We’re committed to Jonathan’s 2015 victory – PDP govs

State governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party rose from a meeting in the early hours of Tuesday, pledging their commitment to the electoral success of President Goodluck Jonathan when he finally decides to contest the 2015 presidential election.

Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting the governors had with the President, Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, and members of the National Working Committee of the party.

The meeting, which was held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, came immediately after a meeting the President had with members of the PDP Caucus in the House of Representatives ended in the early hours of Tuesday.

The PDP lawmakers had, during the first meeting, passed a vote-of-confidence on Jonathan, asking him to contest the 2015 election.

When asked whether the governors also endorsed Jonathan at the meeting, Akpabio said although he would not pre-empt the action of the PDP governors, he could attest to their loyalty to the President.

“Members of the PDP Governors’ Forum were present when the National Assembly (House of Representatives) caucus did what they did. I do not want to pre-empt the action of PDP governors, but I can attest to their loyalty and their commitment to the success of Mr. President, come 2015,” the Akwa Ibom State Governor said.

When the governor was asked what the response of the President was to his endorsement by the lawmakers, the governor said although Jonathan did not give any answer, he was obviously elated.

He attributed the President’s silence to the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission was yet to release its timetable for the election.

“Mr. President didn’t give anybody any answer. He did not say he would contest or he would not contest. Rather, he thanked them for the interest and confidence reposed in him. But I think from his body language, he is very mindful of the law and the need to wait for guidelines from INEC. That was what I noticed,” he added.

Akpabio said the President, governors and the party’s NWC did an appraisal of the meeting they had with the lawmakers and resolved that such meetings should be held more regularly.

He said the meeting also reviewed the party’s preparation for the 2015 election because they will be conducting primaries in the next few months.

He said the party had resolved to deepen internal democracy ahead of the elections.

Akpabio said, “We moved into a further meeting with Mr. President and all the PDP governors and members of the NWC, led by the National Chairman of the party, based on the fact that in the next few months we shall be going into major primaries.

“We want to deepen internal democracy and we want to strategise on how best we can win the primaries, and by implication, also ensure that we bring out the best candidates.

Taking a cue from what had happened in Ekiti, if we are able to carry out proper internal democracy and bring out the most popular candidates, then the main election will be less rancorous. Of course, the party will sail through with a view to getting up two-thirds of the states of the federation, as it was when we started in 1999.

“When I came in, there was a period that the PDP had up to 29 governors. In 2011, we still had up to 25 governors, and then of course, some governors, tried to defect to other political parties, which they are at liberty to do, because this is democracy.

“But we are gaining more. Now we have, at least, 19 governors with the coming of Ekiti State. We also have three deputy governors, who are still with us. That of Sokoto, Adamawa and also Nasarrwa, that brings our number to about 22.

“So, if we shoot to 28, it is not too bad in the 2015 elections. It was an appraisal, and for us to use that opportunity as PDP governors to congratulate the party leader on the very successful election that was held in Ekiti State, which was very free and fair and applauded by the international community and all Nigerians to a point, where even the candidate of the opposition announced that indeed this was a victory well deserved.”

He said with the entrenchment of democracy by the President, as shown in the conduct of Edo, Ondo and Ekiti elections, the same feat would be achieved in Osun election.
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