The National Chairman-Elect, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, has said that for the party to reclaim power, it must demonstrate to Nigerians that it could run a better government.
Ayu stated this at a two-day PDP National Retreat 2021 with the theme: “It’s time to rescue Nigeria” held on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that Nigerians would not vote for the party simply because it had done it before, but must demonstrate that it could do it better than the ruling All Progressives Party, (APC).
He said that no other party in Nigeria was better equipped and placed to rescue and rebuild the country than the PDP, adding that the party did it before.
He recalled how PDP took over power from military rule in Nigeria and within short years under former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration reversed the collapsed economy.
Ayu said that the administration also stabilised the exchange and interest rates, made strides in the provision of infrastructure, secured relief from foreign creditors and restored faith in Nigeria both by its citizens and foreign investors.
“Many of our citizens in the diaspora returned and set up businesses here or contributed in other ways.
“Foreign investors trooped in. Abuja and other cities transformed from sites of abandoned projects to thriving construction sites and livable cities.
“Do we remember what our telephone system was like before the PDP government gave us GSM,?” Ayu said.
He said that while PDP could do that again, it had to do the first things first.
“Nigerians are not going to vote for us just because we had done well before. People do not vote for the past but for the present and the future.
“We have to demonstrate that we can do better than the current APC government. But we must start with putting our own house in order.
“We are a big tent, indeed a big umbrella. Yes, within the party we have different tendencies, worldviews and experiences. But our overriding interest should be Nigeria.
“To bring it back from the brink. To make it better. To present Nigeria to the world again as a country of serious, competent and committed people. When we rebuild it we will all benefit,” Ayu said.
He said that the party had to rebuild Nigeria to provide education for all its citizens, secures its borders and protects its law-abiding citizens wherever they may live, whatever their occupation and whatever their language, religion or ethnicity.
“We have to rebuild a Nigeria with roads, bridges and railways that crisscross and connect different parts of this country to facilitate and promote the movement of people and goods to grow our economy.
“We have to rebuild a Nigeria that pays decent wages to workers so that we actually have a real economy driven by higher productivity and consumer spending.
“ We have to rebuild Nigeria to become a fertile ground for our young people and other entrepreneurs to unleash their creativity and innovativeness consumer spending.
“Let us rebuild Nigeria as a country that does not treat any of its peoples as second-class citizens,” he said.
The chairman-elect added that “We have to enthrone internal democracy in our party and get accustomed to it.
“Let us collectively rebuild PDP as a peoples’ democratic party, as our name says, a party that truly belongs to the grassroots. Let us put behind us the quarrels of yesteryears.”
He urged the party leaders and members to direct their energies towards reclaiming power from the APC and implementing a programme of rebirth, growth and opportunity for the country.
He noted that the retreat was to re-appraise and re-affirm PDP’s vision as a party and its mission in Nigeria political space as well as to energise the party leaders and rededicate them.
He added that the retreat was also to recommit the party leaders to the sacrifices they need to make to rescue and rebuild the country.
“And talking about sacrifices, I acknowledge that, as PDP members, you have been making enormous sacrifices, especially those of you who have held firm to our principles in the last six years plus.
“ But think about the bigger sacrifices made by our founders who, at great risk, challenged the military leadership and played a critical role in winning back our civilian government.
“Without their sacrifices, we would not even have a platform and a voice today, talk less of gathering here for this stock-taking,” he said.
Ayu added that the retreat was the first in its series of round table dialogues and conferences to help sharpen their positions on different policy issues.
He said, “It is my hope that this will set for us a clear roadmap and clarify our thinking on how best to help tackle the problems of our people and country.”