The Peoples Democratic Party on Monday begged Nigerians to forgive its past mistakes and promised to bring a genuine change to the polity if given the opportunity to rule again in 2019.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, spoke in Abuja at the party’s one-day programme tagged, “A public discourse on contemporary politics and governance in Nigeria.”
Secondus said the PDP was seeking the forgiveness of Nigerians because in its 16 unbroken years in power, the party took Nigerians for granted and engaged in impunity.
According to him, it was these misdeeds that made Nigerians to reject the then ruling party at the 2015 polls.
Secondus, however, said though the PDP was guilty of imposition of candidates, and taking Nigerians for granted, nepotism and telling lies were not part of its sins, unlike the incumbent All Progressives Congress’ government.
The PDP helmsman said, “In the past, there were impunity and imposition of candidates. These were wrong things that we did. We took voters and Nigerians for granted.
“We are not a spirit and this is why we have to be humble to apologise for imposition, impunity and other wrongdoings. But while we were in government, there was no nepotism, but today nepotism has taken over the polity.
“We have to stand before the people and apologise. We made mistakes. Unlike the All Progressives Congress that will lie and use another lie to cover it, we will apologise for our past mistakes. We are human beings that are bound to make mistakes. How long are we going to lie to our children?
“Since it is said that charity begins at home, I am the very first to admit that our party, the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria, made many mistakes. Consequently, we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians occasioning our loss at the polls in 2015.
“Let me seize this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all part of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity. We are indeed very sorry.”
Secondus pledged that the PDP under his watch would do away with imposition of candidates, stressing that nobody would be allowed to influence the party’s primaries that would lead to the emergence of presidential and other candidates for the 2019 general elections.
He said, “Under our watch, there will be no imposition of candidates and no impunity. My colleagues and I at the National Working Committee have vowed to uphold the rule of law as enshrined in our party’s constitution.
“Power has been devolved to the zonal, state and ward levels. The PDP National Headquarters at Wadata House (party headquarters) will only coordinate affairs. There are no votes to be solicited or won at Wadata House. We are committed to the rule of law and assure you that not only will your votes count in our primaries across the land, your voice will also be heard.”
The PDP chairman said the party would stand by the truth, adding that the wrongs of 2015 would not be allowed again, as the Independent National Electoral Commission would not be able to rig elections.
Secondus lamented that “our currency has been recklessly devalued from N199 in 2015 to nearly N500 a US dollar before it came down to about N365 only, due to an increase in oil prices and not any significant thing done by this government. Fuel price was increased from N97 to N145, yet the nation experiences unabated scarcity with its attendant long queues at the filling stations and suffering by the Nigerian citizens.”
He also lamented what he described as the borrowing spree of the APC administration.
“From friends and members of this government, we learnt that while in power for 16 years, the PDP government was able to borrow N6tn and had some projects inaugurated for it, in just less than three years; the APC regime has borrowed N11tn and has not inaugurated a single project,” he said.
While asking questions, former governors of Katsina and Anambra states, Ibrahim Shema and Peter Obi respectively, told the leaders of the party to do something different from what the APC was doing, adding that Nigerians want to know what the party would be bringing on board in 2019.
A former Deputy National Chairman of the party, who was also a national chairmanship aspirant at its December 9 national convection, Chief Bode George, in his remarks, congratulated members of the National Working Committee for the new agenda, restating his loyalty as a party member.
“What I heard today rekindles my absolute loyalty. It was as if we took an overdose tablet. The world is watching us. You have talked the talk, let the people go and walk the talk,” George said.