The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its strength in Ebonyi State and the South East has remained intact.
PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, stated this in his remarks at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.
He made the statement in reaction to the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Secondus, who noted that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) swiftly took necessary steps to protect and guard its strength in the state and the region, stressed that the real reason that informed the governor’s defection would be exposed soon.
He condemned what he described as the provocative reason of allegation of injustice against the South East by the party, given by the governor for his action.
The PDP national chairman stated that while the party would not join issues with Governor Umahi in any way, it would not bow to any blackmail.
He also briefed the meeting about the outcome of some of the decisions reached during the last NEC which was held in February, as well as the efforts of the PDP in the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
According to Secondus, one great lesson the party must learn from those elections is that it needs unity in order to be able to win future polls.
He stated that the party, drawing from past experiences, would leave no stone unturned in its quest to return to Aso Villa in 2023.
Before he began his speech, the gathering observed a minute’s silence in honour of those who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent #EndSARS protest.
Read the full text of the PDP National Chairman’s speech at the meeting below:
ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, PDP, PRINCE UCHE SECONDUS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 90TH NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) MEETING OF THE PARTY AT PDP NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, WADATA PLAZA, ABUJA, 19th NOVEMBER, 2020
With utmost humility and gratitude to God I welcome you all to this very important meeting of our great party. I welcome you specially because this meeting is coming after a COVID-19 pandemic that shook and still shaking the global community.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC as at November 2020, the disease had caused the death of over 1,154 Nigerians out of over 63,000 confirmed cases from 700,000 persons tested. Nearly 3,000 persons are still officially infected in the country.
This meeting is also coming in the aftermath of the #ENDSARS peaceful protests by the youths against police brutality and bad governance and the subsequent looting and destruction by hoodlums that hijacked the process.
At this juncture may I crave the indulgence of NEC of our party to stand for a minute silence in honour of all those who died from COVID-19, as well as in the recent national youth protest ..(may their souls and those of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen).
We are also praying for the quick recovery and God’s healing hands on those still suffering from the virus and the injured.
State of the Nation
Your Excellences, great leaders of our party, before the COVID-19 lockdown our country was already going through some socio-political and economic challenges all arising from the poor governance delivery by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The security problem of the country has refused to abate, instead, it has multiplied with no clear solution in sight.
President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government, under whose watch the situation got worsened and complicated has remained clearly helpless and incapable of providing the needed leadership.
#Endsars Protest And Its Fallout
Your Excellences, leaders of our party, a number of times both in NEC and other platforms PDP has had cause to cry out that the APC administration was doing nothing to improve the lives of the people.
That the youth unemployment situation in the country was growing at an alarming rate. We had also expressed deep concern at the growing human rights abuses in the system all due to the glaring indifference of the APC administration.
The consequences of all these came to the fore when the youths, last month poured out their anger on the country through a nationwide protest.
Even though the protest was triggered off by accumulated police brutality, particularly by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, it developed into a wider rebellion against injustice and poor leadership in the country.
Your Excellences, one significant fallout from the protest was the exposition of the poor management of the COVID-19 palliatives. Recall that our party had earlier cried out that the COVID-19 was becoming a huge window of corruption by federal government operatives.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the protest was that the causalities recorded, including the Tuesday 20th October night shooting of protesting youths at Lekki tollgate killing and injuring many, would have been averted if the government was responsive.
Instead, it took President Muhammadu Buhari almost two weeks of persuasion and cajoling from many Nigerians, including the Senate, before he agreed to address the nation on the issue after the damage was already done, youths killed by security agencies and property destroyed.
The protest opened a fresh dimension in the government-citizen relationship and underscored the fact that some fundamental actions are needed to get our polity going on the right track.
The Federal Government should address the fundamental issues raised by the youths rather than the counterproductive strategy of seeking to hound and intimidate perceived leaders of the peaceful protest by seizing their travel documents, freezing their accounts and arrests.
It must be emphasised that peaceful protest is a right in every democracy and guaranteed by the country’s constitution.
When the current National Working Committee, NWC, under my watch came into office nearly three years ago, we based our programmes on 3Rs, to Reposition, Rebuild and to Regain.
I can confidently report to NEC that the programme is on course. We were able to reform the party ahead of 2019 general election enough to take us to victory if the APC regime had allowed the will of the people to prevail.
Number of PDP governors increased from 11 to 16 and would have been more if not for APC’s Electoral abracadabra in Osun, Kano, Kogi States and climaxed in Imo State with the shocking Supreme Court ruling.
At the National Assembly, as an opposition we were able to attract into our fold the Senate President and 16 senators, the Speaker and more than 34 House of Representatives members ahead of the 2019 elections, in addition to three seating state governors, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Dr Sam Ortom of Benue and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State.
All these are as a result of our repositioning of the party that made it a huge brand. We restored integrity to our primaries.
On the off-season elections, we won the governorship in Bayelsa and Edo. The Party also prevailed in several bye-elections in Sokoto, Cross River, Taraba and Rivers States.
In our last NEC meeting in February, some far reaching decisions were taken including the rationalisation of the party workforce to bring it to a realistic level as an opposition party.
I wish to report to NEC that this was successfully carried out by the committee headed by His Excellency, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State who did a good job and deserve commendation.
In our last NEC meeting, also a special committee to review and appraise the 2019 general election was set up. The Committee which is also headed by Governor Mohammed is already operational despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
It was the reformed status of the party that saw us conduct the best ever presidential congress in this country where our candidate emerged transparently and all the other contestants congratulated the winner and resolved to support him.
It is also necessary to bring to the attention of NEC that despite the disruptions from the COVID-19 lockdown, we have been able to conduct congresses in most of the outstanding states and frantic efforts are also on ground to resolve some disputes arising from them in few states.
I must place on record, at this juncture, the cooperation we received from elders of our party in this regard particularly the members of the BOT.
Edo and Ondo States
Your Excellences, leaders, I have decided to isolate these two states because of their unique features.
The party was able to attract his Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State after he was shabbily treated by his party, the APC. He was able to get his second term for the September 19, 2020 governorship election flying our flag.
I must mention for appreciation the cooperation of party leaders across the country, particularly the Edo State members of our party for this success.
Also for commendation are the PDP Governors forum under the leadership of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, the Chairman of Edo State National Campaign Council, His Excellency Nysom Wike of Rivers State and his team, as well as the governors of the South-South states.
Also for special commendations is the Chairman of the Ondo State National Campaign Council and Governor Seyi Makinde and his team. In Ondo State, we had similar circumstance but were undone in the October 10 governorship election.
We, however, have some lessons to draw from what happened in both Edo Ondo states.
Before I conclude, your excellences, leaders of our party, may I declare to you that the party is also being futuristic drawing experience from the past. We know as a fact that transparent election under the watch of APC is not feasible with the current Electoral Act.
We are liaising with our very reliable members in the National Assembly to ensure that a fraud-free law is put in place ahead of 2023.
Within our family also, we are putting all hands on deck to ensure we enter the next election stronger as one united and harmonious family and to achieve this, I solicit the full and undiluted cooperation of NEC.
On your behalf also, we are continuing in our extensive consultations with critical stakeholders to ensure that no stone is left unturned for our return to Aso Rock.
Gov. Umahi’s Defection Issue
Your Excellencies, you must have read the eventual defection of PDP Governor in Ebonyi State, His Excellency Dave Umahi to the ruling APC on Tuesday and his provocative reason of allegation injustice against South East by the party.
We have refused to join issues with him in any way, but we cannot bow to any blackmail. What I can report to NEC is that the strength of our party in Ebonyi State and South East is intact and the NWC has taken necessary steps to protect and guard it. The real season that informed this decision will soon be exposed.
As I conclude this address Your Excellences, leaders of our great party, may I report to you that our beloved country is in a very bad shape, the populace are groaning in pains and the government response to this is heaping further pains on them.
This country is sliding into bankruptcy, but the government is instead embarking in endless borrowing with no accountability on the already borrowed ones.
Federal Government themselves just reported last week that 428 agencies would not be able to pay salaries this November because of underfunding.
NEC may, therefore, wish to join other voices in charging the APC Federal Government to (show the cards).
#Stop mortgaging our future,
#Account for borrowed Funds
#Stop the Persecution of #Endsars Youth Protesters
#Respect Nigeria Youths
#Give Nigeria Youths a Voice.
#No to censoring of Social media
Indeed, this APC administration has not treated our youths fairly. This APC government branded them lazy, use them and then victimise them.
Issues that have to do with the development of our youths have been relegated to the background. The gains achieved by our youthful population in every sector of the life under PDP have all been destroyed by the APC which is doing everything to frustrate youthful attainments.
We must as a party therefore, work hard to ensure that the Nigerian youths are once again, given a voice in our country.
Our party will as a matter of policy restore the hope of our youths. We hereby invite the Nigeria youths to avail themselves of the ample opportunity in our party to participate in the political process ahead of 2023 election.
At the last count Nigeria debt profile is showing over 31 trillion naira a lot of it misappropriated.
While borrowing in economics is not bad, it depends on what the borrowed resources is being channeled for. With the unprecedented corruption in the system under APC watch, it would be difficult to see these borrowed funds properly deployed.
Amidst the frightening insecurity in the country accompanied by mass killings that has set fears on the people, what you get from government is multiple tariffs- Electricity, VAT, fuel hike and more, with its operatives indulging in lies and propaganda.
The worrisome situation here is that Nigerians do not really know who is in charge in the country today. It appears that governance in our country today is in autopilot with agencies and operatives in a free world harassing and intimidating perceived enemies.
Your Excellences, the situation generally is frightening and disheartening, but we must not despair because God is not finished with this country and with strong faith in him, we shall prevail.
Thanks for listening and God bless.
Prince Uche Secondus