Those defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress due to PDP’s loss at the presidential election, will return with “empty stomachs”, President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday.
The president said the PDP was still the dominant party and it was only a matter of time before it bounced back. He said the APC will first satisfy the hunger of its own members who worked during the elections before attending to defectors.
Mr. Jonathan made the remarks while receiving the PDP campaign report from the Presidential Campaign Organisation (PCO) at the presidential villa. He urged the party and its members to sit tight and put its failures behind and help the party move forward.
“So I encourage members of our party to remain loyal to the party, not to be so disillusioned because we lost presidential election and decide to go where they think they will fill their stomachs or something. It’s not easy. I have been here for five years plus, you hardly satisfy even 15 percent of those who work for you.
“So those people running and those already cross-carpeting, they will come back on an empty stomach because they will touch the primary members of their party, before they get to you. They know you are coming because you are hungry, before it will get to you the food will be gone.
“So let us be committed to the party, yes we will have challenges at the beginning but surely we will get to where we want to be,” he said.
The president urged PDP members not to judge the party by the result of the presidential elections, saying it was time to go back to the drawing board and identify areas of challenges so that the party will become stronger.
“PDP is still the most organized party, it is still the party that is not owned by anybody, it’s still the party that whatever you are you can get to any level with your competences and so on,” he said.
On his decision to concede defeat the President said he did not consult anyone before making the phone call to the winner in the race, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.
“Yes I did not consult anybody before I made that phone call but I made that phone call on behalf of all you and on behalf of the PDP.
“I made the pronouncement but some of us are paying the price. Some people pay more price than I do, I know how some of you are already being persecuted and the kind of situation facing you.
“The key thing is that we must continue to unite, as a party we must continue to work hard so that as we go into subsequent elections 2019, 2023 and so on and so forth, PDP will continue to come up strong. Even in the interest of the nation, we need PDP.
“I still believe though we have lost presidential elections, some national assembly elections, governorship elections especially in the north, PDP is still the dominant party. Let us not judge PDP by the result of the elections for the presidential elections”.
He likened the 2015 elections to the civil war which had different accounts written by different people.
“Of course the issues of this 2015 elections will be similar to the civil war because different people gave different account of the civil war. The first book on civil war that I read was “My Command” by Olusegun Obasanjo, which is his perspectives on what he saw and observed. I recall Ojukwu’s own was “Because I’m Involved”, if you read it the dimensions are sometimes tangential to the first.
“If you ask the various observer groups, each will give you a different perspective. Even among ourselves whenever we talk sometimes I laugh when people draw some of their analysis but by my privileged position I knew a little more about elections than others,” he said.
The President noted that the key thing isn’t whether the elections were lost or won but that Nigeria as a nation must move forward. “Political parties can only thrive when there is peace and stability in the country. If there is military intervention all the parties will disappear,” he said.
He thanked all who worked for the elections.
Mr. Jonathan said countries that sent vessels in case of an urgent need to evacuate their nationals from Nigeria, were disappointed because there was nobody to evacuate.
“The country was so tense but everything has gone down and I think that is the most important thing because the conviction is that you must have a country before you can run for an office. Nigeria is a very complex country and you must manage with care.
“So let me thank you all for joining us to carry the cross, thank you for the various roles you played and I charge you to be even more committed to the development of the party. Definitely PDP will become stronger and united,” he added.
The Director-General of the PCO, Ahmadu Ali, commended the President for showing great, exemplary leadership and making the PDP proud despite losing to the rival All Progressives Congress (APC).
“You made the world proud by conceding defeat even when you had several options. You proved to the world that you are committed to your credo that no one’s blood is worth your political ambition.
“By that singular act, you pulled Nigeria back from a seeming pre-determined precipice and you made us proud. While you assuredly lost in the ballots, you won the biggest victory in defeat by that historic phone call.
Mr. Ali said lessons learnt from the elections will be used to wrest power from the current winners in future.
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