Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday described the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State as a party that lacks the political presence at the ward, local government and state levels to win the state governorship election slated for November 16.
Jonathan, who stated this during the PDP Elders’ Advisory Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, said that the large number of governorship aspirants on the platform of the party indicated the dominance of the party as the preferred platform for election.
He boasted that the PDP has all it takes to record a landslide victory in the forthcoming election.
He commended Governor Seriake Dickson, the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Moses Cleopas and all stakeholders including the 21 aspirants for working for the continued stability of the party.
According to him, it was important for the PDP to united in order not create room for opportunistic platforms to steal the party’s victory.
He said: “I need to plead with all the aspirants and all political leaders that there should be no mudslinging. We must free the space and eschew rancour because finally one person will become the candidate of the party and for that one person to win the election, all aspirants must work for that person.
“It is only our unity that can give us victory and if we are not united, they (APC) can get away with it. For example, it took the unity of the people of Rivers State, including women who were resolute against soldiers, to get the PDP victory in the state. If that had not happened, they (opposition) would have taken it.
“For us to secure this state for PDP we need maximum unity and that is why all the 21 aspirants are important to us; we must have that maximum unity and must not create any form of division or discrimination. At the end of the day, one person will emerge and all of us will work for whoever emerges as candidate of the party”.
Governor Dickson in his speech stressed the need for members of the party to forge a united front to maintain its dominance and control of power in the state starting with the local council elections billed for August 10.
He urged all members of the party, particularly the governorship aspirants to work hard for the victory of the chairmanship and councillorship candidates of the PDP in the Saturday’s election.
According to him, the large number of governorship aspirants only shows the democratic nature and style of leadership of the PDP.
He called on the national leadership of the party to complement the effort of the state in providing a level playing ground for all the aspirants.
He said that if he had taken a decision to stop aspirants from picking the forms, the reactions would have affected the peace and stability of the party.
“When people say that 21 aspirants are too many, I disagree. In 2006, we had close to 11 aspirants and for a party that is strong, has strength and attraction and connection, that is the dominant political platform; it is expected.
“It’s not completely out of order as a ruling party, with all that we have done and with the way we have decapitated, decimated the other party because they virtually don’t exist in this state.
“So it is normal for any serious-minded person who wants to serve our people to think of doing so on our dominant platform which we have led and all of us have built and made stronger even in the face of very serious opposition. So my leaders for me, there is nothing to lose sleep over”, he stated.
Earlier in their separate remarks, the state Chairman, Mr. Moses Cleopas and Chairman of the Elders Advisory Council of the state PDP, Air Vice Marshal Larry Koinyan (retd) stressed the need for greater unity and cohesion among members and particularly the aspirants to ensure successful conduct of free, fair and credible primaries.