The two-day National Convention of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commenced on Saturday in Abuja, with leaders of the party deploring the poor state of Nigeria and urging citizens to support the party’s mission to salvage the country.
The leaders, who included former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said that the country had never been in such a bad shape as it was currently and called on the people to join hands with PDP to rescue the nation from maladministration.
Specifically, Abubakar reminded Nigerians that PDP grew Nigeria’s economy to become the largest in Africa and made it the country the preferred Foreign Direct Investment destination.
“The PDP fought inflation to single-digit and stabilised the foreign exchange market which the APC destroyed with its cluelessness and incompetence.
“All through my life, I have never seen our dear country in such a bad shape. We have become so disunited, with so much unemployment and insecurity in the country.
“Nigeria is now at a precipice because of the lacklustre performance of the APC, but we now have the chance to atone for the mistakes of our past leadership, a chance to steer our country to its right position in the comity of nations.
“As humans, none of us is perfect and we will continue to strive to make our country better for the good of all Nigerians.
“The APC has proven itself to be incompetent and we are now ready to rescue, restore and rebuild the foundation of our beloved country.
“We have a collective aspiration to return Nigeria to the path of growth and development and I call on all members of our party and indeed, all well-meaning citizens of our great country to join us in this struggle,” he said.
Welcoming delegates to the convention, Chairman of the National Planning Committee of the Convention, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri, said that the Convention presented a starting point for Nigeria’s “rescue mission”.
He urged delegates to vote wisely, saying that their decision would have a direct bearing on the strength of the party, going into the future.
Fintiri, who is the Governor of Adamawa, said that PDP was not just a vehicle for winning elections but a symbol for a free, democratic and prosperous Nigeria that worked for every citizen.
“For Nigeria, the present APC-led government is hell-bent on railroading the country into multi-faceted recession in all fronts – from economy to governance, national security to diplomacy, poverty to unemployment, anti-corruption to the observance of the rule of law and citizenship to national cohesion.
“Indeed, the country has never had it this bad and that Nigeria was better by far when PDP was in power is not in doubt and that the people relish those golden moments when the PDP held sway at the centre is also not in doubt,” he said.
He added that because of the untold hardship in the country, Nigerians were yearning for the return of PDP at the centre as the 2023 elections drew near.
Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Mr Yomi Akinwonmi, on his part, paid glowing tribute to the governors of the party, describing them as “pillars of the party”.
He commended members of the National Assembly and party leaders for their outstanding contributions to the growth of the party.
Akinwonmi called on all party members to come together and bury all personal ambitions in the interest of Nigerians.
According to him, today is the day that new leadership of our party will emerge, new leadership that will take the party to victory in 2023.
“The APC government is so clueless that Nigerians are now yearning for our return to rescue them,” he said.
Chairman of PDP Governor’s Forum, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal thanked the youths and all the leaders that had worked to keep the party together.
He said that the temptation and allure of power were tempting and many had fallen apart.
He stressed that there were plots to weaken the party but those plotting the fall of the party were the ones failing while the party kept winning all on sides.
He added that the governors of the party were united and prepared to work for the return of the party to the centre in 2023.
Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the minority caucus in the National Assembly would continue to speak against the oppressive policies, incompetence, cold-blooded, arrogance and treasury looting of the All Progressives Congress.
He said there were gory tails of difficulties all over the country with state-backed brutality, extrajudicial killings and clamp down on dissenting voices which had led to sectional agitations in the country.
The minority leader further said while the APC continued to give excuses and gloat as bandits take over our highways, kidnapping of school children among other vices in the country.
Earlier, Chairman of the Accreditation Sub-Committee and Governor of Delta, Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, had supervised the screening of delegates at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja, before they were conveyed to Eagles Square for the convention.
Okowa who addressed delegates during the accreditation said that the exercise was to ensure that the right people voted in the elective convention.
He commended delegates for their orderly conduct assuring that the party was setting the pace for others to emulate.
As of the time of this report, the elections for various officers was underway with about 3,600 delegates participating in the election to usher in new national officers of the party.