PDP defectors will return on empty stomachs, says Jonathan
IN response to the defection of some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, predicted that those who left in search of greener pastures will return on empty stomachs.
Speaking during the presentation of the report of the 2015 general elections by the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) at the new banquet hall, Aso Rock, Abuja, the President stressed the need for members of the party to re-dedicate themselves to rebuilding the party ahead of 2019 and other elections.
The President spoke amid encomiums from stakeholders of the party on his decision to concede defeat to his main challenger, and Presidential candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, even before the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of the latter as winner on March 31.
The President reiterated his reasons calling Gen. Buhari on telephone to congratulate him. He noted that he took the action to save the country from the impending doom.
He also admitted that he did not consult anybody before he took the action, but said “I took that action on your behalf and for our party.” The president confirmed that some countries had brought ships around some neighboring countries to Nigeria waiting to evacuate their citizens, saying that he believed those countries were happy because “there was nobody to evacuate.
The country was so tensed but everything has gone down, and I think that is the most important thing because the conviction is that you must have a country before you can run for an office.
Nigeria is a very complex country and you must manage it with caution. But key members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and Senate President, David Mark were conspicuously absent at the report presentation, a development that prompted the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, Chief Tony Anenih to advocate a total and complete re-organisation of the party to make the desired impact in the 2019 polls and also to play the role of a vibrant opposition party.
For Jonathan, the loss suffered by the party at the election should not be a major issue; its leaders should, instead, make the party strong and competitive for future elections.
He said: “For those running away and those already cross-carpeting, they will come back on an empty stomach because their new party will have to touch the primary members of their party, before they get to you; they know you are coming because you are hungry, before it will get to you, the food will be gone. So let us be committed to the party.
Yes, we will have challenges at the beginning, but surely we will get to where we want to be.” Jonathan likened the 2015 elections to the Nigerian civil war, when different people gave different account of the civil war.
The first book on civil war that I read was “My Command,” by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, which, he offered his perspectives on what he saw and observed. I also recall Ojukwu’s own was “Because I’m Involved”, noting, “if you read it the dimensions are some time tangential to the first.
So, I know that the issues of the 2015 general elections maybe after few years when Political Scientists will write, we will get different perspectives. If you ask the various observer groups, each will give you a different perspective of what happened.
Despite the loss, Jonathan observed that PDP was still the dominant party, saying, “If you look at the results, the difference is just 2.5 million votes, and if you look at the areas where it is perceived that PDP scored so low, the party couldn’t have gotten those kind of scores, but the elections are over; it is the country first.
Both Anenih and the Director-General of the PDPCO and former Chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Adah Ali, in their interventions, hailed the action of Jonathan, which they said saved the nation from the war that loomed.