Again, President Goodluck Jonathan has pleaded with aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who lost out during the party’s primaries not to defect to other parties.
Addressing PDP supporters in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, the president said those aggrieved now might have the opportunity to be elected after the tenure of the winners.
Mr. Jonathan had made a similar plea last month following threats by some members who lost in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly primaries, to quit the party.
However, prominent members of the party, including a former National Chairman of the PDP, Barnabas Gemade, a former National Auditor, Samuel Ortom, and a former Information Minister, Labaran Maku, dumped the party.
There were also reports that the Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi, some of his government’s officials and 22 governorship aspirants on the PDP platform in Akwa Ibom State, were also planning to leave the party.
Mr. Jonathan asked the aggrieved aspirants to stay in the party members and work with those who won.
“At the end of our primaries, there were grievances all over the country, not only the PDP, all parties. There is no party that will do primaries that there will be no issues, but we plead that we should stay, work together in the party,” the president.
“Don’t leave the party because you are aggrieved, No. we have to stay together. The tenure of any office – whether it is the state assembly, Senator, House of Representatives member lasts four years. After that four years if you feel your were not treated well, it may be you turn. Probably, we didn’t give you higher office to run, stay we can carry ourselves together.”
The president said the PDP’s campaign was essentially for the young people and women. He said Nigeria’s future belongs to the young people who must be developed to achieve their potentials.
He added, “If I should tell Nigerians that myself and my age mates are the ones to take Nigeria to the moon then I am lying. We are almost gone. So we have to create the environment for the young people.
“Every year we take young people to the best universities in the world. If we want to buy weapons we have to go to the left, go to the right to beg to buy. Those who manufacture these things are not angels they human beings like us. Our own case, probably we don’t have that kind of education that will make our people to come to revolutionise the industries. This is one of the reasons we are sending these people so that in the future they will be able to produce our needs.
“This government is focused; we know where we are going. We know where we are taking this country to. We only say the young people should join us. Nobody should deceive you, nobody should buy your votes because since 1960 when we gained independence people have been buying your vote.”
He said unlike the All Progressives Congress, APC, his administration would not build prisons. He however said if elected he would continue to build schools to grow the young ones.
“It may be a day dream, but I am also dreaming that one day we will not have prisons in this country. One day we will be able to create enough opportunities for all Nigerians and Nigerians will not be thinking about prison,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan also said he looked forward to the day a woman would become the president of Nigeria.
Stating that the votes of the women were very important, the president said since 1960, Nigerian politicians had been playing politics, forming governments and constituting cabinets, but his administration was the first to give identity to the Nigerian women.
“That is not where the PDP government wants to end. I have said that we want a situation where international magazine will talk about women in governance and any other thing. And for you to do that you must start at home. So also our women we must expose them.
“Whatever they ask us what example can you give us so that we can be convinced? We are putting the women; even in ECOWAS, the person representing Nigeria is a woman, in OAU, the woman there, in the UN, a woman, Joy Ogwu is there. We are pushing more women to global level,” the president said.
“This is the only administration that is ready to give, including the one I am asking for, to women. I would have loved to see a female president before I die. That is my aspiration. My aspiration is that I should see a female president before I die. I should see a female governor, deputy governors though we have some deputy governors already. We want to see women go further and further. At the national level we are pushing for more women to go to the parliament.”
Mr. Jonathan said he always felt at home whenever he was in Ebonyi State, describing it as “a peaceful state”. He said the state and his home state, Bayelsa, were had a lot of things in common.
He stated further, “Those problems we have in Bayelsa State are the problems we have here. That is why you don’t need to come to me to request for change. I have an idea. I may not know all.
“Let me assure you that whatever you want we will do. The key things due to the ‘salt of the nation’ it will surely get.”
The president also said his administration had a plan to stop importing rice in the next four years and that Ebonyi State was one of the states it was relying on to achieve what he described as “rice revolution.”
Stating that the Abaliki rice was already popular, the president said “What we want to do is to improve on our farming, the quality of our produce, cassava and so on. It will surely key into our rice revolution.
“We will develop young men and women that will go into commercial agriculture. We must work with people in Ebonyi State to encourage small and medium scale industries. That is the only thing we will do to create to job. Ebonyi State luckily has a lot of minerals. With the drop in the oil price, government will surely diversify the economy. Solid minerals and agriculture are some of these areas that we will go in.”