Rescue mission for Nigeria begins – PDP
• Aspirants Turn Convention Ground To Campaign Rally
• Party Hopeful To Reclaim Power In 2023
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, assured Nigerians that its convention that produced new national leaders effectively signaled the commencement of a rescue mission for the beleaguered nation.
Also yesterday, a trove of campaign banners and posters of northern politicians, which flooded Eagles Square, venue of the convention, lend credence to speculations that the party’s presidential candidate in 2023 might emerge from the North.
While the party condemned in strong terms, what it called the spate of hopelessness and frustration, which the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government has forced Nigerians into since 2015, the Chairman of the party’s Governors Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, expressed optimism that the party is set to reclaim its glory, and thereafter launch the country into a season of bliss.
Declaring the convention open, the Chairman of the PDP Convention Organising Committee and the Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, lamented that the APC-led government “is still hell-bent on railroading the country into multi-faceted recession on all fronts.
“From the economy to governance, national security to diplomacy, poverty to unemployment, anti-corruption to the observance of the rule of law, citizenship to national cohesion etc, the country has never had it this bad.
“That Nigeria is better by far with PDP in power is not in doubt; that the people relish on those golden moments when the PDP held sway at the center is also not in doubt; that citizens are yearning for the return of the PDP at the centre as the 2023 general election draws nearer is equally not in doubt. We therefore have a duty not to disappoint our teeming supporters.
He urged party leaders and loyalists to be ready to take back the country, as we have always done. “We have to save Nigeria. If we could force the country out of the clutches of the military, we can do this one huge task – push the people who don’t know the true definition of good governance and national coexistence out of power. This is a Nigeria rescue mission. This is the role that the PDP was invented to play,” Fintiri stressed.
According to him, “The 2021 national convention presents a starting point for the Nigeria’s rescue mission.”
He recalled that before the PDP took over power in 1999, “Nigeria was passing through a gloomy phase. The state of the nation could best be described as near comatose. The nation’s human rights record then was appalling. The economy was on a steady slide to a disastrous perdition. There was near hopelessness and uncertainty. In the political terrain, the nation was served with strange concoctions that would have ultimately led to a national suicide. “
In the international arena, Fintiri noted that Nigeria, which once stood tall as the giant of Africa was reduced to an inconsequential midget with the suffocating tag of a pariah nation tightened round her neck.
“In the midst of all these confusion, a group of political leaders (18 of them, in the first instance, and later 34) took the courage to challenge the junta so that the country could be freed and restored onto the path of democracy, and ultimately brought back into the committee of nations. This group known as the G-34 later formed the nucleus and rallying point of associations that formed what is today the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party was crafted to ensure a speedy restoration of democracy, through the advancement of national reconciliation, economic and social reconstruction, and respect for human rights and the rule of law,”
The acting national chairman of the party, Yemi Akinwonmi, urged members to bury the hatchet, come together, do away with all personal differences and put the PDP and the interests of Nigeria above other interests.
Also yesterday, speculations that the PDP presidential candidate in 2023 election might emerge from the North echoed loudly.
Eagles Square, the convention’s venue was emblazoned with posters and banners of all prominent northern leaders of the party, who have presidential ambition in 2023. The aspirants also took over the convention venue literally turning it into a campaign rally.
Supporters of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, that of the former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and those of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, were around in their numbers and waltzed across the convention ground endlessly.
The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, was not left out as his supporters decorated the convention venue with flags, umbrellas and banners bearing his campaign messages.
The atmosphere became more charged when supporters of Kwankwaso took the stage. Speakers at the podium paused for a moment to allow sanity to be restored after the atmosphere got really charged.
While delivering his goodwill message, Atiku drew attention to the deplorable state of affairs in the country particularly in the area of economy and insecurity.
He expressed the belief that the PDP would restore unity and peace to the country if it gets re-elected at the centre, stressing that the party has the chance to set the ship aright.
At exactly 4.35pm, and following a motion sponsored by Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and seconded by House of Representatives Minority Whip, Gideon Gwani, it was resolved that all speeches should give way to election of the new National Working Committee members.
Tambuwal, the PDP Governors’ Forum chief in his remarks expressed optimism that the party was set to reclaim its glory.
According to him, despite the antics of detractors, whom he said were bent on rolling back the 16 years impressive credentials of the party, the party still remains a darling to Nigerians.
He said: “Analysts and observers have agreed that there are attempts to scuttle our unity as a party, and as a people. There are people working to present us as weak and in disarray. But I am happy to report that contrary to the naysayers, the PDP is today the strongest and most cohesive party in Nigeria.
“I am happy to report that those who want to divide and weaken us are the ones failing and we are winning,” the governor told a joyous and tumultuous crowd.
Enumerating the country’s and continent’s problems to include challenges of insecurity, unemployment, rising cost of energy, food and other essential items for living decent lives, he described the PDP as “the best platform to move the country forward. The party is poised to embark on an intensive membership drive that will soon “welcome new members… (and) other patriots and concerned Nigerians to join us… to move Nigeria forward.”
Emphasising the need to harness the potential of young people and the provision of succor to old people, he noted that “the current state of the nation is a far cry from the needs of our people across the country.”
Tambuwal said the PDP is undaunted by the myriad of challenges “made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected other issues across the world.”
He advocated that the PDP should remain “united, disciplined and focused on finding ways to bring out the best of our people and building systems and institutions that aid, and not destroy.”
Tambuwal listed achievements of the PDP over the 16 years that it was in power to include the liberalisation of telecommunications; diffusion of GSM; establishment of NAFDAC, EFCC, ICPC; introduction of health insurance scheme, and the creation of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Other achievements he listed were the introduction of card readers, conception of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bank Verification Number (BVN), new pension scheme, modern drivers license, restoration of the Abuja-Kaduna railway, and improvement of airports across the country.
He added that the PDP “negotiated and settled foreign debts, fast-paced the country’s economy, implemented bank reforms and stabilised the naira.
Acknowledging that, “governing Nigeria is not an easy task,” Tambuwal chastised the ruling APC-led government that is “carrying a burden that is making it wobble. It is time to relieve them of that burden,” he stated.