President Goodluck Jonathan
By Muhammad Bello in Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan, leaders of the National Assembly (NASS) chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and governors of the ruling party Friday held a closed door meeting to discuss matters relating to the party, its unity and how these will shape the transformation agenda of the current administration.
The over three hours meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa and attended by the President, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal also discussed the de-registration of some political parties.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metu told journalists after the meeting that it was held to address the discordant tunes being sang by different ensembles of the party regarding crucial issues facing the party and the nation.
According to Metu, the meeting also reviewed the current year with a view to planning for the future, particularly next year, focusing on what could be done to move the PDP forward and thereby meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“It was a meeting between the executive, the legislature, the party national working committee and the governors of PDP, it has to do with addressing issues facing the nation, x-raying the last year and looking forward for the new year, the vision of the President in line with the agenda of the party and how we want to ensure that we provide for the people of Nigeria, that is the most important thing that we discussed,” Metu said.
He explained that: “We want to assure Nigerians that the PDP is ready and able to satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians. We are going to produce a lot of reforms and innovations in the New Year to ensure that the people of Nigeria will be happy with the party in government.”
On the allegations by opposition political parties that were proscribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the PDP instigated the commission to do what it did, Metu exonerated the party of any complicity
Instead, he said, the PDP was a major player in the political process and not an umpire, therefore it did not meddle in the affairs of INEC.
“It is normal in a football match, when there is a winning team, the losing team will always accuse the referee of being bias, we are not the referees, we are not the arbiter, we are part of the team, we are playing in the field, we listened like them and we await the decision of INEC and we will abide with the decision of INEC, it is an independent body,” he added.
Turning to new reforms that Nigerians should anticipate in the New Year, Metu said: “We will await the President to unfold it, the president is going to address Nigerians in the New Year, and the National Assembly will make their position clear in the New Year. We will await the leaders of the country to make their position clear.”
Although the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Joy Emordi, admitted that the passage of the 2013 budget was deliberated upon she dismissed insinuations that there were still problems on some finne aspects of it, especially the lack of allocation to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Her words: “Yes, it (the budget) was discussed, like every other thing and I do not think that there is any problem with the budget passed. I don’t think that there is problem with anything because we are looking at all the features of the budget.
Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, who spoke on the purpose of the meeting, reiterated that it was to find amicable ways of addressing critical issues that pit one part of the party against another.
“I think it is very important that the president meet us because we can understand and appreciate the issues better so that this country will have better leadership. And then we can have better ways of governing the country. So, he called and solicited our support moving forward,” Suswam explained.
“It is all about bonding together. We understand that sometimes there are at times statements that are not coordinated in the states and at the centre, and meanwhile we are running the same government. Majority of us are in the same party,” he added.
He also emphasized that: “All that we discussed here among the president, the governors and the party is about how we can bound the party together. If we have that bonding together, all the seeming misunderstanding, some of them are artificial anyway will be resolved. And that will create a better room and enabling environment for all of us at all levels to provide better leadership for this country, which is what I think is very important for this country at this point in time.
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi further clarified the position of governors regarding the on-going probe of the fateful crash of the naval chopper at Okoroba creeks last week.
Amaechi told State House correspondents that the Governors Forum, which he leads and which had called for its inclusion in the probe of the helicopter crash did not take the decision it took because it lacked confidence in the investigation process.
“No. We are being misunderstood all the time. What we said was that we wanted to be given an observer status if we can’t participate so that we will bring a professional who will observe the process how it is going on and brief the Governors Forum. Not that we passed a vote of no confidence on those who are investigating,” Amaechi stressed.
Quizzed further on why the Governor’s Forum never raised an eyebrow when there were similar accidents in the past, Amaechi said: “We felt that too many crashes have occurred in Nigeria and that it is proper that the Governors Forum have a professional advice so that we can know what contribution we can make to the Federal Government. Not that because our colleague was involved, after all, the general who died was not our colleague.