The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has named the reasons why former president Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy, Atiku Abubakar; Senator Barnabas Gemade, Professor Iyorchia Ayu, Audu Ogbe, Rotimi Amaechi left the party.
The party stated apart from Obasanjo and Atiku, who led the country from the start of the Fourth Republic, the rest had very senior positions, comprising chairmen and members of its National Working Committee (NWC) and Board of Trustees (BoT).
The PDP said the top members became uncomfortable because it grow on offering a level playing ground and accommodating different shades of Nigeria’s national spread.
Olisa Metuh, party’s spokesman, speaking at the conference to mark the 17th Anniversary of the institution that once prided itself as the largest party in Africa, said: “Majority of the top party members who defected from our party are those who cannot handle competition while some members felt that they were not well-protected when they sought assistance, others left because we lost election, others for selfish reason, while some others left when they felt they were honestly not properly accommodated in the party.”
Metuh added that the party had nurtured democracy in the last 16 years and reinforced the political space through creating enabling environment for different entrepreneurial spirits to bloom.
He said that it was incorrect for anyone to associate the party with corruption, a tag the incumbent administrtion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is trying to represent about the PDP, emphasizing that for the first time after over 35 years of military rule in Nigeria, the emergence of the opposition party in the political scene created an enabling environment where public fund oiled the economy for entrepreneurs to bloom.
Metuh claimed that the PDP did internal cleaning by probing its members with due respect to main rights of the people without propaganda and undue celebration of fights against corruption.
Read his speech in part: “When the PDP took office in 1999, it quickly formed government and calmly, but vigorously applied itself to service, initiating reforms, and facing the challenges inherited from past military regimes, without resorting to blames, blackmail and propaganda.
“At the time PDP came to power, Nigeria’s image internationally was in a deplorable state, with very poor human rights records. The onus of restoring it from its pariah status then rested squarely on the PDP-led government, which it successfully executed, returning the nation to its pride of place in the comity of nations.
“The PDP-led government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo went further to work assiduously to settle foreign debts accumulated by previous administrations and extricated the nation’s economy from burdens of the London and Paris Clubs debt overhang.
“Furthermore, in line with the determination to establish a moral and ethical society guided by such core values as honesty, integrity and justice, as contained in its manifesto, the PDP administration set up the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, otherwise known as Due Process Unit, which ensured transparency in government procurements and spending.
“As a result of these deliberate policies, human rights and business friendly environment were created and it saw to the massive return of Nigerians in the Diaspora and the influx of direct foreign investments into the country.
“Also, in keeping with the vision of our founding fathers to build a qualitative democratic society, successive PDP administrations for 16 years nurtured and sustained national unity and cohesion through strict application of the principles of federal character and social justice, for equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities,” Metuh said.
He also said that the party initiated series of amendments to the constitution to make it more responsive to the wishes and aspirations of the people; reformed the electoral system to allow for greater political participation, granted operational independence to INEC and enacted the Freedom of Information Law, while upholding the sanctity of the rule of law in all sectors of the polity.
“To reposition the economy for greater productivity, successive PDP administrations applied an economic policy, which enhanced a dynamic economy, in which market forces are combined with the forces of partnership, solidarity and cooperation to boost private sector participation and emergence of an empowered middle class system in the country.
“As you are aware, the hallmark of the PDP administration was anchored on the policy of transfer of wealth from the public sector to hardworking and enterprising Nigerians. This resulted in the rapid expansion of the nation’s economic frontiers with an unprecedented growth in small and medium scale enterprises, which helped in providing employment for millions of our citizens across the country.
“It is incontrovertible that within the 16 years of successive PDP administrations, more businesses opened in the country in all sectors of the economy; in telecommunication (with one the world fastest GSM and Internet penetrations), transport, aviation, hospitality, education, agriculture, the media, automobile, real estate, oil and gas, food processing, among others, than in any other period in the nation’s history.
“In the same vein, hitherto weak banking sector was repositioned and strengthened, thereby providing support for businesses and restoring investors’ confidence in our system. By 2015, the PDP has grown our nation’s economy to the largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world.
“Under the PDP administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, our nation witnessed the successful unbundling of the power sector with massive investments, resulting in the construction and rehabilitation of various power projects.”
PDP is a political party founded in August 1998 by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the groups known as G-18 and G-34. The party, which has a broad political base, supports economic deregulation, human rights, and greater funding for health care and education, among other goals.