…Wants INEC to consolidate on FCT council polls
By Dirisu Yakubu
Ahead of the 2023 general election, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu has assured Nigerians that a new manifesto of the party that would address contemporary challenges will be out as soon as the committee empanelled to review the party’s policies and programmes completes its assignment.
Ayu stated this, Thursday while playing host to British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing in his office in Abuja.
The former Senate President also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for its conduct of last week’s council polls in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, even as it called on the umpire to ensure a level playing field for all political parties at all times.
He said: “Very soon, the manifesto of the party will be out. We have already set up a committee that is working on the party’s manifesto with details on virtually everything- economy, foreign relations, agriculture, security among others. When it is ready, we would like to share it because we want people to know what we stand for that is different from other parties.
“The PDP was formed as a party opposed to dictatorship and we have continued to chart that course for a long time whether in good times or bad times. We were able to win elections from the beginning in 1999. We led in building some of the democratic institutions that exist today.
Along the line and given our commitment to democracy, we had an election which we lost; we accepted defeat because of our deep belief in the democratic process.
“We expect all umpire institutions including INEC to carry out their work without bias against us as major opposition party. And so far, the signs are there given what happened in the FCT council election last week. We won 44 councillorship seats while the ruling party got only 18. This is a good sign.”
According to him, winning the chairmanship seats in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Kuje and Abaji is an indication of good fortune for the party even as he called on INEC to remain non-partisan, noting that once all parties play by the rules; there will be no difficulty accepting the result of any electoral contest.
He chided the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for its management of the economy in the past six years, saying as a result; jobs were lost across all sectors. “There’s massive unemployment. The security situation has worsened but we believe that we can do better.
Ayu further called on the international community to assist Nigeria in deepening democracy by rising up to condemn every anti-democratic action by the nation’s political leadership.
Earlier in her remark, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing congratulated the PDP for its victory in the recent FCT polls, stressing that the British expect the 2023 elections to be free, fair and credible.
“We will be following with keen interest the manifestos and the policy of your party, hoping for good policy that will make Nigeria move forward and take her rightful place in the global community.
“We want to know what we can do to collectively to inspire the youths to believe in politics and in the future of their country,” she said.