PDP chairman says party does not pretend it is the only one existing in the country.
Fresh from Canada where he had gone on official assignment for about three weeks, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, on Monday described the call by the opposition parties for President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation as “ignorance.”
Mr. Tukur also said that the PDP is not distracted by the merger of the opposition parties into the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, had, in a statement by its spokesman, Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, asked the president to resign if he does not have an answer to the increasing security challenges facing the country.
The party chairman told journalists in Abuja that ACN made the statement out of ignorance and noted that Americans have not called on President Barack Obama to resign following the security challenges in some part of the United States.
“This kind of talk is just ignorance. Is it the President that killed the policemen? He’s not. If there is any security threat, the security personnel will take care of that,” he said.
“The recent bomb blast that killed some people in America- the people did not call President Obama to resign because of that. Out of ignorance people say things. Opposition can say anything if they like. I don’t think we will bother ourselves about this.”
Mr. Tukur also disclosed that he laughed when he read reports of his own resignation in the media three weeks ago while in Canada.
“Of course I laughed when I heard about it,” he said. “I was in Canada working to bring more business for our people. We went to persuade these people to come and invest in our country, to come and partner with us. We need development because we are deficit in infrastructure, education, in health among others. If they come, we will continue to reduce that deficit,” he said.
On the merger of the opposition parties into APC, Mr. Tukur said PDP never pretended that it was the only party and is not distracted by the merger.
He said, “No, (PDP is not afraid) because PDP wants democracy and PDP cannot pretend that they are the only party that exists in the country. No. PDP recognizes the party, association, whatever to work with it. But PDP is not distracted by other parties coming together. No. PDP should now find out what else they are not doing that the other parties are doing in favour of their own members.
“In other places, at the beginning, it was ideology. We don’t have ideology at the moment. Before, it was communism, socialism. It was divided between the west and the east. It is no longer there. Everybody knows that today, it is human rights. That is your ideology – justice, democracy, equity. These are the things. Now, how deep are you prepared to go in practicalizing these issues that will now appeal to your members so that they can continue supporting you. That is the idea. It gingers you. If you are sleeping before, now you wake up.
“PDP is under my watch. I believe that I can work with any association simply because there is a competition, pure and simple.”
He also dismissed a statement by a former Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, that there would be war if Mr. Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015.
Responding to Mr. Dokubo’s outburst, the PDP national chairman said it is wrong to talk about war in elections, stressing that if elections are made a matter of controversy, people would not take it serious.
“It is a wrong thing even to talk about war in election. Election should be free. People elect who they want. So, election is free. Election should not be something you say if this does not happen, this will happen. Then it is no more election. Election means, you offer yourself and they take you or they take another one. Finish. That is what election means. Free and fair.
“So, if you make it a matter of controversy, it is you that makes it controversial and I don’t think people will think seriously about that issue because in our country, we say we are going to do democracy. In our country, we say we are free to go and offer ourselves. If we want election, nobody will stop us. That’s all.
“So, if they bring something which is misunderstood, the people should tell them, why are you fighting about election? We thought we are in a democratic country. We offer ourselves. So, don’t fight. When time comes to elect according to your constitution, offer yourself.”
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