GEJ Speech at PDP Non-elective Convention

GEJ Speech at PDP Non-elective Convention
August 12 20:39 2017 Print This Article

AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR (PRESIDENT,

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, 2010-2015)

AT THE NON-ELECTIVE CONVENTION OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, PDP,

ON  12 AUGUST, 2017

 

Protocol

 

It is my honour and privilege to address you on this auspicious

occasion of the non elective convention of our great party, the

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

  1. Let me start by paying tributes to the founding fathers of our

great party and all others who had laboured so hard over these past

months to restore peace and tranquility in our party. The PDP like

every successful human organization has gone through a momentous time

in the last one and half years.

 

  1. As a party that heralded Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999,

the PDP had become so accustomed to success in its 16 years in power

that the first time our fortunes changed at the polls, it was obvious

that the party would suffer the aftershocks of the loss. It was in

deed a most trying period for us as a political party.

 

  1. However, it is not an experience that is peculiar to us. This

because all over the world, any party that loses election at the

centre as we did, will first of all, struggle to hold together, before

regaining its composure to effectively present the strong voice of the

opposition, and resume the contestation to return to office.

 

  1. But we thank God that the worst is over for our party. It is to

His grace that we were able to emerge from this unsavoury experience,

from which some political parties in other emerging democracies hardly

recover, to become even stronger, within a short period of time.

 

  1. The PDP is in deed back to reclaim its prime position as the

party to lead Nigeria to greatness. As a human institution we cannot

claim perfection, but obviously as a political party, our

accomplishments as at 2015, far outweigh our shortfalls.

 

  1. Our giant developmental strides are there for all Nigerians to

see. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that PDP has indeed proved

to be a party of vision and accomplishments.

 

  1. As I said when I addressed our members in April during the

stakeholders’ forum which I convened; the 2011, 2015 general elections

and other polls conducted by our administration were accepted globally

to have met the international standards for free, fair and transparent

elections. There is no gainsaying the fact that our disposition in

freely handing over power to the opposition, after the 2015 polls,

helped to deepen our democracy, and project our country as one of the

world’s stable democracies.

 

  1. This wouldn’t have been possible if our Government did not reform

the electoral and political process, by giving the independent

National Electoral Commission (INEC) the autonomy it requires, to

enable it to conduct free and fair elections.

 

  1. On the economic front, we provided focused leadership, through

institutional and sectoral reforms which impacted positively on the

fundamentals for growth, especially in the last four years of our time

in power. The effect was that we tamed inflation at a single digit,

maintained price stability, grew the economy to become the largest in

Africa with a GDP of over half a trillion US dollars, and the number

one foreign direct investment destination on the continent.

 

11.I learnt that some people said that if PDP had remained in power

beyond 2015, the economy would have performed worse. This couldn’t

have been the case, because we had a sound economic team in place,

managing the economy.  Let us not forget that the great floods of 2012

was a major calamity that damaged homes and farmlands on the plains of

River Niger and Benue. But despite the devastating effect of this

natural disaster, there was no food shortages or arbitrary increase in

prices, because of what we were able to accomplish with our

Agriculture Transformation Agenda, which considerably boosted food

production.

 

  1. If we say that we rekindled hope in our people and regained

international goodwill, it is because we pursued a number of policies

and programmes that were not only richly rewarding for our people, but

were also being copied by many countries across the globe, a few of

which I will mention here.

 

  1. We can all recall that our agricultural transformation agenda

rapidly transformed key agricultural value chains, boosted local

production, and created a new generation of young commercial farmers

and agriculture entrepreneurs we proudly identified as Nagropreneurs.

One very remarkable achievements of the reform we introduced was that

it ended decades of fertiliser sector corruption through electronic

wallet system. Since then, its success has continued to resonate

outside our shores. The programme is not only being scaled up by the

African Development Bank, but is already being replicated in close to

20 African countries.

 

  1. In fact, three days ago, my attention was drawn to The Guardian

newspaper publication about a contract that has just been awarded to a

Nigerian IT solutions firm, Cellulant, to export the e-wallet system

which we conceived, to Afghanistan. This is in deed, a good

development for our country.

 

  1. I understand that the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and

Livestock in Afghanistan, which contracted them in their bid to

establish a market-based input distribution technology, might have

been inspired by our own experience, in successfully deploying the

e-wallet technology to increase food production.

 

  1. In the same vein, Our Youth Enterprises with Innovation (YouWin)

designed to turn thousands of youths into entrepreneurs and employers

of labour, has been endorsed by the World Bank for replication in

other developing countries.

 

  1. The ECOWAS Commission has since expressed interest in partnering

with Nigeria with a view to establishing an automotive policy for the

sub-region, in line with our administration’s auto industry

development policy, which led to the establishment of many vehicle

assembly plants, including indigenous companies.

 

  1. Our approach to fighting corruption may not have plugged all the

leaks in the system; in fact, no nation has ever been successful in

eradicating the cankerworm of corruption.

 

  1. But we went about it in a sustainable and measurable manner, by,

among other measures, creating institutional tools like bank

verification number (BVN), the treasury single account (TSA) designed

to block leakages, as well as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel

Information (IPPIS), which eliminated tens of thousands of ghost

workers, during our time.

 

  1. I have just pointed out these few programmes, out of our other

numerous great achievements in such sectors as roads infrastructure,

rail services, communications, public financial management and social

services, for you to know that our records, as members of Nigeria’s

biggest party, still speak for us and we should be proud of them.

 

  1. We should always celebrate the fact that the PDP introduced key

policies that improved governance, enhanced welfare, boosted and

stabilized the economy of our great country, and above all, gave our

people hope.

 

  1. In closing, I wish to remind all of us that as politicians, we

are bound to have differences. It is important we manage our

differences responsibly, with an eye on the divine role of the PDP to

lead Nigeria to greatness. Let us rededicate ourselves to playing by

the rules.

 

  1. Let us all ensure that the PDP is renewed in vigour to deliver on

its divine responsibility to Nigerians. Let us forget the grievances

of the past, and look to the future with confidence and optimism.

 

  1. While I congratulate all delegates to this convention, I urge you

to go back to your respective constituencies to promote the ideals of

our great party. Let it be known that our party has been born anew,

committed to the best ideals of democracy.

 

  1. Let it be known, in all nooks and crannies of our country, that

the PDP is back to claim its rightful place in the affairs of the

nation. As we have always done, we are ready to return Nigeria to the

path of unity, peace and prosperity.

 

  1. I congratulate the Caretaker Committee, our relentless Governors,

the Board of Trustees, National Assembly caucuses, former Governors,

the ex Ministers’ Forum, our teeming youths and women for your

steadfastness and dogged contributions to the sustenance of this great

party.

 

  1. My appreciation also goes to all PDP members and supporters, both

at home and in the Diaspora.

 

  1. I thank the Convention Planning Committee for putting this August

event together.  I also congratulate all delegates for the successful

trip to the convention.

 

  1. Finally, I wish you all successful deliberations at this convention.

 

May God return you all back home safely.

 

God bless the People’s Democratic Party!

 

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

 

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