Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has called on leaders and stakeholders of the party to reflect on prevailing challenges and come up with strategies that will enable the PDP to take its dominant place once again.
Atiku gave the charge in Abuja on Thursday at a reception organized for returning and newly elected governors on the platform of the party.
“We have a number of challenges. We started as a dominant political party in 1999, but since then, we have been receding. It is time to take stock and find out why we are receding and how we can make sure that our position as the leading political party in the country can be regained.
“This is a very important challenge that requires a whole day seminar so that we can as a party regain our eminent position in the country,” he said.
The former vice president also urged party leaders and members alike to be hopeful of the favourable outcome in the presidential election petition.
“We all know that the PDP did not lose the last election. We should be determined and focus on retrieving our mandate that has been stolen,” Atiku said.
Earlier in his opening address, acting National Chairman of the party, Umar Damagum, said Nigerians are resolute in seeing justice done to the petition filed by the PDP at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
“The only solution for the common man is to have a just adjudication in the election petition,” he said, stressing that issues affecting the party were being addressed by the National Working Committee.
Also speaking, former Vice President and Chairman of the occasion, Namadi Sambo, called for togetherness, lamenting the Ill treatment being meted out to some PDP members, particularly in his home state of Kaduna.
“What is happening in some states today is very unfortunate. What is happening in Kaduna State today where people are being suspended from the party without due process, is worrisome.
“I want to seize this opportunity to publicly ask the acting National Chairman to look into what is happening in Kaduna State because all the ingredients for trouble and problem in the party are taking place,” he said.
Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, described the event as a moment of joy, “a moment for learning and support”, adding that “the mandate freely given to our party and candidate will be restored by the court”.
Speaking on the theme, “Good governance at the sub-national level: Issues, perspectives, expectations and outcomes”, the keynote speaker, Mudal Lawal, tasked the returning and governors-elect to put emphasis on performance management, fiscal performance indicators, fiscal resilience and devolution of powers.
He also urged the governors to prioritize appointing the right people into offices, stressing that with the right appointees, policies and programmes of government would run with ease.
“Appoint the right people. You must be resilient in your ability to meet operational costs with your Internally Generated Revenue. Equally important is a robust monitoring and evaluation system,” he said.
Lawal further enjoined the governors to be prudent in the management of resources, noting that debt to service ratio is becoming an issue of governance in public administration in the country over the past couple of years.
At the event were newly elected Governors of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, his Plateau and Zamfara States counterparts, Caleb Mutfwang and Dauda Lawal; Taraba State Governor-elect, Agbu Kefas as well as Peter Mbah of Enugu State.
The Rivers State Governor-elect, Simi Fubara was absent at the event.
Wike, Makinde, others shun event
Meanwhile, PDP G-5 boycotted the reception event organized for new and returning PDP Governors.
The event put together by the PDP Governors Forum was expected to bring together for the first time, Atiku and Governors Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Samuel Ortom, Okezie Ikpeazu and Seyi Makinde of Rivers, Enugu, Benue, Abia and Oyo States respectively.
The five governors allegedly worked against the PDP in the February 25 presidential election, a development that contributed in part to the defeat suffered by the PDP.
None of the five governors sent a representative to the well-attended event or word explaining their absence.