The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday rose from its national conference and declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government has failed to fulfilled any of its campaign promises.
Some key members of the party were, however, conspicuously absent.
Those absent include former President Goodluck Jonathan, former senate president David Mark, former national chairman of the party Adamu Mu’azu and Vincent Ogbulafor.
Others are founding father of the party Chief Alex Ekwueme, Governor of Ekiti State Ayo Fayose, Ogbulafor and former secretary to the federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, made the declaration at the one day conference of the party themed: “PDP and the Sustenance of Democratic Ideals in Nigeria”.
The objectives of the Conference was to take stock of the party’s performance at the 2015 Presidential and general elections and reflect on the future of the party with a view to providing better options for the Nigerian electorate.
Ekweremadu who chaired the conference, however charged the PDP to hold the All Progressives Congress (APC) to account through the setup of a shadow cabinet.
Delivering his address to party members Ekweremadu said “we must not deter in holding the APC-led Federal Government accountable. The ruling party must always be put at the mercy of the truth. That is the job of the opposition: to confront errors with the truth; to stand up for what is right; to offer constructive criticisms of the follies and errors of the ruling party; and to proffer better ideas for moving the nation forward.
“We need to urgently set up a Shadow Cabinet to benchmark the APC-led Federal Government on its promises. It is the greatest service we can offer to Nigeria and her democracy at this time. That is our task. Citizens and indeed posterity will not be kind to us if we fail in these laudable goals.”
He further recalled that even during military rule, the PDP founding fathers under the aegis of the G34, “looked tyranny in the face and demanded a return to democratic rule”.
“Looking at the way our country is being run by the APC-led Federal Government today, it is safe to say that we are back in the trenches for democracy because credible and responsible opposition is an essential, indeed indispensable component of thriving democracy and good governance”, Ekweremadu added.
He further lampooned the APC for failing to keep any of its campaign promises six months after its assumption of office at the center.
He added: “As could be seen from the events of the past few months, it is evident that while a party may ride to power on the wings of propaganda, it takes more than propaganda to govern well and retain goodwill.
“The APC won by promising much more than they could deliver. They promised to scale up the exchange rate of our currency to a Naira to one US Dollar. Have they kept this promise? They promised to bring back the Chibok girls in less than three months. Have they brought back the Chibok Girls? They promised to pay N5,000 to unemployed youths. Have they paid a kobo to any youth? They promised free meals to our children in the schools. Have they given any? They recently promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency in December 2015. We earnestly hope and pray that this particular promise is kept in the overall interest of our nation”.
The PDP chieftain faulted the management of the economy since May 2015, saying the country lacked economic direction.
He noted “Inflation has nearly hit double digits high, rising to 9.4 percent in October. Unemployment rate has hit the rooftop since May 2015, with the construction industry laying off tens of thousands of workers. There is massive job loss in the banking sector. Many businesses are being grounded because they can no longer buy spare parts or restock from Europe, China, Dubai, among others. The system is locked down. This nosedive is due mainly to the free fall of the Naira, absence of clear economic direction, delay in the appointment of ministers, the cramping monetary policy of the administration, and the exclusion of Nigeria from the J.P Morgan Bond Index. Indeed, recession stares us in the face”.
“The international community must speak up now and intervene against this reckless reign of impunity and manipulation of critical institutions of democracy”.
Speaking also, the acting national chairman of the PDP Uche Secondus, party insisted on the probe and subsequent prosecution of those involved in the alleged Treasury Single Account (TSA) scam.
The senate had asked the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ministry of Finance to suspend the TSA to allow for investigation into allegations that N25bn was collected by REMITTA to facilitate the process.
However Secondus while lambasting the APC led administration for running a police state, said “the obvious selective implementation of the ordinarily well received anti-corruption fight.
“Just yesterday the Senate commenced the investigation of an allegation involving the payment of commission to a company allegedly owned by a Northern APC Governor and a South-Western APC Leader for collecting monies meant for the Single Treasury Account in violation of the BIOFA Act.
“This is an unprecedented rip-off of our common wealth. We urge a thorough investigation of this allegation and the transparent prosecution of anybody indicted in this fraudulent deal no matter how highly placed.
“Again, we need to use this medium to call on the APC government to put a stop to these indiscretions in the interest of the survival of our hard-won democracy. Enough is Enough! Let it be clear that the people of Nigeria and PDP members would stand resolutely against any attempt to constrain our cherished freedoms under the rule of law.”
He however maintained that “most of the persons in the APC are members of PDP in spirit and in soul”.
He further decried what he said were interferences in the judicial processes that have led to the unjustifiable judgements at the lower courts in the Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Taraba States post election petitions.
Also, the acting Board of Trustees of the party, Dr. Halliru Bello, said he was appalled that the PDP was apologizing for its governance for the past 16 years, noting that the party does not have nothing to apologize for.
He said the “PDP is a party of choice. What has happened has happened. I was appalled that the PDP was apologizing. PDP has everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for. PDP and the governors have done their best.
He noted that the PDP will not fall for the propaganda of the opposition. While the blasted the APC administration for not fulfilling its campaign promises, he added “let them not use PDP as excuse to renege on their promises.
On his part, governor of Ondo State, and chairman of the PDP governors forum, Olusegun Mimiko, told President Muhammdu Buhari that development can only come through a minimum degree of consensus among members of the country.
He further reiterated the called for the release of Kogi state bailout funds. He added that they expect nothing short of free fair and credible elections in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States. He however assured that PDP governors will continue to benchmark good governance in Nigeria.
However in a communique read by the national secretary of the party, Prof. Adewale Oladipo, condemned the “growing authoritarianism of the APC-led Federal Government which has been characterized by gross violation of human rights, constitutional infractions, invasion of a governor’s lodge and private homes, deliberate interference and instigation of crisis in the legislature, arm-twisting of the judiciary, undermining of democratic institutions like INEC, nepotism in appointments, abuse of power and clamp down on opposition elements.
“Noted the sudden decline in the economy and quality of life of Nigerians, occasioned by the lack of direction of the APC government, in addition to the growing tension and rancour in the polity as direct consequences of the divisive tendencies of the present administration.
“Denounced the prevailing selective application in the fight against corruption targeted at opposition elements and perceived opponents of the regime, while APC members with corruption charges are being rewarded with ministerial positions and other juicy appointments as well as APC tickets in the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“Vehemently rejected the current manipulation of the judiciary and security forces by the APC-led Federal Government in its desperate bid to subvert the sovereign will of the people and forcefully take over states genuinely won by the PDP in the last general elections and ultimately impose a one-party state in Nigeria.
“Charged the new INEC leadership to assert the independence of the electoral body, resist all external influences and ensure free, fair and credible electoral process in Kogi and Bayelsa states and other future elections, as the PDP will NOT ACCEPT any results that do not reflect the true wishes and aspirations of the people, particularly in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“Called on the international community to note the growing impunity, abuse of power, constitution infractions, violation of human rights, selective war against corruption, clamp down on the opposition, divisiveness and overall high-handedness; tendencies that pose great threat to our democracy and unity as a nation.”
They also called on all organs of the Party to commence preparations for the National Convention scheduled for March 2016 and prior to that, Congresses at the Zonal, State, Local Government and Ward levels of the Party.
Some of the party leaders at the conference were governors of Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom); Idris Wada (Idris Wada); Darius Ishaku (Taraba)
Others are former senate president, Adolphus Wabara, former ambassador, Ojo Maduekwe; former governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido; Sen. Godswill Akpabio; Hon Leo Ogor; Sarah Jibril; Sen Stella Omu; Sen Jeremiah Useni; Sen. Joshua Dariye; Doyin Okupe; former Kaduna governor Ramalan Yero; former Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema; Sen. Buruji Kashamu; Sen. Andy Uba; Sen. Ibrahim Mantu.