.
''And PDP will become stronger and no matter the gang up, I don’t see how they can uproot the PDP.
On Security and Zamfara killing, President Jonathan said, ''The other one is the issue of security which I wouldn’t want to dwell to on. We are all aware of the issues of kidnapping in southern part of the country, the excesses of terrorist groups in some parts of the north and the steps taken by government are known to all of us.
''But one key thing sometimes that get people confused about Boko Haram is this communal conflicts, ethnic cleansing. It was not so prominent before. Animosity between tribes and society has been a part of human society, it has been a part of the history of the human race. People leaving together must have disagreement. But this idea of minor provocation, youth will carry weapons to attack and kill massively like what happened in Zamfara State recently, it has nothing to do with Boko Haram.
''But because Boko Haram is an issue, whenever somebody is killed, everybody says it is Boko Haram. What happened in Zamfara state had nothing to do with Boko Haram.
''It is one area the governors will also be discussing in their meetings. This ethnic rivalry is becoming embarrassing. Government cannot continue to sit down and allow ethnic rivalry between communities, between different ethnic groups leading to deaths.
''Definitely, if we send soldiers to such places, soldiers carry guns, they don’t carry canes, the result may not be too palatable.
''So on our own, the leaders of this country, governors and all of us, we should try and continue to talk to our brothers and sisters that killing is not the best way to resolve conflicts. As long as we liver, there must be conflicts but we should use dialogue to resolve our conflicts.''
Thanking members of NEC and the party for their support, the President said, ''on behalf of the Vice President, and other members of the party working with us at the executive, let me thank the party for the support they gave to us during the presentation of our mid term review of our activities. When I walked into the hall that day, and saw all of you there, I was quite encouraged.
''Even since after that presentation, we have been monitoring, most of you even in your private conversation with people in different fora, you have been very defensive of government. We thank you for that.''
The President who called for regular informal meetings of the party where members could brainstorm on issues rather than the present National Caucus and NEC, said, ''the lesson we learnt from the dinner was that beside these statutory national convention, NEC meeting, BoT meeting and Caucus, there is a need for a very informal gathering for leaders of the party to meet from time to time. We believe that we must find a way of creating it.
''I wouldn’t say much but when we come for NEC, they will expect the President to make brief remark about topical issues.
''Presently, you know there are political issues on ground, there are security issues and of course, economic issues. I wouldn’t want to go into details. Political issues, we also listen to INEC, they have warned us not to go too far because they are yet to open their doors for politicking. But one thing I have to appreciate the party and especially the PDP governors is the formation of the PDP GF. It has really helped to stabilize the polity.
''Governor Akpabio said it all that at the beginning, there was no need for PDP GF but now that we have reduced in number to 23, definitely, this should be the least. We cannot shrink below this level. We must build up. As the time of formation of the Nigerian Governors Forum, focus was slightly different. In every organization, over the year, there must be some change direction and so and so forth.
''So, looking at the number of PDP governors vis a vis the total number of governors, it becomes very clear that the PDP needs to have their own thing because we have realized that some of the other political parties, the governors used to meet before coming for general meetings. But PDP being the elephant among them did not really bother much. But over the period, we have realized that there is the need for them to also meet because politics is politics. Politics is a game of interest.
''I remember the first time I read Obasanjo’s book, that was 1981,My Command and he said something in one of the places there that in politics, there is nothing like permanent friends or permanent enemies but permanent interests.
''I believe in even in local politics, the interest matters so much. There is no permanent friend, no permanent enemy but permanent interest and as long as people have different interest, there must be disagreement. But as a member of political party, we must know that no matter what, the party’s interest must supersede any other interest. At the end of the day, all our interests will converge to one interest, that is the interest of PDP.''
Speaking on economy as very crucial to nation building, he said, ''Of course, if you ask a president or somebody who wants to contest election or the president of any country and you ask what will be your area of interest, he will tell you the economy of the country. If you ask again what will be your second area, he will tell you the economy of the country. If you tell him, what is the third interest, he will tell you the economy of the country.
''Of course, you talk about education, about roads, about power and so on, but you cannot do any of these without a robust economy. So that is the core.
''The key areas they will raise is insecurity and corruption. As long as we can handle these two, there is no reason the economy of Nigeria will not be the biggest in very few years.
''In terms of economic focus, it is quite bright. All what we need as a nation is for us to believe in Nigeria and no matter the interest we have, not to compromise the interest of the state.
''Somebody may want to hold office including that of the president or a councillor, the country must be there for you to hold that office and as long as you don’t compromise the interest of the state in our political struggle in Nigeria’s interest, it will not take us more that five years for this country to get to the point where the issues of unemployment and job creation will no longer be a big thing.
''For us, myself and the Vice President and members of our team, I promise the party that we will not disappoint. We must make sure that anytime PDP has any reason to campaign, we must have reference point, we have solid material to show.
''We have not reached where we want to go, no doubt about that. We are totally committed that we must move this country to where we want our children to be but we need the maximum cooperation of ever member of our party.
''We promise our party that in spite of the noise people are making, political environment, there is so much noise, they are just noise. We will continue to move forward in PDP.
Earlier in his remarks, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has warned members of the party to stop over heating the polity because of their inordinate ambition as that contradicts the party's perception of democratic orderliness, just as he said that open confrontation with political administration which exposes the political weakness of the party.
Tukur who also warned members of the party irrespective of position to respect President Goodluck Jonathan as the symbol of PDP, stressed that he must be respected and treated with dignity.
Tukur said, ''Open confrontation with political administration exposes our political weaknesses. Fighting the party from within is unhealthy and dangerous for our image and aspirations. Overheating the polity because of inordinate ambition contradicts our perception for democratic orderliness.
''As good leaders, let us not forget that, we have an obligation to serve and serve the people very well. Those who resort to trend the path of dismal performance should never underestimate the political awareness of Nigerians who keep track of every single political development in today's Nigeria.
''Ample evidence within the territory of democracy have shown that democratically elected Presidents are symbol of every nation. Here in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan is our symbol. He must therefore be respected and treated with dignity. Undermining the leader for no just reasons can nowhere bring us good results. This observation is necessary to remind PDP members that we owe ourselves a duty to protect, project and support our President to leave behind a lasting legacy for the Nigerian.
''The National Transformation Agenda is another building block for national unity and development. It is a worthy programme that does not segregate but aggregates to achieve excellence with assurances of service delivery in a nation where our aspirations can be realized.''
Speaking further, Tukur said, ''Political parties all over the world serve as vehicle for democracies. How do we then make sense out of this tradition and make our internal democracy workable, achievable and believable?
''In responding to the above, democracy serves as a function for political reasoning and impresses on the political parties to be more focused in developing objectives, choosing alternative, establishing collaborations and selecting goals for the organs to operate efficiently.
''In our efforts to achieve success, we must rededicate our genuine political beliefs, change our attitudes and identify our political needs. These good values cannot be realized without accepting the supremacy of the party constitution as key instrument that ensures progress, stability and internal discipline.
''We must strengthen our democracy through determination not personalization, correction not manipulation, collectivism not individualism and sacrifice not disservice. If these pronouncements are substantial, then, the party should quickly take urgent steps to achieve higher levels at least by coming to terms with democratic norms and practices.
On the Challenges for PDP, Tukur said, ''It is important to note that the party all this while struggles for support to effect the necessary changes that can to stop cases of disrespect to party decisions, which has become a style. Internal communication has considerably declined over the past years. Glaring aparty to party funding by members is rife, I hope it is not a deliberate attempt to weaken the party leadership. I wish to categorically state that by sustaining our optimism and eradicating our shortcomings, Nigeria will be reinforced and our desire for peace, liberty and wealth creation will serve as guiding principles to face the challenges ahead.
''To complement this programme successfully, PDP should be in the forefront – ensuring that we are all accountable to this nation. We must resolve to work together to achieve higher values and prospects in line with the foundation laid by the President.
''May I also remind you that there are promises made on this PDP journey. It guarantees independence but demands for public trust. It promises opportunity but needs dedication. Nigeria will continue to be a great nation if only we can mutually and jointly tackle its challenges and exploit its natural endowment. As a developing nation we should plan for the future by opting for good practices. There is greatness in PDP administration at all levels and Nigeria will triumphantly flourish beyond our imagination.
On policy brand for the Party, the National Chairman said, ''There is a need to blend the Party Manifesto, National Transformation Agenda and the Triple 'R' Programme of the party. These policies were developed and presented as major agent of change for Nigeria to move forward.
''Our focus for the future is all about consolidation and continuity and that goes beyond the plans of our opponents that PDP will fail. Rather, the party shall continue to unite and provide adequate support for legislative decisions and executive actions to conform to our national needs.
On the way Forward, he said, ''Reconcile our disagreements by closing ranks and stimulating greater efficiency in our judgments. Already mechanisms have been put in place to achieve unity at all levels of the party.