President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who lost at the primaries to remain in party in the interest of democracy.
Mr. Jonathan made the appeal on Saturday night while speaking at the PDP fund raising dinner held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the leadership of the party was working to resolve all outstanding issues in the congresses and primaries.
“We all appreciate that throughout the congresses where primary elections were conducted there have been some outstanding issues.
“The party is working to resolve these issues; definitely, in such situation all may not be resolved to the satisfaction of everybody,” the president said.
“But my plea to party members is to remain committed to the party; stay with the party.
“I know other parties are wooing some of you to contest elections on their platforms, but if you believe in democracy then you will contribute to strengthen it.
“The only way you can strengthen democracy is for you to stay in your party,” he added.
Some prominent leaders of the party have either left, expressed intention to leave, or expressed their dissatisfaction at the manner of conduct of primaries in their states.
In Benue, a former PDP National Chairman, Bernabas Gemade, has already joined the All Progressives Congress, APC, after expressing anger at how Governor Gabriel Suswam picked the PDP senatorial ticket of his zone to displace the former who is the incumbent. Mr. Gemade is expected to be the APC candidate in the zone.
In Oyo, former governor Alao Akala and his supporters have joined the Labour Party after expressing their dissatisfaction at the PDP governorship primaries that produced Teslim Folarin as candidate.
In Lagos, the immediate past Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has rejected the primaries that produced Jimi Agbaje as the PDP governorship candidate. A similar situation is playing out in Nasarawa where immediate past Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has rejected the PDP governorship primaries.
Mr. Jonathan, however, told the aggrieved members that if there were issues they felt were not too correct, it was better for them to stay within the party to correct them. He added that staying together to settle those issues was the only way democracy can grow.
“If out of anger or frustration, you leave the party because you didn’t get what you wanted, then you are not contributing to the growth of democracy,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan thanked members of the party, the business community and other supporters of the PDP for contributing to the growth of the party.
While recalling the “generous donation” of the business community to support victims of the 2012 flood and to the Victim Support Fund in September, he assured them that their donations would be judiciously utilised.
The president also assured the business community of more policies and programmes that would promote enterprise and industry as well as expand the economy.
Citing a beneficiary of the YouWin programme, who donated N1 million at the dinner, the president stated that the party had made some Nigerians millionaires and billionaires.
He said the PDP-led federal government was working hard to make more young millionaires through the YouWin programme and the recently launched Youth Employment through Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
He assured Nigerians that the PDP would do everything possible to keep the country united.
Earlier, the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, congratulated successful candidates of the party for the 2015 general elections and urged them not to let the party down.
He urged the candidates to carry their fellow party members along during the campaigns. He appealed to aspirants who lost at the primaries to put the past behind and join hands to take the PDP to victory.
The chairman of the fund raising committee, Jerry Gana, warned members of the party against complacency in the 2015 general elections.
Mr. Gana, a former Minister of Information and member of the PDP Board of Trustees, declared that the 2015 elections would be competitive.
He stated that though the party had done well under President Goodluck Jonathan, members must campaign and communicate his achievements to the electorate.
“The 2015 elections will be very competitive. Do not take it for granted. We must never underestimate the opponent,” Mr. Gana said.
“PDP has advantage because it has done very well in its 15 years in power at the centre.
“Besides, our presidential candidate is very good and is one of the best in the world in terms of delivery of democracy dividends.
“But doing well or having good candidates is not enough; we need to tell the electorate what we have done as a party.
“We must endeavour to effectively communicate our achievements and candidates to the people; the elections must be issue-based and the PDP is noted for that,” he added.
Mr. Gana warned the leadership of the PDP at all levels against imposition of candidates on Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that over N21.2 billion was raised at the dinner which was well attended by past and present government officials, politicians and captains of industry.
The fund, according to the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, would be used to complete the party’s new headquarters building and run its affairs.