Ahead of its national convention billed to hold in Abuja Wednesday and Thursday, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has dismissed any threat posed to President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election by his two major challengers.
The party said even where All Progressives Congress, APC’s frontline contenders, former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, presented a unified candidacy, Mr. Jonathan would defeat them both and still emerge victorious at February’s presidential election.
The spokesperson of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, made the assertion when he addressed a press conference, Tuesday, at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja.
“We are today serving notice to the opposition APC to expect a crushing defeat at the polls,” Mr. Metuh said.
“In view of our confidence, preparedness and the popularity of our candidate, we declare that the APC can put forth its two frontline aspirants in one bunch, namely General Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as joint presidential candidates with their collective credentials and followership to face our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan,” he said.
Mr. Metuh added that the job of selling the idea of re-electing Mr. Jonathan to Nigerians has been made easy by the president’s record of performance.
“The PDP is (rest) assured that we have a very good product to sell to Nigerians,” he emphasized. “We are confident that President Jonathan, as our candidate, is primed to win the 2015 presidential election based on his popularity deriving from his forthrightness, humility and steadfastness to the Nigerian project coupled with his record of verifiable achievements.”
The National convention of the PDP is expected to ratify Mr. Jonathan’s status as the party’s sole presidential candidate having been endorsed by all organs of the party.
In the same vein, the APC will between Wednesday and Thursday choose one of five candidates to face Mr. Jonathan.
At the party’s national convention holding in Lagos, delegates will pick one amongst Messrs Buhari and Atiku, the governors of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah.
Mr. Metuh said the PDP is going into its own primaries with great excitement.
“For us in the PDP, it is neither a matter of conjecture nor propaganda; we are certain that with the grassroots support and the love he enjoys from Nigerians across board, President Jonathan will secure an emphatic victory at the polls,” he said.
Why Jonathan needs a second term
The PDP spokesperson said Mr. Jonathan deserves a second term to continue with the job of maintaining the country’s unity, stability and prosperity, arguing that such has been the driving force and inspiration of the PDP government in delivering its mandate in the last three years.
“This trinity of unity, stability and prosperity has made him the most suitable President for our great nation in these present times,” he said.
Mr. Metuh said Nigeria has never witnessed the kind of security challenges it is presently facing with insurgency in some part of the north.
“The insurgency is hitting at the heart of our national unity and cohesion. Instead of reacting in ways that could damage the trust and love of Nigerians for one another, the President has acted more on the side of caution by ensuring that actions to defeat terrorism are carefully thought-out and pursued,” Mr. Metuh said.
Mr. Metuh recalled that when President Jonathan was to declare a state of emergency in the northern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe last year, some persons were of the view that the emergency rule should be total by removing all the democratic structures.
He said the president thought differently and refused to tamper with the democratic structures in those states.
Doing so, according to Mr. Metuh, would have threatened the country’s democracy and by extension the unity of the nation.
“The president must be commended for showing leadership,” he said.
He also said Mr. Jonathan must specifically be praised for embarking on electoral reform, which has helped to strengthen the integrity of Nigeria’s elections.
He said the president intervened in the aftermath of the 2011 general elections, which witnessed political polarization along ethnic and religious lines.
“We remember that the results of the election were greeted with violent protests in some Northern States.
“Following his demonstrated commitment to credible, free and fair elections, the votes of the electorate now count as exemplified in the Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections,” he said.
He said the president has been able to stabilize the polity by his pan-Nigerian outlook and approach to governance.
The party said Mr. Jonathan has been able to give every geo- political zone a sense of belonging in terms of infrastructure development, economic and human capital empowerment.
“Besides, the visible and concrete infrastructure development in our nation, President Jonathan has been able to demonstrate a deep sense of equanimity in providing leadership, in spite of the incendiary remarks by some opposition leaders,” he said.
“Amidst the recessions and economic downturn in most nations of the world, our economy has been stabilized, our unity preserved and our democracy enhanced.
“Under President Jonathan, our nation has witnessed remarkable progress and landmark developments in all sectors of the Nigerian public life, through his Transformation Agenda.
“The administration has revived the comatose railway transportation with some of the rail lines already in operation. Lagos-Kano is already in operation with new coaches providing improved services.
“Not only have the nation’s highways improved, ongoing works can be seen in almost all parts of the country. When the Jonathan administration came on board, only 5,000 out of the 35,000 kilometers of federal roads were motorable.
Today, the Jonathan government has rehabilitated and reconstructed 20,000 additional kilometers. The remaining 10,000 kilometers will be completed in the next three years while other new road projects will be executed,” he said.
He said there have been monumental achievements in the agriculture sector, particularly in the distribution of fertilizer, development in the production of rice, cassava and other Nigerian staples.
The party said the Nigerian economy is growing at an average rate of 6.5 percent.