By Henry Umoru
ABUJAâ€”VICE-President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that he was not worried by the political logjam in Anambra State, stressing that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot stop the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party, (PDP, from contesting the next February 6, governorship election.
At the 49th National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party, yesterday, the Vice-President said even if angels were called to conduct elections in the country, PDP will continue to win, just as he urged party members not to be intimidated by what they read on the pages of newspapers.
Apparently referring to Chief Andy Uba, who recently dumped the party for the Labour Party and Nicholas Ukachukwu who joined the Hope Party to actualise their dreams of ruling Anambra State, the partyâ€™s National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, warned them to have a re-think and return to the party, adding that they would be subjected to thorough screening and investigations on their return.
PDP asks Uba, Ukachukwu to return
According to him, â€œThose who defected to other parties are warned to have a re-think; as they will be subjected to thorough screening and investigations on their return.
â€œLet me also state categorically that any member of our party that supports or sponsors a candidate from another political party is guilty of anti-party activity. Our newly-reformed PDP will no longer tolerate such acts of indiscipline or reward acts of disloyalty.â€
According to Jonathan: â€œWe have a challenge now in terms of Anambra election and as 2011 is moving nearer, the challenges will be more because we are approaching our election. And, I believe the Anambra election is another test case.To me, I am not really worried about the Anambra election because if you look at the INEC position, PDP is contesting the election.
â€œThey are not saying PDP will not contest the election, the issue is that we are yet to sort out our candidate and I believe it is a classical case and all Nigerians will be watching how these things will progress.
My conviction is that PDP will contest Anambra election.Â My conviction is that, of course, INEC cannot stop PDP from contesting the election.
â€œPDPâ€™s name is there and we have to contest that election. So nobody should be worried, nobody should be discouraged because of whatever is happening, because if you look at some of the judgments that have been given by the Supreme Court over the period, you will know that the party is supreme and the position belongs to the party and I believe that there is no way PDP will not contest the electionâ€.
Jonathan, who reiterated the need for Nigerians to continue to pray for President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™ speedy recovery, said, â€œFirst, let me send my greetings to the leadership of the party and those of us who are members of the NEC. I want to extend Mr Presidentâ€™s greetings to all of us because we are all aware that he is out of the country on medical treatment.
â€œI appreciate the unity in the party even though we have our challenges at some levels in some states, but, on the whole, whenever I am driving down here to attend the PDP NEC meeting, I appreciate the unity and commitment members of the party have. I am sure that with this spirit, there is no way we will not continue to handle the realms of government.
â€œLet me also appreciate the concern of all PDP members for the health of Mr. President and, especially the leadership of the party for organising special prayers for the quick recovery of the President. I am sure and very hopeful that with the prayers all of us have been offering for Mr. President and for the treatment he is receivingÂ there, he will recover very fast and join us.
Jonathan hails NASS on budget
â€œThe issue that one would have loved to talk about but probably not today is about the development in the country. But the chairman of the party has already highlighted some issues. I can only assure this body that the administration is committed and we are quite focused and most of our infrastructural projects will go on and let me use this opportunity to thank the National Assembly.
I must ask the party to thank them because we always have this problem of implementation of capital budget and this year they are considering extending the period of implementing capital budget up to March.
â€œWith that, the Executive will be able to implement it, though it might be difficult to implement 100 per cent of the capital budget because of certain challenges, but, at least, we should be able to implement the budget to a level that all Nigerians will be happy.
So we are grateful to the leadership of the National Assembly for that achievement.
â€œI always tell people that even if you conduct presidential election 100 times and bring angels from the moon to conduct the election, PDP will still win.
Because as a human system, there may be some errors or flaws or perceived discrepancies in terms of the management of elections but there is no other party today that I can say has a bigger followership than the PDP. If politics is a factor of the people, if the number matters there is no reason any party will say we are supposed to win.
â€œIn fact, immediately after the elections and whenever people come up with the feelings that PDP rigged elections, I used to say, â€˜look, I was the governor of Bayelsa State when we contested this presidential elections, and, in my state, though the population of Bayelsa State is low but because it is a strategic state because of the oil industry and the factors in the Niger Delta, any party that is worth winning elections is supposed to go there and campaign.
â€˜â€™And, not many parties campaigned there and the experience is quite like that in a number of statesÂ and people would feel they would just sit down without campaigning and they say you will win PDPâ€.
According to Ogbulafor, â€œLet me, therefore, use this medium to condemn in strong terms the negative utterances of some Nigerians over the health of our dear President. As a human being, it is not unusual for the President to be sick.”