*Says any party or APC will find it difficult to beat PDP in 2019
…As Makarfi gets 4 months tenure extension
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Special Non-Elective Convention in Abuja, said that the party was back to reclaim power in 2019 and lead Nigeria to “greatness”.
The Supreme Court had on July 12, put an end to the party’s 14-month leadership tussle between Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, granting the former legitimacy.
But the ex-president explained at the occasion that the party had internal crisis because it lost power in 2015, adding that the PDP remained the largest party in Africa.
Jonathan stated that it would be difficult for any political party including the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to beat the PDP in 2019.
He urged party members not to be intimidated or distracted by anyone, saying former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’adua and himself (Jonathan) “all performed well” despite the various challenges they had.
He said there was need for the PDP to reclaim power “because of poverty and hunger in the land” and urged party leaders, elders and stakeholders to return to their various states and mobilize the electorate at the grassroots ahead of the 2019 polls.
“As a party that heralded Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, the PDP had become so accustomed to success in its 16 years in power that the first time our fortunes changed at the polls, it was obvious that the party would suffer the aftershocks of the loss. It was in deed a most trying period for us as a political party.
“However, it is not an experience that is peculiar to us. This because all over the world, any party that loses election at the centre as we did, will first of all, struggle to hold together, before regaining its composure to effectively present the strong voice of the opposition, and resume the contestation to return to office.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that our disposition in freely handing over power to the opposition, after the 2015 polls, helped to deepen our democracy, and project our country as one of the world’s stable democracies”.
The convention extended the tenure of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee by four months.
The convention mandated the caretaker committee to organize an elective convention within the four months where new national officers of the party would be elected and its amended constitution ratified.
This is the second time the PDP is extending the tenure of the caretaker committee. The committee’s tenure was supposed to expire next Wednesday.
The convention also ratified the dissolution of the factional executives in Anambra State and ordered the setting up of a caretaker committee.
Similarly, it dissolved the party’s executives at all levels in Kebbi, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Adamawa, Kwara and Borno States, where there were issues concerning congresses.
The former President and party however did not state how Nigerians should forget the level of unprecedented corruption and impunity that characterised their last six years in government, which made even top members of the party to close eyes and voted for General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) just to put an end to the Goodluck Jonathan-led Administration.
But speaking to The DEFENDER and Vanguard in a joint interview earlier on Wednesday in his Lagos Island office, a former Senatorial Candidate of the PDP in Lagos, Mr. Tolagbe Animashaun, had blamed Jonathan for the loss that the party suffered in the 2015 presidential election but was hopeful that the PDP had a chance to return to power in APC’s repeating the same mistakes that the PDP made which made it lose power in 2015.