National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday condemned members of the party who had defected to the ruling all Progressives congress (APC) as lily-livered politicians. He said those who defected were scared of competition.
Speaking at a press briefing to mark the party’s 17th anniversary in Abuja, Metuh however said that despite the odds, the PDP had been able to provide a level playing ground while accommodating various representations of Nigeria’s geopolitical spread.. According to him, PDP nurtured democracy in the last 16 years and strengthened the political space through creating enabling environment for various entrepreneurial spirits to blossom.
Metuh describe those who dumped the party as: “The people that cannot handle competition and some members felt that they were not well protected when they sought assistance, others left because we lost election, others for selfish reason while some others left when they felt they were honestly not accommodated in the party”.
He noted that for the first time after over 35 years of military rule in Nigeria, a political party was able to create an enabling environment where public fund permeated the economy for entrepreneurs bloom.
Metuh said the PDP attracted Nigerians in the Diaspora to return home with deep belief in the political system even as it promoted the rule of law and ensured the growth of democratic ethos. Metuh said “anti-corruption was part of our achievements and led to the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)”.
He said the PDP, which championed the anti-graft campaign in the country, followed it with due respect for fundamental human rights of the people without propaganda that de-market Nigeria by celebrating corruption.
The PDP, he maintained, did internal cleansing by investigating its members and did so by probing and without propaganda and undue celebration of fight against corruption. “When the PDP took office in 1999, it quickly formed government and calmly, but vigorously applied itself to service, initiating reforms and facing the challenges inherited from past military regimes, without resorting to blames, blackmail and propaganda. “At the time PDP came to power, Nigeria’s image internationally was in a deplorable state, with very poor human rights records.
The onus of restoring it from its pariah status then rested squarely on the PDP-led government, which it successfully executed, returning the nation to its pride of place in the comity of nations. “The PDP-led government under President Olusegun Obasanjo went further to work assiduously to settle foreign debts accumulated by previous administrations and extricated the nation’s economy from burdens of the London and Paris Clubs debt overhang.
“Furthermore, in line with the determination to establish a moral and ethical society guided by such core values as honesty, integrity and justice, as contained in its manifesto, the PDP administration set up the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, otherwise known as Due Process Unit, which ensured transparency in government procurements and spending.
“The PDP government, in the same vein, immediately established the two major anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), with strict establishing and operation laws to ensure effectiveness and immunity from executive interferences.
Down the years, SERVICOM desks were opened in ministries and agencies to further ensure ethical standards in government businesses. “As a result of these deliberate policies, human right and business friendly environment were created and it saw to the massive return of Nigerians in the Diaspora and the influx of direct foreign investments into the country.
“Also, in keeping with the vision of our founding fathers to build a qualitative democratic society, successive PDP administrations for 16 years nurtured and sustained national unity and cohesion through strict application of the principles of federal character and social justice, for equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities.
“We initiated series of amendments to the constitution to make it more responsive to the wishes and aspirations of the people; reformed the electoral system to allow for greater political participation, granted operational independence to INEC, enacted the Freedom of Information law, while upholding the sanctity of the rule of law in all sectors of the polity.
“To reposition the economy for greater productivity, successive PDP administrations applied an economic policy, which enhanced a dynamic economy, in which market forces are combined with the forces of partnership, solidarity and cooperation to boost private sector participation and emergence of an empowered middle class system in the country.
“As you are aware, the hallmark of the PDP administration was anchored on the policy of transfer of wealth from the public sector to hardworking and enterprising Nigerians. This resulted in the rapid expansion of the nation’s economic frontiers with an unprecedented growth in small and medium scale enterprises, which helped in providing employment for millions of our citizens across the country.
“It is incontrovertible that within the 16 years of successive PDP administrations, more businesses opened in the country in all sectors of the economy; in telecommunication (with one of the world fastest GSM and internet penetrations), transport, aviation, hospitality, education, agriculture, the media, automobile, real estate, oil and gas, food processing, among others, than in any other period in the nation’s history.
“In the same vein, hitherto weak banking sector was repositioned and strengthened, thereby providing support for businesses and restoring investors’ confidence in our system.
By 2015, the PDP has grown our nation’s economy to the largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world. “Under the PDP administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, our nation witnessed the successful unbundling of the power sector with massive investments, resulting in the construction and rehabilitation of various power projects.
-Patrick Osadebamwen, Abuja