We didn’t force people to support Jonathan – PDP

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party said on Wednesday that the party did not force Nigerians to support the second term presidential aspiration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The party was reacting to the claim by the Chairman of the party’s national conference, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, who said on Tuesday that it was wrong for the then ruling party to have fielded Jonathan as the presidential candidate of the party in 2015.

Dokpesi, who was speaking on the conference scheduled for Thursday in Abuja, said the fielding of Jonathan made the party to lose the last general election.

He begged Nigerians and members of the party over what he described as the inability of the PDP to meet the people’s yearnings in the past 16 years when the party was in power.

He had said, “We are aware that there were errors we made. We admit that we made mistakes and we have not met the expectation of Nigerians and we tendered unreserved apologies for these mistakes.

“You must have seen the Ike Ekweremadu report on why we are apologising. There was no internal democracy, there was impunity within the party and there was no level-playing ground for members of the party.

“Zoning principles of the party were abandoned and a gamut of all other issues, which will come out during the conference and for all these and the people who have been offended, for people whose toes were stepped upon, we also tender an unreserved apology. “

But in his reaction to Dokpesi’s statement, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, told journalists that Dokpesi was not speaking for the party.

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Metuh said, “That statement made by Dokpesi is his personal opinion and does not represent in any way an official position of the PDP.

“In the first place, Dokpesi is not a member of the national executive of the PDP and he can only speak in his personal capacity and his opinion remains personal and does not represent that of the party.

“The decision to field former President Jonathan in the 2015 presidential race was approved by the National Working Committee, the National Executive Council and the party’s national caucus.

“In addition, the constitution of the party allows a sitting president to exercise his personal right to run for a second term if he so desires.”

“This is not the time for buck- passing or blame game. We are repositioning our party. What we should do is to join hands to reposition the PDP based on the report of Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu committee to reclaim the party lost glory. This is what is expected of us all at this time.”

On whether the party now regrets its action, Metuh said, “How can you regret a decision taken where everyone was there, the NWC, NEC and the national caucus. What are we talking about?

“Everybody was conscious of the decision, nobody was coerced into supporting the position.”

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