The outgone National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, has advised members of his party to imbibe the mission and vision of the founding fathers of the party. He said this is necessary to regain the party’s fading glory.
Mr. Tukur, who spoke when he chaired the 63rd National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party which was also his last official engagement as National Chairman, said the public faces of the PDP comprising its elected party and government officials must be people of integrity and character, with proven track record and capability.
He said they should also be people who are committed and focused at all times to improving the livelihood of Nigerians.
“Only by so doing can the people of Nigeria continue to invest in us or any other political platform with the confidence, trust and mandate to administer and manage their public affairs,” he said.
Mr. Tukur said the PDP as a ruling party must take its leading position seriously, and should consistently pursue good governance.
The outgone chairman said the decline in nationwide support of the PDP is to be expected. He advised members of the party to prepare to and make the necessary sacrifice required to grow the party. He said the performance of PDP elected officials should be used as a basis for retaining the peoples trust and confidence.
“PDP has performed and the prospect for the party remains good, while current challenges are surmountable. We must constantly strive to fulfill our manifesto on the basis to which our mandate to govern derives, and on that we shall be judged,” he said.
Mr. Tukur said it is only by upholding internal democracy, transparency , fairness, and probity in all its dealings; as well as delivering good governance and service that impacts positively on the life of the people that the ruling party can reinvent itself.
He advised members of the party to avoid unnecessary disagreements and conflicts which will eventually affect the party.
“ Gloating over being in power, and remaining in power no matter what is, dangerous, destructive and anti-democratic,” he said. He added that pre-occupation with power tussles and undue confrontation has strangulating effect on any political party, and PDP cannot be different.
“Our excessive pre-occupation with the pursuit of power, self-aggrandizement and materialism has been destructive and hurting. It slows down our match towards achieving our national goals, of development,” Mr. Tukur said.
The former chairman also took a parting shot at the legislature warning that the seats being occupied by lawmakers” belong to political parties, not the individuals occupying them”.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, was selected by his colleagues against the wishes of the party, and recently about 37 members of the House of Reps elected under the platform of the PDP, defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
The defection of the lawmakers transformed the status of the PDP from majority to minority in the House.
“The party must take discipline seriously. Discipline in the party is a necessary ingredient for success,” Mr. Tukur said.
Mr. Tukur informed the members of NEC that he was privileged to have served as the chairman of the party.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to deliver an idea, which is the need for a party with discipline and internal democratic practices. I charge you to install new national values that are driven less by personal greed, and more by national interest in order to serve and face the challenges facing our country,” he said.
We have delivered
Also speaking, President Goodluck Jonathan said the PDP has delivered on its mandate and challenged Nigerians to take a critical look at what has been achieved and the number of days he had been in power.
The president cited the example of the GSM service which he said was brought by a PDP government and has made it possible for the ordinary person to have a telephone which used to be a privilege for a few rich and influential Nigerians.
The president also said the recent decision to privatise the power generation and distribution sector is a revolution whose impact Nigerians would begin to feel in six months’ time.
Season of meetings
Mr. Jonathan also informed the NEC that activities to return the party to its pre-eminent position is in full gear.
He urged party members to be steadfast and committed to its activities.
He said despite the defections it has suffered, the PDP would continue to be the number one party in Nigeria, adding that based on discussions held recently, “some of the members who left would come back to the party.”
“What needs to be done is to ensure that the party remains more united. And from this January, frequent meetings will take place,” he said.
According to Mr. Jonathan, the meeting of the party’s Caucus and its Board of Trustees, BoT would be held every quarter. He also said he would liaise with the NWC to make sure that NEC meetings are held every other month.
“That would give those at the centre the opportunity to interact more with state party chairmen and governors,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan also announced that he held a meeting with PDP governors Wednesday night and they agreed to be meeting monthly to strategise on how to improve the fortunes of the party, and how to also assist party faithful in states not governed by the PDP.
Resignation of Tukur
Mr. Jonathan said he knew “a lot of issues have been agitating the mind of our party faithful and we need to address them.” He said this while referring to the confusion over the resignation or otherwise of Mr. Tukur as the national chairman of the party.
The president said “the NWC under Bamanga Tukur has done very well. The Chairman of our party did not just wake up to be the chairman, he has paid his dues, and he has held several offices and has worked for this country. For us to make sure that we rest these issues, the party chairman agreed to step aside
“He is not guilty in any way; in fact, I have to give him an assignment that is tougher than handling PDP, because we need people like Bamanga Tukur to market this country, and to market the PDP. He has been doing that under the platform of the African Business Roundtable, but we need a tougher job than the African Business roundtable,” the president said.
Mr. Jonathan, thereafter, handed over the resignation letter of Mr. Tukur to the National Secretary of the party, Adewale Oladipo. He also announced that another NEC meeting would be held on Monday next week to select a new Interim Chairman for the party.
The Governor of Cross Rivers State, Liyel Imoke, moved the motion for the NEC to approve the resignation of Mr. Tukur. The deputy Senate leader, Abdul Ningi, seconded the motion; passed by the NEC.