By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
As political parties begin skeletal preparations for the 2023 general elections, immediate past President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has promised to woo political stakeholders, youths, businessmen among others to the fold of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in its push for a return to power at the centre.
Saraki, who made the pledge, Wednesday, at the inauguration of the PDP National Reconciliation and Strategic Committee which he chairs, noted that with unity, the party would succeed in returning to power and give Nigerians the democracy dividends they have been yearning for in the past five and a half years.
Decrying what he called the “lack of unity of purpose,” in the nation’s political leadership, the former Kwara state governor, counselled the PDP to go the whole distance to bring on board men and women desirous of seeing genuine change in Nigeria, noting that across all spheres of life, the country is battling the scourge of the fault lines that have held it in chains for long.
“We will go all out to reach our members who have one grievance or the other and seek to reconcile all of us. We will reach out to numerous key politicians who have left our fold and have indicated interest in returning to the PDP.
“We will reach out to all the youths looking for a party on whose platform they can contribute to the development of our country. We will reach out to those who create jobs in our country and want to support a party with clear and realistic economic policies.
“We will hold discussions with many other political leaders in other parties who have expressed the desire to join PDP but have held back until we put our house in order.
“Since political parties are vehicles for mobilizing the citizenry around national goals, objectives and ideas, it is important for the passengers in the vehicle to be in harmony, stay together in peace and be focused on their destination and the best possible route to get there.
This initiative by our great party to embark on genuine reconciliation, strengthening of our structures, addressing the grievances of our members, re-inventing the all-inclusive, broad-based foundation of our party which has been the goal of our founding fathers is, to quote Victor Hugo, “an idea whose time has come”, he said.
He expressed the readiness of the committee to make the most of the assignment, saying “we all subscribe to the fact that a united PDP is in the best interest of Nigeria. It is a necessity for mobilizing the citizens of this country around the ideas of national unity, economic prosperity, healthy social relations, mutual respect, discipline and security of lives and properties.
“We will also seek to provide good accommodation for youths and make them a virile driving force behind the PDP. This committee will seek to make recommendations on how to give sense of belonging to the youths and get them to contribute ideas on how to achieve consistent growth within the party.”
He continued: “It is my belief that this is a critical time in the life of our nation when politicians must forget about our individual ambitions and focus on building a nation that can overcome the challenges of insecurity, economic crisis, indiscipline, disunity and internal as well as external aggression.
“After all, it is only when there is a nation that somebody can aspire to govern or lead her. Let me State it clearly that while it is legitimate for politicians to have ambition, this is the time for us to push our ambition to the back.
How can anybody realise his ambition when the political party on whose platform he wants to pursue his ambition not fully united? That is why I believe our pre-occupation as members of the PDP now should be how to unite the party, strengthen it and put it in a position to beat all opposition in coming elections.
“The pre-occupation of leaders now should be how to keep our country united, rebuild her institutions, defeat the forces seeking to pull her apart, rebuild the infrastructure, reposition it as a respected and responsible member of the international community, make the country truly serve the citizenry and inspire patriotism from them.
“Any political party or politician not worried by these issues is not worth the ambition he or she is pursuing. We believe that nothing is more important at this point than Nigeria and our party. And it is obvious that the success of the PDP today is the only hope that Nigeria needs to survive and bounce fully back.”
Saraki further noted that for the committee to deliver on its mandate, the National Working Committee, NWC, National Executive Committee, NEC, Board of Trustees, BoT and the PDP Governors’ Forum must be on the same page with it at all times.
Inaugurating the committee, national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus tasked the members to bring their experience to bear in the interest of Nigeria and the party.
“Our party has carefully chosen men of integrity and those with the best skills in the country to solve the plight of our party. We have absolute confidence in them to carry out this assignment. We also believe that reconciliation is a major assignment in our party.
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“And as you are aware that the country is falling apart, Nigeria requires the leadership qualities domicile in our party to show the pathway for the next general election in 2023. It is so important at this time; they come on board to serve not only the party, but also to serve the entire country,” he said.
The PDP boss further called on the committee members to see their assignment as a pan-Nigeria mandate, saying, “we are not here to play politics with our people. We are passing through the most difficult time, not only our party but also as a nation.
“We are aware that the All Progressives Congress, APC, is a political party of lies and propaganda. They fooled Nigerians in 2015 and 2019 and they can’t continue to fool the people all the time.”
The six-man committee has as its members, former Governors Liyel Imoke, Ibrahim Shema and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Cross River, Katsina and Gombe states respectively as well as erstwhile Senate President and one-time Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and ex-House of Representatives leader, Mulikat Adeola-Akande.