WITH a few weeks to next year’s general election, President Goodluck Jonathan has warned aspirants who failed to realise their political ambitions under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to defect to other parties, in spite of the attractions.
This is coming as the ruling party has been boosted with a N21 billion war chest to prosecute the elections and oil its bureaucratic machinery.
The president spoke at the PDP fund raising dinner attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, which brought together captains of industry, politicians and many other prominent friends of the administration, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Saturday night.
Jonathan conceded that the party might not have been able to satisfactorily resolve issues arising from the primaries “but you must stay in the party in spite of attempts by other parties to poach you.”
He stressed the need for party members to stay together to resolve all the lapses, as he reiterated that plans were underway to reform the PDP primary election process to minimise sense of injustice in future elections.
The president also stressed the need to have strong political parties, which, he said, were needed in order to have a meaningful democracy, adding that having strong parties was more desirable than having strong personalities which could lead to dictatorship.
While assuring that the money realised at the dinner would be put to judicious use, the president similarly reassured that he would continue to promote enterprise and the unity of the country.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the fund raising committee of the PDP and member of its Board of Trustees (BoT), Professor Jerry Gana, warned the party not to underestimate the threat posed by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to the chances of the PDP.
The chief launcher on the occasion, Chief Tunde Ayeni, set the ball rolling by announcing a personal donation of N1 billion and another N2 billion from his friends and associates.
Gana also announced the pledge by his friends to contribute N5 billion to the fund, just as Hajia Bola Shagaya from Kwara State, representing the oil and gas industry, donated N5 billion on the sector’s behalf.
Other notable donors included the 21 PDP governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), N21.05 billion; the chairman of Deep Offshore, Didi Ndimou, representing the Transport and Aviation sector, donated N1 billion, the real estate sector, represented by Oluchi Okoye, donated N4 billion while the food and agricultural sector, represented by Chief Ominife Uzoegbu, donated N500 million.
Also, the construction sector donated N310 million, the National Automotive Council donated N450 million; Cizaly Ltd donated N250 million while the representatives of the power sector, led by Tunde Ayeni, donated N500 million.
Other donors included the National Association of Stevedores’ Companies, N25 million; former governor of Ebonyi State, Sam Egwu, N1 million; Halima Jubril, N5 million; and Ajuji Best Western Hotel, N1 million; among others including YouWIN beneficiaries and students.
Speaking before the commencement of the donations, Gana stressed the need for the PDP to mount an effective campaign in view of the threat posed by the opposition,.
He observed that the coming election would be very competitive because it would largely be a two-horse race, noting, therefore, that the PDP must not be complacent but campaign to Nigerians with the visible achievements of President Jonathan’s administration.
The former Information minister noted that having ruled the country for 16 years, the PDP had found itself faced with a serious challenge.
According to Gana, Jonathan had led a revolution in the critical sectors of the nation’s economy including railway, road infrastructure, aviation, agriculture among others. saying therefore that the President was a good candidate who he added the PDP was excited about.