President Goodluck Jonathan has, for the first time, questioned the results of the March 28 presidential election, maintaining that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still the dominant party in Nigeria. Jonathan had congratulated Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), before the final result was announced but has now said he only did it for the unity of Nigeria. He said the PDP could not have recorded the low scores recorded for him in some areas, and attributed the loss in Benue and Kogi to infighting.
The president was speaking on Thursday at the submission of the report of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) at the new banquet hall of the presidential villa. Jonathan said: “PDP is still the dominant party. If you look at the result, the difference is just over two million votes. And if you look at the areas where it is perceived that PDP scored so low, PDP couldn’t have gotten those kinds of scores.” He said now that the elections are over, “I put the country first”. That Nigeria is at peace is worth celebrating, Jonathan said, appearing to confirm reports that some western countries had put ships on standby to evacuate their citizens in preparation for a post-election crisis in Nigeria. He said: “The countries that brought ships, everything around us, waiting to evacuate their citizens are happy because there was nobody to evacuate. The country was so tensed but everything has gone down now 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 care.
Yes, I did not consult anybody before I made that phone call but I made that phone call on behalf of all you and on behalf of the PDP.” Jonathan said the PDP remains “the most organized party” and one that is not owned by “anybody”, urging them to put the loss in the 2015 elections behind and bounce back in 2019. “The key thing isn’t whether we lost or won but that Nigeria as a nation must move forward.
Political parties can only thrive when there is peace and stability in the country. If there is military intervention, all the parties will disappear,” he said. ”And for PDP whatever happened now is like a slip, you don’t need to go to America to know how power goes from the Democrats to the Republicans… it has almost stabilised. It is like once you serve eight years you are ready to hand over to either the Republicans or the Democrats. So theirs is almost an established setting.
But our neighbour Ghana, the present ruling party lost some eight years back and, of course, they came back and won the elections. “So the problem is not whether we lost the elections. That is history now but how do we consolidate our party and move forward? If we are committed and if we work very hard, definitely PDP will bounce back. “PDP is still the dominant party. If you look at the result, the difference is just over two million votes and if you look at the areas where it is perceived that PDP scored so low, PDP couldn’t have gotten those kinds of scores but the elections are over, we put the country first. ”It is not as if Jonathan alone made the sacrifice.
It’s all of us. I made the pronouncement but some of us are paying the price. Some people pay more price than I do. I know how some of you are already being persecuted and the kind of situation facing you. The key thing is that we must continue to unite. As a party, we must continue to work hard so that as we go into subsequent elections in 2019, 2023 and so on and so forth, PDP will continue to come up strong. “Even in the interest of the nation, we need PDP.
I still believe though we have lost presidential election, some national assembly elections, governorship elections especially in the north, PDP is still the dominant party. Let us not judge PDP by the results of the presidential election.
“Our duty is to go back and identify areas of challenges so that the party will come up strong and play the role as a very strong party. PDP is still the most organised party, it is still the party that is not owned by anybody, it is still the party that whatever you are you can get to any level with your competences and so on. “I encourage members of our party to remain loyal to the party, not to be so disillusioned because we lost presidential election and decide to go where they think they will fill their stomachs or something. It is not easy. I have been here for five years plus, you hardly satisfy even 50 per cent of those who work for you.
“So those people running and those already cross-carpeting, they will come back on an empty stomach because they (APC) will first 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.” Ahmadu Ali, former PDP chairman and director-general of the PCO, commended Jonathan for showing “exemplary leadership” and making the PDP proud despite losing. Tony Anenih, chairman of PDP’s board of trustees, said the party that will prepare for the 2019 must be formed now. He said: “We experienced betrayals and conspiracy but let us put all that behind us and work hard to remain a strong and formidable party.” @thecableng