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Despite losing the last general elections, former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday declared that the Peoples Democratic Party remains the biggest and the strongest party in Nigeria.
The former President said that the PDP would bounce back in 2019.
He said that the outcome of the last general elections, which the party lost to the All Progressives Congress, was a minor setback which he said did not diminish the party.
Jonathan spoke when he received a delegation of the PDP Strategy Review and Inter-party Committee, which visited him at his private residence in Abuja.
The ex-President advocated for the strengthening of institutions in the country, while responding to a complaint over the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission under this administration by his visitors.
Jonathan said, “I am among the persons who believe that for a nation to grow, the institutions must be very strong, just like you mentioned about INEC. There is no way a nation will grow with weak institutions because everything about politics is about the people, not about the individuals.
“And as long you are interested in the people, you are interested in the growth of the society, the development of the nation, the only thing that will make the impossible possible is that the institutions must be strong.
“You see, as powerful as America is, look at President Donald Trump’s decision and the court say no, you can’t do this and of course they have to shoot it down to move forward. That is the strength of an institution. That is the only way individuals could be regulated so that you can grow.”
On the fate of his party ahead of the 2019 elections, he said. “The PDP is still the biggest and the strongest party. Irrespective of what happened in the 2015 general elections. Yes, we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still knows that the PDP is a leading party.
“Losing the Presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our act together. I am happy that you people are working towards that.”
The former president, however, advocated the use of statutory delegates for the party’s primaries to check imposition of candidates.
He also endorsed the alliance talks between the PDP and other political parties.
The Strategy Committee, headed by a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, also presented its report to two former founding members of the party.
They are a former National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and a former Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih.
In his remarks, Tukur lambasted those defecting from the PDP on the perceived promise of a better future, likening them to those running to Europe for a better future that he said was unpredictable.
He expressed happiness that the PDP was rebranding and trying to return power to the people, adding that there was no place in the country “where you do not find a member of our party.”
Anenih, on his part, blamed selfishness among some party leaders for the state of the PDP today. He said the party could have gone beyond its present status but for the selfishness of some party leaders.
He, however, charged the party leadership to engage in constructive criticism.
Gana, while addressing the elder statesmen, at the separate visits, alleged that INEC had become a tool in the hands of the APC.