By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration as being populated by liars and professional propagandists.
Jonathan stated this in Abuja while receiving one of the chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Tunde Adeniran.
Jonathan declared that contrary to claims by some members of the APC, PDP performed very well throughout the period it held office and handed over power to the APC.
Dismissing claims of the APC administration, he said, “It is not because I have served as president, from 1999 till date, but PDP has done very well. Sometimes people come to write off the 16 years of PDP.
“PDP has done very well from May 1999 to May 2015. Those who gave us all kinds of names deployed propaganda and lies at a professional level.”
He further lambasted some egg heads at the time for being culpable in trying to discredit his administration.
The former president added that his administration as far back as 2010 knew that the economy was challenged and needed to be addressed differently but that because the country was approaching an election year in 2011, they postponed their plans to address those issues till 2012 when they decided to adopt deregulation.
“It was clear that one of the issues in Nigeria was subsidy. And it was being abused. We setup forensic auditors. Immediately they were set up they promised me that they we were going to get up to N40billion. My eyes were opened that if we can get that kind of money our roads and other infrastructure will be addressed.”
He however added that he was so disappointed when the auditors could not get anything, adding, “they hired all sorts of people and at the end of the day they couldn’t achieve anything despite the high expectation.
“But we increased the pump price from N65 to N97. That time the crude oil price was going for almost 100. But when the price of crude oil dropped to about 70 dollars per barrel we reduced the pump price from the N97 to N87, and they attacked us, saying it was supposed to be lower.
“I don’t want to name the serving minister now, he then gave an illustration that if a bag of flour costs N100,000 and a loaf of bread costs N100, if the bag of flour costs lower, the price of bread was supposed to reduce.
“Now when the price of crude oil was going for over $70 per a barrel we brought down the pump price of fuel to N87, now the global crude oil is selling for $53…the pump price is N143. Those who attacked us do not say anything because they have seen it.”
He also added that, “A serving minister now, while he was a governor then, said that any serious government will fix power in six months and that we are not having steady power because those who were in government are incompetent. And that those who are in charge of federal government are neophytes. Now we have a senior government which has been in power for two years, where is (the light)?”
Jonathan said that at the appropriate time he would offer to engage the media extensively on issues pertaining to the country.
He however stressed “Let us just organize the party very well and select good materials that will lead us to victory in the next elections.
PDP government has done well and we will continue to defend that.
“What we need is a person that can give proper leadership for this country, a chairman that can lead us to elect good material for the presidency.
“That will bring the proper change and economic growth for this country.”
Speaking on the kind of leadership the party needs, he declared that the next chairman of PDP must be competent, reliable and courageous to lead the party to victory in 2019.
“This contest appears to be the toughest. Like everybody will say, we need a very competent, reliable and courageous chairman. As an opposition party, you have to be courageous. As an opposition party you must get bridge builders.
“The kind of chairman that will lead, the kind of chairman that you need is like a general that will lead the troop. Not the chairman that will seat down drinking champagne or wine.”
He added that despite the party’s opposition status “people have been coming to register in the party.”
He stressed that the party must do the right thing, stressing, “We must elect a chairman that will run the party democratically.
We need a courageous chairman that knows that imposition is destructive.
“We need a chairman who by God’s grace if we win election by 2019 and the president make certain mistake he will be courageous enough to correct him. We don’t want a chairman who will tell the president he scored A and immediately he leaves there he says another thing.
“We need a chairman that can lead us to victory. We need a chairman that can lead us to sustain that victory. The chairman of the party is actually the biggest. If we do what is right people will win the next elections.”
Jonathan however disclosed that with his long interaction with Professor Adeniran and testimonies of other party leaders, he possesses the requirement to lead the party at this critical time.
He however advised the party members and the aspirants not to allow the convention to cause another crisis in the party, saying that the contest should be seen as a family affair.
Adeniran in his remarks said the PDP needs to take back the governance of the country, stressing that Nigerians are waiting for the party.
“We should now rise up and take advantage of the opportunity God has given us to reposition our party.
I am not just interested in being chairman for the fun of it but to teach others and run it like it should be run”.
He added that his administration will give a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.
He stressed that the former president “Needs to send appropriate signals. We know what you have gone through for this party, don’t let it collapse.”
Speaking earlier, a member of the Board of Trustees of the party, Prof. Jerry Gana and the Director General of Tunde Adeniran Campaign Organization, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, added that Adeniran is the chairman the party needs at this time.
They described him as a loyal and consistent party man, noting that beyond his intellectual capacity is a strong character that can lead the party to victory in 2019.