GOODLUCK JONATHAN,
GOODLUCK JONATHAN,

Address Presented by Goodluck Jonathan at the Non-elective Convention of PDP

By Goodluck Jonathan

Protocol

It is my honour and privilege to address you on this auspicious
occasion of the non elective convention of our great party, the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

2.  Let me start by paying tributes to the founding fathers of our
great party and all others who had laboured so hard over these past
months to restore peace and tranquility in our party. The PDP like
every successful human organization has gone through a momentous time
in the last one and half years.

3.  As a party that heralded Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999,
the PDP had become so accustomed to success in its 16 years in power
that the first time our fortunes changed at the polls, it was obvious
that the party would suffer the aftershocks of the loss. It was in
deed a most trying period for us as a political party.

4.  However, it is not an experience that is peculiar to us. This is
because all over the world, any party that loses election at the
centre as we did, will first of all, struggle to hold together, before
regaining its composure to effectively present the strong voice of the
opposition, and resume the contestation to return to office.

5.  But we thank God that the worst is over for our party. It is to
His grace that we were able to emerge from this unsavoury experience,
from which some political parties in other emerging democracies hardly
recover, to become even stronger, within a short period of time.

6.  The PDP is in deed back to reclaim its prime position as the
party to lead Nigeria to greatness. As a human institution we cannot
claim perfection, but obviously as a political party, our
accomplishments as at 2015, far outweigh our shortfalls.

7.  Our giant developmental strides are there for all Nigerians to
see. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that PDP has indeed proved
to be a party of vision and accomplishments.

8.  As I said when I addressed our members in April during the
stakeholders’ forum which I convened; the 2011, 2015 general elections
and other polls conducted by our administration were accepted globally
to have met the international standards for free, fair and transparent
elections. There is no gainsaying the fact that our disposition in
freely handing over power to the opposition, after the 2015 polls,
helped to deepen our democracy, and project our country as one of the
world’s stable democracies.

9.  This wouldn’t have been possible if our Government did not reform
the electoral and political process, by giving the independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) the autonomy it requires, to
enable it to conduct free and fair elections.

10.  On the economic front, we provided focused leadership, through
institutional and sectoral reforms which impacted positively on the
fundamentals for growth, especially in the last four years of our time
in power. The effect was that we tamed inflation at a single digit,
maintained price stability, grew the economy to become the largest in
Africa with a GDP of over half a trillion US dollars, and the number
one foreign direct investment destination on the continent.

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11.I learnt that some people said that if PDP had remained in power
beyond 2015, the economy would have performed worse. This couldn’t
have been the case, because we had a sound economic team in place,
managing the economy.  Let us not forget that the great floods of 2012
was a major calamity that damaged homes and farmlands on the plains of
River Niger and Benue. But despite the devastating effect of this
natural disaster, there was no food shortages or arbitrary increase in
prices, because of what we were able to accomplish with our
Agriculture Transformation Agenda, which considerably boosted food
production.

12.  If we say that we rekindled hope in our people and regained
international goodwill, it is because we pursued a number of policies
and programmes that were not only richly rewarding for our people, but
were also being copied by many countries across the globe, a few of
which I will mention here.

13.  We can all recall that our agricultural transformation agenda
rapidly transformed key agricultural value chains, boosted local
production, and created a new generation of young commercial farmers
and agriculture entrepreneurs we proudly identified as Nagropreneurs.
One very remarkable achievements of the reform we introduced was that
it ended decades of fertiliser sector corruption through electronic
wallet system. Since then, its success has continued to resonate
outside our shores. The programme is not only being scaled up by the
African Development Bank, but is already being replicated in close to
20 African countries.

14.  In fact, three days ago, my attention was drawn to The Guardian
newspaper publication about a contract that has just been awarded to a
Nigerian IT solutions firm, Cellulant, to export the e-wallet system
which we conceived, to Afghanistan. This is in deed, a good
development for our country.

15.  I understand that the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and
Livestock in Afghanistan, which contracted them in their bid to
establish a market-based input distribution technology, might have
been inspired by our own experience, in successfully deploying the
e-wallet technology to increase food production.

16.  In the same vein, Our Youth Enterprises with Innovation (YouWin)
designed to turn thousands of youths into entrepreneurs and employers
of labour, has been endorsed by the World Bank for replication in
other developing countries.

17. The ECOWAS Commission has since expressed interest in partnering
with Nigeria with a view to establishing an automotive policy for the
sub-region, in line with our administration’s auto industry
development policy, which led to the establishment of many vehicle
assembly plants, including indigenous companies.

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18.  Our approach to fighting corruption may not have plugged all the
leaks in the system; in fact, no nation has ever been successful in
eradicating the cankerworm of corruption.

19.  But we went about it in a sustainable and measurable manner, by,
among other measures, creating institutional tools like bank
verification number (BVN), the treasury single account (TSA) designed
to block leakages, as well as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel
Information (IPPIS), which eliminated tens of thousands of ghost
workers, during our time.

20.  I have just pointed out these few programmes, out of our other
numerous great achievements in such sectors as roads infrastructure,
rail services, communications, public financial management and social
services, for you to know that our records, as members of Nigeria’s
biggest party, still speak for us and we should be proud of them.

21.  We should always celebrate the fact that the PDP introduced key
policies that improved governance, enhanced welfare, boosted and
stabilized the economy of our great country, and above all, gave our
people hope.

22.  In closing, I wish to remind all of us that as politicians, we
are bound to have differences. It is important we manage our
differences responsibly, with an eye on the divine role of the PDP to
lead Nigeria to greatness. Let us rededicate ourselves to playing by
the rules.

23.  Let us all ensure that the PDP is renewed in vigour to deliver on
its divine responsibility to Nigerians. Let us forget the grievances
of the past, and look to the future with confidence and optimism.

24.  While I congratulate all delegates to this convention, I urge you
to go back to your respective constituencies to promote the ideals of
our great party. Let it be known that our party has been born anew,
committed to the best ideals of democracy.

25.  Let it be known, in all nooks and crannies of our country, that
the PDP is back to claim its rightful place in the affairs of the
nation. As we have always done, we are ready to return Nigeria to the
path of unity, peace and prosperity.

26.  I congratulate the Caretaker Committee, our relentless Governors,
the Board of Trustees, National Assembly caucuses, former Governors,
the ex Ministers’ Forum, our teeming youths and women for your
steadfastness and dogged contributions to the sustenance of this great
party.

27.  My appreciation also goes to all PDP members and supporters, both
at home and in the Diaspora.

28.  I thank the Convention Planning Committee for putting this August
event together.  I also congratulate all delegates for the successful
trip to the convention.

29.  Finally, I wish you all successful deliberations at this convention.

May God return you all back home safely.

God bless the People’s Democratic Party!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

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