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Mr. President, most distingusihed National Executive Members of our great party, permit me to start by expressing my profound gratitute and deep appreciation to you all, for the confidence reposed in me. I am particularly grateful to Mr. President, Vice President, Board of Trustee Chairman, the State Governors and other top leaders of our party, who spent sleepless nights since our NEC meeting last Thursday to arrive at this pleasant conclusion of putting me forward as the National Chairman of the PDP. I am indeed humbled by their sacrifices and commitment to bringing back our party to its destined glory.
In the last few months, the PDP has occupied front pages of our newspapers with negative screaming headlines. Most political analysts predicted that the end of the giant has come. Over the years, the PDP has developed its home grown internal conflict resolution mechanism. So while false prophets were prophesying its collapse, insiders, knew that the crisis is a storm in a tea-cup. Today, we have proven to the whole world that we have an instant cure for what looked like a terminal disease. Indeed, we have demonstrated our political maturity and sagacity as the N0 1 party in Africa.
Let me at this juncture congratulate and comend our immediate past chairman, Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur for taking the path of honour. He voluntarily sacrificed the exalted office of Chairman in order to save the party. He demonstrated that the party is greater than his or any body’s ambition. He demonstrated an uncommon loyalty, sacrifice and commitment to the survival and success of the party. This spirit of sacrifice should be emulated by our party men and women at all levels of our party leadership.
There is no doubt that all has not been well with our party. However, the crisis that has rocked the party is a common phenomenon with large parties. Any party the size of PDP would definitely experience such challenges from time to time. This is so, because the PDP as the ruling party in Africa’s most populous nation offers its members the opporunity of realizing their lifetime political ambitions. Therefore, there is bound to be healthy and unhealthy political rivalry, each one trying to outwit the other. It is however the ability to resolve these crisis amicably, that makes the difference between boys and the men.
As I take over as Chairman of our great party, I want to assure you of my determined efforts and total commitment to restoring the lost glory of the PDP, with your total support. I have helplessly watched the dwindling fortunes of our party from 2003 to date. From controlling a record 28 states in 1999 down to 23 states currently. This situation is unacceptable and MUST CHANGE. The good people of Nigeria still love the PDP and will continue to love and vote the PDP as long as we meet their expectations and aspirations. Nigeria is PDP and PDP is Nigeria.
I therefore wish to invite all our party men and women as well as all well meaning Nigerians to make their inputs and contributions to my Reform programmes. I do not claim to have the monopoly of wisdom to turn the fortunes of the PDP around, but I believe that if we all resolve here and now, to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the PDP, the party will regain its lost glory in record time and remain the toast of the Nigerian people, once again.
In this connection, in the coming weeks and months, we will engage in sweeping reforms in the administration of the party to bring it in tandem with global best practices.
Party administration in Nigeria cannot continue to be run as it was in the 19th century. We must hurry up to be on the same page with advanced democracies, otherwise our elections will continue to be dicredited by the international community. The beginning of credible, free and fair elections starts with credible, free and fair party primaries. Free and fair primaries are the foundation of free and fair elections. The PDP as the leading party, must therefore, lead the way for other parties to follow. WE CANNOT AND WILL NOT CONDONE QUESTIONABLE PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
We will do everything possible to ensure the supremacy of the party under my chairmanship. In this connection, I will plead and appeal to the Executive Governors, who have tremendous roles to play to join hands with me in ensuring the actualization of the supremacy of the party. The supremacy of the party will guarantee internal party discipline, credibility and electoral victories. WE THEREFORE CANNOT COMPROMISE ON THESE.
In accepting my nomination as the National Chairman by the National Executive Committee of our great party, I wish to emphasize that all the laudable goals I have set to achieve will not be realized unless ALL HANDS ARE ON DECK.
Therefore, I call on all members of our great party at all levels to be on their MARKS, GET SET AND GO.
Thank you for the opportunity given to me.
God bless you all, God bless the PDP, God bless Nigeria.
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