President Goodluck Jonathan has said that members of the All Progressives Congress and other opposition parties will be “more confused” in 2015 as they prepare to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party.
Jonathan, at the 62nd National Executive Committee meeting of the PDP in Abuja on Thursday, said any party or group that believed that the PDP would be rocked by crises during the 2015 elections would be “terribly disappointed.”
But the APC, through its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the President would wake up one day and realise that in politics, “there is a limit to good luck. “
Jonathan had told the NEC members, who resolved to shelve Saturday’s South-West congress of the party that the early commencement of political activities was not unconnected with opposition’s worry over the “intimidating credentials” of the PDP.
The President also attributed the formation of new political parties to the quest by some desperate politicians to defeat the PDP in 2015. According to him, those behind the new parties are “confused and would continue to be confused.”
He said that the turnout at the NEC meeting was a clear reflection of the fact that the PDP was intact.
Jonathan said, “I was not expecting to see so many people especially our senior party members but when I came in and saw their faces, I thanked God because those who believe that the PDP is divided, will all be disappointed.
“The chairman said it all; we thought that political activities will not start so early in the country, but because of the intimidating credentials of the PDP, people have started meeting.
“Parties have started coming together, and new ones are being formed. These are blessings to all of us because those people behind them are confused about how they will manage the PDP. They will continue to be confused especially in 2015.
“And those who continue to think that the PDP cannot come together; that the PDP cannot manage success will be terribly disappointed.
“We will go to the Eagle Square (in Abuja) and take the right decision for our party.”
He said that his administration would continue to pursue its developmental agenda in line with the PDP manifesto in such a way that by early next year, even those in doubt would have nothing to say.
The President said his government would be able to achieve the feat with the expected cooperation of the PDP.
“A number of things that Nigeria almost forgot like railways are being brought back. And I believe that by the time we move into (early) next year, things will become very obvious so that those who doubt us will not have anything to say. We promise that we are going to do that with the assistance of the party,” Jonathan added.
He admitted that while it was natural to have disagreement in a political party, the important thing was the ability of those involved to resolve their differences and then forge ahead.
After the meeting, the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Tony Okeke, read a communiqué in which he announced the suspension of the South-West congress of the party.
He cited a court order as the reason for the decision by the NEC. Okeke said that PDP was committed to the rule of law and upholding the sanctity of the courts.
“INEC unanimously approved and ratified 31 August 2013 as the date for the Special National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). NEC commended the Special Congresses and Convention Planning Committee for the efforts so far put in place in the preparation for the Convention.
“NEC acknowledged the service of a court order restraining the conduct of the South- West Zonal Congress earlier scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2013. In line with our avowed disposition to upholding the rule of Law and in deference to the court’s ruling, NEC unanimously approved the postponement of the South-West congress.
“Consequently, NEC directed the National Working Committee to follow through the court process and when concluded, set a new date for the congress.”
The meeting had Vice- President Namadi Sambo; the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; 18 state governors, past chairmen, national secretaries and other party leaders in attendance.
Earlier, the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, had dismissed rumours of his imminent removal as a creation of the media .
Tukur commended the National Reconciliation Committee of the PDP for the job it had so far done and appealed to all aggrieved members to “sheathe their swords and enthrone enduring peace” in the party.
Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State told State House correspondents that the cordial atmosphere in which the meeting was conducted was a sign that members were now happy with one another.
He spoke after he and his Gombe State counterpart, Ibrahim Dankwambo, met behind closed-doors with Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“The PDP NEC meeting shows that the family is together and that everybody is working together. It is a sign of good things to come. We are now happy with one another. The family is together and if there was a problem, we would have stayed longer to solve it,’’ Yuguda added.
Our correspondents learnt that the NEC did not discuss the issue of automatic tickets for Jonathan and first term governors in order not to create further crisis in the party.
A member of the party’s NEC confided in our correspondent that the PDP leadership believed that discussing the issue would deepen the crisis rocking the party.
Our source said a majority of the NEC members felt that it was unwise to throw such a matter in the open on a day several of the governors who had been refusing to attend the party’s meetings were back in its fold.
According to him, it is the general belief in the PDP that there was enough time to handle the issue of automatic tickets.
He said, “Sincerely, I can tell you that this issue of automatic tickets was not mentioned at the meeting; the two issues were the ratification of the August 31 date for the special national convention, and the suspension of the zonal ongress for the South-West.
“You know that an issue as sensitive as automatic ticket can not be discussed in that open place; it will deepen the crisis in the party. How can you be reconciling and be putting that on your agenda?
“The party believes that there is time; such thing is better handled in a strategic way.”
Reacting to the President on what awaited the opposition, the APC Interim spokesperson advised him to devote his energies to resolving the crisis in the PDP instead of wishing other political parties ill-luck.
“Clearly, President Jonathan is still relying on luck to defeat the opposition APC in 2015 and that is why he says we will be confused and disappointed. On the contrary, the President will wake up one day to realise that in this business, there is a limit to good luck. Not only has his luck run out on President Goodluck Jonathan, he has exhausted his good will with Nigerians,” Mohammed said in an SMS to one of our correspondents.
According to him, the APC would rather engage the President in meaningful issues of national development. He added that the opposition party would continue to strategise on how to get Jonathan out of power in 2015.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. The President should focus his energies to the crisis in his party instead of wishing opposition parties ill-luck. We are strategising to ensure that Nigerians vote for us in 2015; so we prefer to engage him on meaningful issues.”