President Goodluck Jonathan has assured members of the Peoples Democratic Party that no gang-up among the other political parties was capable of removing the party from power.
Mr. Jonathan said he liked the way opposition political parties were attempting to merge in order to confront the PDP, but added that the merger of opposition parties was not a threat to the PDP.
The president made the remarks today at the National Executive Committee meeting of the ruling party, which was held in Abuja.
President Jonathan’s full speech:
I wouldn't say much but when we come for NEC, they will expect the President to make [a] brief remark about topical issues.
Presently, you know there are political issues on ground, there are security issues and, of course, economic issues. I wouldn't want to go into details.
Political issues, we also listen to INEC, they have warned us not to go too far because they are yet to open their doors for politicking. But one thing I have to appreciate the party and especially the PDP governors is the formation of the PDP Governors Forum. It has really helped to stabilize the polity.
Governor Akpabio said it all that at the beginning, there was no need for PDP Governors Forum but now that we have reduced in number to 23, definitely, this should be the least. We cannot shrink below this level. We must build up.
As the time of formation of the Nigerian Governors Forum, focus was slightly different. In every organization, over the year, there must be some change direction and so and so forth.
So, looking at the number of PDP governors vis-à-vis the total number of governors, it becomes very clear that the PDP needs to have their own thing because we have realized that some of the other political parties, the governors used to meet before coming for general meetings. But PDP being the elephant among did not really bother much. But over the period, we have realized that there is the need for them to also meet because politics is politics. Politics is a game of interest. I remember the first time I read Obasanjo's book, that was 1981, My Command, and he said something in one of the place there that in politics, there is nothing like permanent friends or permanent enemies but permanent interests.
I believe in even in local politics, the interest matters so much. There is no permanent friend, no permanent enemy but permanent interest and as long as people have different interest, there must be disagreement. But as a member of political party, we must know that no matter what, the party's interest must supersede any other interest. At the end of the day, all our interests will converge to one interest, that is the interest of PDP.
One good thing that Nigerians should commend PDP now is that if you look at the evolution of political parties, it is now stable. Before when elections are coming, by now you will be hearing about new parties being formed and at a time, the ballot paper was becoming too long, INEC was finding a way of deregistering parties.
Because PDP has come on very strong, no matter the criticism they are criticizing us, they know that we are very strong and they realize that what they need to do is not forming new parties but parties coming together. So, we are helping to stabilize the polity. We will encourage them to come together more. We want a situation where it is PDP versus one. In that case, the polity will be more stable. Even our members will be more loyal to the party because you will have nowhere to go.
All this time, immediately we disagree in PDP, somebody is picking form in one PPP, DDD party and contesting House of Assembly or House of Reps or Senate. When we have only two, before you get there, they have already occupied that place. So, even if we disagree, we will agree at the end of the day and it will even help to build a stronger party.
So, Nigerians should commend PDP. If PDP were weak, people wouldn't have gathered together. There wouldn't have been any reason for parties to come together to fight PDP. But when you have so many parties on their own they know they cannot face us until they come together then you know that we are formidable.
And PDP will become stronger and no matter the gang up, I don't see how they can uproot the PDP. The other one is the issue of security which I wouldn't want to dwell on. We are all aware of the issues of kidnapping in southern part of the country, the excesses of terrorist groups in some parts of the north and the steps taken by government are known to all of us.
But one key thing sometimes that get people confused about Boko Haram is this communal conflicts, ethnic cleansing. It was not so prominent before. Animosity between tribes and society has been a part of human society; it has been a part of the history of the human race. People living together must have disagreement. But this idea of minor provocation, youth will carry weapons to attack and kill massively like what happened in Zamfara State recently, it has nothing to do with Boko Haram.
But because Boko Haram is an issue, whenever somebody is killed, everybody says it is Boko Haram. What happened in Zamfara state had nothing to do with Boko Haram.
It is one area the governors will also be discussing in their meetings. This ethnic rivalry is becoming embarrassing. Government cannot continue to sit down and allow ethnic rivalry between communities, between different ethnic groups leading to deaths.
Definitely, if we send soldiers to such places, soldiers carry guns, they don't carry canes, the result may not be too palatable. So on our own, the leaders of this country, governors and all of us, we should try and continue to talk to our brothers and sisters that killing is not the best way to resolve conflicts.
As long as we liver, there must be conflicts but we should use dialogue to resolve our conflicts. The other area I may touch briefly is economic issues. Of course, if you ask a president or somebody who wants to contest election or the president of any country and you ask what will be your area of interest, he will tell you the economy of the country. If you ask again what will be your second area, he will tell you the economy of the country. If you tell him, what is the third interest, he will tell you the economy of the country. Of course, you talk about education, about roads, about power and so on, but you cannot do any of these without a robust economy. So that is the core.
The key areas they will raise is insecurity and corruption. As long as we can handle these two, there is no reason the economy of Nigeria will not be the biggest in very few years. In terms of economic focus, it is quite bright. All what we need as a nation is for us to believe in Nigeria and no matter the interest we have, not to compromise the interest of the state.
Somebody may want to hold office including that of the president or a councilor, the country must be there for you to hold that office and as long as you don't compromise the interest of the state in our political struggle in Nigeria's interest, it will not take us more that five years for this country to get to the point where the issues of unemployment and job creation will no longer be a big thing.
For us, myself and the Vice President and members of our team, I promise the party that we will not disappoint. We must make sure that anytime PDP has any reason to campaign, we must have reference point, we have solid material to show. We have not reached where we want to go, no doubt about that.
We are totally committed that we must move this country to where we want our children to be but we need the maximum cooperation of ever member of our party.
We promise our party that in spite of the noise people are making, political environment, there is so much noise, they are just noise. We will continue to move forward in PDP.