FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters across the country that losing the 2015 presidential election was a temporary setback, saying that the party will bounce back to power soon.
Speaking while receiving the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the party led by Prof Jerry Gana, at his Abuja residence, he said the former ruling party must however work hard to rebound.
He noted that despite the election loss, PDP was still the largest party in the country.
Jonathan stated: “Yes, we lost the presidential election, but that doesn’t diminish us.
Every other party still knows that PDP is a leading party.
“Losing the presidency is something temporary.
We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our acts together.
“I am happy that you people are working towards that.”
The former president stressed the need for strong national institutions to enable the country to grow.
According to him, “There is no way a nation will grow with weak institutions, because everything about politics is about the people, not about the individuals.
“As long you are interested in the people, you are interested in the growth of the society and the development of the nation.
“The only thing that will make this possible is that the institutions must be strong.
Noting the present logjam over the implementation of United State’s President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Jonathan said the court would not have been able to order a stay of execution of the order if the American Judiciary was weak.
He said: “You see as powerful as America, look at President Donald Trump’s decision and the court said `no you can’t do this’ and of course, they have to shut down the decision to move forward.
“That is the strength of an institution. That is the only way individuals could be regulated so that you can grow.”
In line with the committee’s recommendation, Jonathan said direct primary was the best way of selecting candidates for elections especially under presidential system of government.
But he expressed worries over the management of such primary because of the size of the party, which meant that primaries must take place in all the wards in the country.
He admonished: “The best way to stop imposition is to make sure that people don’t control the delegates.
“How to select delegate is that at least 70 per cent of the delegates should not be under the control of anybody.”
He also advised that where it was not possible to conduct direct primaries, the PDP should increase the number of statutory delegates made up of members who have held political offices.
Same he said for its national chairman, state chairmen, senators, among others
He added: “All this group of people if they are still in the party should be automatic delegates.
“These are people that are known by everybody and nobody can go and manipulate them or their names.
“By the time we have a reasonable number of statutory delegates who are more than 75 per cent of total delegates that will vote, then, it will be difficult for somebody to go and manipulate the list.”
The former president praised the committee over the report made available to him, commending the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi for his vision to set up the committee, adding: “This is the only way to strengthen political parties.
It is a clear sign that PDP will win in 2019.”
Earlier, Gana explained that after submitting the report to the party last week, the committee was directed to make a copy available to the former president.