Mr. Jonathan says the party will soon overcome its present challenges, saying the the PDP remains the only party of influence in the country.
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his intention for the 2015 presidential election on or before the end of October this year.
Mr. Anenih stated this at the post-convention dinner held at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa.
The politician said such a decision was necessary to give the party a proper direction and set the agenda straight as the party, for the first time has embarked on discussing its future.
“It is no longer right to say the time is not right,” Mr. Anenih told PDP leaders at the dinner also attended by Mr. Jonathan.
“It is good that we tell our people where we going to, what our journey will be like,” he said in reference to Mr. Jonathan’s 2015 ambition.
President Jonathan has said he would focus on governance and would not state his position on 2015 yet although many of his aides have begun drumming support for him. The president’s planned re-election bid is believed to be the major factor that has split the PDP into two factions.
Sunday’s dinner had earlier been scheduled to hold immediately after the special convention of the party, but was overtaken by the split the party witnessed during its special convention, when seven serving governors and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stormed out and later formed a parallel PDP led by Abubakar Baraje.
In apparent reference to the current reconciliation efforts, Mr. Anenih said the task ahead was enormous; adding that “we must be seen as a team not as a group”.
He assured that despite its problems, the party would settle all disputes adding that “We will not fire any shot but we will win the war”.
The PDP leader, who alongside other leaders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has been trying to resolve the crisis, said the party “will 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 will be spared if he behaves out of indiscipline. We will do everything to bring everybody together”, he said.
In his speech, President Jonathan assured that despite some disagreements within the party , it had remained intact.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported that the dinner was boycotted by Mr. Obasanjo, Mr. Abubakar, and the seven aggrieved governors.
Expressing happiness with the turnout of guests including former chairmen and other party chieftains, Mr. Jonathan described those with grievances as minor, assuring that all will be resolved.
He declared that the dinner was a fulfilment of his commitment to create more opportunities for periodic meeting for interaction among party members at all levels.
The President assured the newly elected National Working Committee members of the party of his support and reiterated the need to work as a team.
“In any human institutions there must be disagreements. What happened (the factional PDP) is a minor disagreement that can be solved,” he said while thanking elders and governors of the party that are making efforts to resolve the crisis.
Mr. Jonathan said the PDP had the support of Nigerians and nobody wanted to see it disintegrated.
“Even ordinary Nigerians believe PDP must remain one because is the only party that can continue to give leadership.
“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 out best to keep PDP one, to keep Nigeria one,” the president said.
Sambo, Akpabio speak
Vice President Namadi Sambo, in his speech, said the PDP has always provided leadership for others to emulate.
The Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, noted that Nigeria faced major challenges in the past and did not break up and that the country would not break up under President Jonathan.
“We want Nigerians to challenge us on performance not on the pages of newspapers.
“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 people are not with those who do not respect constituted authority. Those who do not respect authority will not get authority.
“Struggling your way through with might and propaganda will not give (you) the presidency”, Mr. Akpabio said, in apparent reference to aggrieved factional leaders of PDP.
Mark, Tambuwal speaks
The Senate President, David Mark, represented by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate is undivided, united and would continue to protect the interest of Nigerians and support the current 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,” he said.
Also the Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, said the PDP members in the National Assembly would continue to support the party through legislative means.
Tukur harps on loyalty
The National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, emphasised the importance of party loyalty and discipline.
“We must learn to accept change in order to build on democratic principles.
“Our party cannot be relevant to the people only once in four years, when votes are needed, but at every time in order to improve their lot,” he said.
The chairman added, “Dialogue and reconciliation should be encouraged but our politics should be based on issues rather than personalities.”
Prof. Jerry Gana, described the faction that emerged after the convention as a pre-meditated plan, assuring however that the party remained focussed and deep enough to confront it.
He noted that the party was going through a difficult time, but appealed that a time of claims and counter claims was not a time to show weakness.
He said while reconciliation is good, wonderful and is even encouraged by the Bible, but we should not give room for the impression that certain people group of people were indispensable.
He said the second appeal, was to remind members of the biggest party in Africa that PDP is for governance, social justice.
“This party is strong, PDP is a family and in a family there must be trust. He said the way some of the family members are behaving , they have demonstrated that there is no trust.
“There must be restoration of trust, goodwill, transparency and confidence.
“We need trust to remain a strong party and in 2015 we shall do it again”.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, had in his welcome address assured President Jonathan that majority of Nigerians were happy with his leadership.
According to him those absent at last night dinner were towing the wrong path, urging them to return to the good path.
He said “Those who are likely not here are those not on the wrong part. We appeal to them to return back to the right part.
“Goodluck and Sambo will take us to the promise land. Loyalty and support is not the word of mouth, it is by action.
“Mr. President 90 per cent of Nigerians are with you and the Chairman of the PDP”.
Also the state party chairmen in the 36 states of the federation declared their loyalty for the President now and beyond 2015, they also pledged their loyalty for the national chairman and the governors.
They commended him for his maturity so far and urged him to use his power to resolve the crisis before 2015.
Speaking on behalf of former governors Boni Haruna of Adamawa, accompanied by Dipreye Alamieyesigha (Bayelsa), Jim Nwobodo (old Anambra State), Ikedi Ohahim (Imo), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Abdulkadri 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.
“You can count on us any day and we will be there for you”.
The Women group thanked the President for empowering women and for increasing the number of women in appointive and elective offices and urged hime to “stay back to continue for another four years”.
The youth group said their support remain unshaken for a party that has remain consistent in delivering the dividend of democracy.
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.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...