… as Diri warns against factions in party
ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the quest by some presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to form a united force is for the party to take over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
He said the action informed their decision to advocate a consensus candidate among the aspirants.
The presidential aspirant spoke on Monday while briefing journalists after a closed-door meeting alongsidehis co-aspirants-Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Senator Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State, with Governor Douye Diri at Government House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Saraki stressed that as an opposition party, the PDP could not wrest power from the APC if it is not united.
He said the interest of Nigeria superseded their individual ambitions and that was why they embarked on the mission to consult the Bayelsa governor and other critical stakeholders on how to reach a consensus on the flagbearer of the party in next year’s presidential election.
He described the PDP as the only hope to rebuild and reposition the country.
He noted that Nigeria was in bad shape and needed to be saved from the bad governance of the APC.
He said despite the propaganda by the ruling party, Nigerians were going through difficult times under the APC and that the only solution is for the PDP to retake power at the centre.
Saraki stated: “We are here to intimate the governor on our efforts to have a consensus candidate. As you all know, three of us have indicated interest to run on the platform of the PDP.
We have been going around talking to the leaders of our party.
“The governor of Bayelsa is not only a leader but a key stakeholder who has a role to play in the 2023 election.
“The country, despite the propaganda of the APC, is in a very bad shape. It is only the PDP that can rebuild it and give it the direction that it needs. To do that, we talk about the country not being united. You can not lead the country when you are not united.
“We all have individual ambitions but what we have come to accept and believe in is that the interest of Nigeria is far bigger than individual interests. That is why in the last three weeks we have been moving round the country, letting our leaders know that a consensus approach should be used to pick any of us.
“Our appeal to Nigerians is that we feel your pains, the hardship and insecurity. That is why our ambition is to return this country to PDP and make your lives better.
“We have come to seek your support as we approach 2023. We have spoken very well and feel encouraged by the governor’s words. Let us start now in building those blocks that will ensure that PDP will make Nigeria a better place.”
He thanked Governor Diri for the warm reception and for his words of encouragement.
In his remarks, Governor Diri urged the PDP to forge a united front if the party wants to win the forthcoming election.
Diri insisted that the party must not be factionalised as a result of individual ambitions but rather come together to pursue the common purpose of winning the 2023 presidential election.
Diri, who promised to work for the success of the party at the polls, commended the aspirants for putting their individual interests aside for the good of the party.
He stated: “There is no other way than unity of purpose of the PDP. We must realise that we are an opposition party. We are not a party in power and cannot afford to be factionalised and fractionalised due to individual ambition.
“Thank God for implanting this in the minds of these senior citizens of our great party.
“I think this is the first time in Nigeria that presidential aspirants are coming together to talk about the unity of the party and forge a way forward.
“One thing that I will assure you is that the state chapter here is prepared to work assiduously for the unity of our party, to take over the reins of governance and give to Nigerians what we were giving them before the destruction of the country by the party in power.”