By Henry Umoru
ABUJA — PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, warned politicians interested in 2015 presidency to stop holding political meetings to that effect forthwith.
Jonathan spoke at the 58th emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, saying he would sack any of his political appointees seen to be engaged in such meetings henceforth, stressing that such meetings were totally uncalled for. He said such moves were not only too early, but distract those in government from governance.
Jonathan spoke against the backdrop of reports that although the president and governors were yet to spend one year in office, some people had started positioning themseves for their offices. He, however, said such meetings should be discouraged as Nigerians wanted to see the dividends of democracy rather than endless electioneering campaigns.
He also said as the party prepared for its ward, local government, zonal and state congresses that would culminate into a national convention, the PDP must move away from the culture of imposition of candidates by electing their officers democratically.
The President, who stressed the need for unity in the party if the president, governors, members of the National Assembly as well as members of the state Houses of Assembly must deliver dividends of democracy, said the people want to see roads, hospitals, infrastructure, water and not a situation where party members engage themselves in shadow boxing.
He then urged members irrespective of their positions, to respect the party or face being sacked using the African National Congress, ANC, of South Africa example .
“Let me also plead with us that those who are interested in the general elections in 2015, I have noticed that some people have started some meetings. It is too early to hold meetings. You people can see that from the electoral laws and the constitution, INEC normally declares (such contests) open. The idea is that people who were elected into offices as governors and President must be given time to work.
“A situation whereby a governor has not even stayed for a year, the President has not stayed for a year, you start harassing people for 2015 is another way of saying everything is election. There must be time to work.
“At the federal level, if you are holding a political office and I notice that you are involved in meetings for the 2015 election, I will ask you to leave and go and hold your meetings, because that meeting is too early and government must not be distracted. Nigerians are interested on what we put on ground for them, not how many elections we conduct and win.”
On unity and discipline among members, Jonathan said: “Let me use this unique opportunity to charge all of us, at all levels, whether you are operating at the federal legislative council level as a president, vice president and ministers or at the National Assembly or at the states, at the governors or at the state Assemblies and indeed the party, that all of us belong to one party— one PDP family.
“We are supposed to have one manifesto, one pledge, irrespective of the positions we hold. Ours is to make sure that the PDP succeeds; the governors succeed, the President succeeds, that is the only way we can say that the PDP, as a party, has succeeded.
PDP NEC fixes congresses, convention dates
Meanwhile, the PDP NEC, yesterday, approved dates for the congresses and the National Convention, with ward congresses taking place March 3, local government congress, March 5; state congresses March 12 while the zonal congress takes place March 21 with the National Convention on March 24 just as the present National Working Committee, NWC members who had their tenure in office slightly extended will hand over between March 26 and 31, even as the next NEC meeting was fixed for February 29.
On the forthcoming congresses and National Convention, the President said,‘’I will also use this opportunity to plead, being at the centre with the party chairman, we are privileged to hear more and we know that we are just going in for election now to elect our party officials and I plead that from the ward congress to the National Convention, let us insist that people are elected democratically.
’’Let us begin to move from the culture of imposition, because if we let our party elect officers of the party, then of course we are sure that primaries or general elections in 2015 will also be democratic and of course the general elections will also be free and fair.
’’As a party we have been able to develop that culture, the presidential election is the election that is number one election in the whole country- every party will want to produce a president first and foremost, because of the status that goes with the ruling party, because it is the party that produced the president.
’’We exposed ourselves to free and fair elections and because of that the world is happy with us; so we have to develop that culture even in our own local elections, at the ward, local government,states,zonal and of course, the national levels.”
While congratulating the governors who won recent governorship elections in their respective states, the President said, ‘’Let me join the acting Chairman to congratulate the governors of Kogi, Adamawa, Bayelsa states and also the members of the party from these states and indeed the leadership of the party. Of course,the governor of Sokoto state will join us during our next meeting.
Among those who attended the meeting included President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
They also included Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, Chief Tony Anenih,Dr. Amadu Ali, Senator Barnabas Gemade, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Ken Nnamani, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Chris Uba and Hassan Adamu,
Governors of Delta, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Bayelsa State, Rivers; Plateau; Gombe and Sokoto states among others also attended.