Former President Goodluck Jonathan would be free to vie for the presidential ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus has said.
Similarly, other party chieftains who may be interested in the ticket will also be given the opportunity to contest for it when the time comes, the party chairman added.
Secondus chided President Muhammadu Buhari for snubbing an invitation by the House of Representatives to appear before it to explain steps being taken to address security challenges confronting the nation.
According to him, by disregarding the invitation of the House of Representatives, the President snubbed the entire Nigerian people that elected the lawmakers.
Secondus interpreted the President’s failure to honour the invitation to mean that he is afraid to tell Nigerians what he is doing to address insecurity in the land.
He said: “This back and forth from the President on a vital issue as security that is overwhelming our nation underscores our position as an opposition party that nobody is in charge and that this is a broken government.
“Disregarding the nation’s parliament is disregarding Nigerian people because they are representatives of the people. The truth, which is worrisome, is that the President either does not know what is happening or does not know what to do; otherwise, he should not be afraid to face the people.
“The hard fact facing all of us now is that this regime has woefully failed Nigerians in all ramifications. It’s a shame that a government that came to power brandishing its military credentials as a General with the propaganda to wipe away Boko Haram in 100 days is there five years plus presiding over the worst security situation in our history with no clear direction on what to do and even afraid to face the country’s parliament to explain what he is doing.”
The President had earlier agreed to address a joint session of the National Assembly on the state of insecurity but backed out at the last minute.
Secondus, who spoke with journalists at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, said the Buhari administration has failed the nation woefully.
“In my statement to the media last May in the assessment of the five years of APC administration, I said that APC is a road Nigeria should not have followed.
“Everything on the ground in our country today, from insecurity to the recessed economy etc., points to the fact that Nigeria entered the wrong bus in 2015 and they are paying for it because a wrong vehicle cannot take you to your correct destination”, he said.
Stating the state of preparedness of the PDP to reclaim power in the next general elections, the party chairman said the final decision on who gets the party’s presidential ticket in 2023 would be guided by the report of a committee set up by the leadership of the PDP and which work is still pending.
Secondus said: “I stand by my position that Gov. Bala (Mohammed) led committee is still working. They are coming out with a report on why we lost and by the time they finish, we will take decisions and the decision is not for the National Working Committee but for the entirety of our party.
“And I believe that whoever that is interested in 2023 (presidential ticket), may be including the former President, the chances are there because the PDP is a party of all.
“Everybody will have that opportunity but in clear terms, we have not taken any decision to give anybody ticket for now”.
The party chairman, however, described discussions on the 2023 elections as premature, saying that the state of the nation today is such that politics or anything concerning 2023, which is three years away, should take backstage.
“Nigeria is in a comatose state today where APC brought it, that should be our concern now,” he said.
On the recent defection of some prominent PDP chieftains, including a governor and a senator to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Secondus said the victory of the APC in that regard will be short-lived.
He knocked the ruling party for abandoning governance and management of the economy for poaching members from opposition parties, mainly the PDP.
The party chairman charged the APC to stop running up and down poaching opposition members and face the challenges facing the nation, particularly insecurity.
“Yes, they have been poaching from virtually all the parties. They have been running around but they have not been successful at all.
“I believe that what should bother them most should be governance, the security, the economy, all that have broken down. The issue is that they should stop running up and down and face the reason why the people gave them the mandate to govern.
“And if they do that, there will be no security issues; there will be no economic issues like hunger. I think that this is the most important thing,” Secondus said.
Stating that federal lawmakers that defected from the PDP and other parties to the APC committed an act of illegality, the party chair carpeted the leadership of the National Assembly for failing to apply the law against the defectors.
He said: “For the senators that have moved, we are convinced that it is illegal. The fault is from the leadership of the National Assembly.
“It was not supposed to be that way, but apparently, I don’t believe that the leadership of the National Assembly is looking at the books, at the constitution. If they do, they will not accept such a movement. This is again what the media should highlight.”