The President explained yesterday why the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is finding it difficult to deliver on its campaign promises.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said his administration was being distracted by security challenges, especially the threat posed by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for bombings in the North. Hundreds have died in the attacks, which have been targeted at churches and other public places.
It was all at the 60th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Describing insecurity as the most fundamental issue his administration is grappling with, the President added that the challenges have stood in the way of delivering on the ruling party’s campaign promises.
He listed job creation and power supply as priority areas that were meant to be addressed in earnest but which have been overshadowed by insecurity.
Dr. Jonathan, however, expressed the optimism that the challenges posed by the sect would soon reduce, regretting that the relative peace experienced in the last three weeks was punctured by the recent attacks on mourners in Plateau State.
A senator, Dr. Gyang Dantong and a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Gyang Fulani, were two of the over 100 persons who died in a rash of attacks carried out by rampaging gunmen.
“Security is the most fundamental issue, particularly the threat by Boko Haram. But we experienced relative peace in the last three weeks before the last attack in Plateau in which a senator was killed
“Security agencies are working hard on the problem in Plateau and God willing, the issue of Boko Haram will soon come down.”
Taking a swipe at opposition parties, the President attributed what he described as stability in the polity to the robustness of the ruling PDP, which, he said, prevented the republic from collapsing.
President Jonathan said: “The opposition parties want to drown the PDP. We believe that if we do not have a party as robust as the PDP, probably, the republic would have collapsed. Because we witnessed what happened in the First Republic and we know the circumstances that led to the collapse of the First Republic and the Second Republic.
“We know what is happening in other African countries. If the ruling party over intimidates and over imposes, using the weight of the Federal Government; and the citizens revolt, it weakens the political system and creates confusion and instability.
“But the PDP, even though, we control the Federal Government, we operate a system that even the opposition fly higher than us. They abuse us more, but we allow it. It is the PDP’s handling of the affairs of the country that is stabilising democracy in the country.”
Also speaking at the meeting, PDP National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur decried the call for regional autonomy which he dismissed as a call for ethnic segregation, informed by political selfishness.
“Nigerians believe in peaceful co-existence but many are in support of regional autonomy probably for political selfishness,” Alhaji Tukur said, adding:
“We publicly denounce ethnic segregation and struggle to become local leaders and not national champions, thus creating more discomfort for our image in the face of globalisation”, Tukur stated.
The chairman deplored the scramble for power and positions within the PDP and the resultant strangulation of the party’s constitution, a development which, he said, has become a source of worry to the leadership.
“Lack of enforcement of disciplinary actions has been identified as the genesis of the disregard for the party’s constitution while resistance to internal democracy cannot be ruled out, until all of us have agreed to respect and protect the party’s constitution,” he said.
Two former chairmen of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chiefs Olusegun Obasanjo and Tony Anenih, did not attend the meeting. National Publicity Secretary Chief Olisa Metuh spoke on their absence.
“Chief Obasanjo was here earlier but he had to excuse himself to travel out of the country. Chief Anenih has just gone through the Edo State election and he is taking a rest,” Metuh said.
The meeting accepted Obasanjo’s resignation as the chair of the BoT but the party would not appoint a new BoT chair until issues arising from its amended constitution have been resolved.
Also at the meeting were Senate President David Mark, House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and some governors.