Jonathan, Sambo, Anenih, Mark, Ekwueme, IBB absent at PDP National Conference

Jonathan, Sambo, Anenih, Mark, Ekwueme, IBB absent at PDP National Conference

…As Ekweremadu criticises APC method of governance

Chris Steven, Abuja

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his vice, Namadi Sambo,  Chief Tony Anenih and other  founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday shunned the party’s national conference held in Abuja.

Senator David Mark and former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme were also absent at the conference.

The party had listed on its invitation list personalities such as Dr. Alex Ekweme, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Sen. David Mark and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as the special guests of honour only to be disappointed by their absence from the occasion.

The idea behind the conference is to
strategies on how to reorganise to wrest power from All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

Though no reason was given for their absence apart from Ibrahim Babangida who declined the invitation on ground of age and also declared to remove himself from partisan politics.

The conference, which was well attended by thousands of PDP supporters across the country, witnessed the presence of
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, state governors, former PDP state governors, ministers, senators among others.

Ekweremadu in his speech, noted that APC as a political party cannot sustain the nation’s democracy.

Senator Ekweremadu 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.”

He said: “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.

“The ruling party must always be put at the mercy of the truth, for the job of the opposition is 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.”

The Senator regretted that the APC was yet to keep any of its campaign promises and called on the PDP to set us a Shadow Cabinet to benchmark the ruling party on its promises.

The Deputy Senate President said: “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. They promised to bring back the Chibok girls in less than three months. They promised to pay N5,000 to unemployed youths.

They promised free meals to our children in the schools. 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 lacks economic direction.

According to Senator Ekweremadu, “It is worthy of note that despite the promised Eldorado, the APC-led administration has driven our economy to the point where they confess that the nation is broke.

“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.”

He called on the international community to call the APC to order over what he termed “fast-narrowing political freedom”cautioning the ruling party not to “turn government into a bonfire of bitterness and a cavalcade of recrimination.”

The Senator said that while the PDP spearheaded the electoral reforms and expansion of democratic freedoms that ultimately gave birth to the ruling party and its victory in the last general elections, “there is clear design and desperation by the ruling party to takeover, by hook or crook, states won by the PDP.”

He said: “Our party has variously cried out over the blatant misuse of security agencies to hound INEC staff and intervene in election petition matters. It does appear that to be a PDP governor, especially in an oil rich state, is to be an endangered political specie. The judiciary must not only do justice, it must be seen to be just.

“The international community must speak up now and intervene against this reckless reign of impunity and manipulation of critical institutions of democracy.”