The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday apologised to Nigerians and sought forgiveness for mistakes made while in power.
It said a rescue programme to take Nigeria out of the bondage of economic, social and political degradation had become necessary.
At a public discourse tagged “Nation Building: resetting the agenda” convened by the PDP in Abuja, its national chairman, Uche Secondus, apologised to Nigerians on behalf of his party, saying: “We are sorry. We have made several mistakes.”
Explaining what the party begged for, he said: “In the past, there were impunity and imposition, we are not spirits, we have to be humble to apologise for imposition, impunity and other wrongdoings.
While in government, there was no nepotism, but today, nepotism has been taken to the highest level by this government of APC.
“We have to stand before the people and apologise. We made mistakes. Unlike APC that will lie and use another lie to cover it, we will apologise for our past mistakes. We are humans that are bound to make mistakes. How long are we going to lie to our children?
“Since it is said that charity begins at home, I am the very first to admit that our party the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria made many mistakes. Consequently, we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians, leading to our loss at the polls in 2015.
“I use this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all part of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity.”
Secondus promised that under his leadership, there would not be imposition, nobody would be allowed to influence the primaries that would lead to the emergence of a presidential candidate for the party.
“My colleagues and I at the National Working Committee have vowed to uphold the rule of law as enshrined in our party constitution.
“Power has been devolved to the zonal, state and ward levels. PDP national headquarters at Wadata House will only co-ordinate affairs.
There are no votes to be solicited or won at Wadata House. We are committed to the rule of law and assure you that not only will your votes count in our primaries across the land, your voice will be heard.”
The PDP chairman said the party would stand by the truth, adding that whatever happened in 2015 would not be allowed again as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would not be able to rig elections.
Secondus said the time had come to initiate serious people-oriented policies.
“There are certain circumstances that make nation building top priority. It is often contemplated after a country has gone through a war, just gained independence or there is a total collapse of its economy.
“We are certainly not at war in the conventional sense of it. Neither have we just gained independence. Rather, we are almost 58 years as a nation but our dear nation, Nigeria, is in very dire straits. Our economy has been under immense pressure, especially in the last thirty-four months of governance by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Not even during the fratricidal civil war has this country been so divided along ethnic and religious fault lines. When a country is in such a precarious situation, nation building becomes absolutely inevitable.”
PDP said that it was based on an overwhelming demand that it activated an aggressive and urgent process of resetting the agenda for nation building in a multi-pronged initiative tagged “Rescue Nigeria.”
“PDP will serve as the rallying point for a new socio-political order. We will lead the charge by using our elected representatives and organs to boldly address critical national issues like restructuring, devolution of power, ‘not too young to run,’ gender equality, economic advancement, corruption, insecurity, unity, and good governance.”
Secondus alleged that the APC government had ruined the economy.
“Our currency has been recklessly devalued from N199 in 2015 to nearly N500 a dollar before it came down to about N365 only due to an increase in oil prices and not any significant thing done by this government.
Fuel prices rose from N97 to N145, yet the nation experiences unabated scarcity with its attendant long queues and suffering by the Nigerian citizens,” he said.
The PDP lamented the borrowing spree of the APC administration. “From friends and members of this government, we learnt that while in 16 years PDP government borrowed N6 trillion and had some projects commissioned for it, in less than three years, the APC regime has borrowed N11 trillion and has not commissioned a single project.”
Secondus disclosed that in a few days, PDP would come out with its economic blueprint
Former governors of Katsina and Anambra states, Ibrahim Shema and Peter Obi admonished leaders of the party to do something different from what the APC is doing, adding that Nigerians want to know what the party would bring on board in 2019.
A leader of the party, Chief Bode George, congratulated members of the national working committee for the new agenda.
“What I heard today rekindled my absolute loyalty. It was as if we took an overdose tablet. The world is watching us. You have talked the talk, let the people go and walk the talk,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has commended Secondus for apologising to Nigerians for the mistakes of the past government of PDP.
The CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said the PDP had demonstrated political maturity worthy of emulation by individuals or groups in the country.
In a statement, Ezugwu said the action exhibited by the PDP was significant for the nation’s democracy. “PDP not only initiated the party’s dialogue with the people tagged ‘Nation Building: Resetting the Agenda’, it was also humble enough to apologise to the people of Nigeria for the mistakes of the past.
“With the confession and pledge of its readiness to learn from its past mistakes arising from what the party failed to do, the PDP leader has rekindled hope in the ability of opposition political parties to provide alternative platforms to better the lives of the now impoverished Nigerians, who are suffering due to poor leadership.”
In a reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, said it was good that the PDP had realised its past mistakes and asked Nigerians for forgiveness.
“That was a good gesture and a sign of repentance, which Nigerians would be happy to hear. It was good that the PDP accepted the fact that it plunged the county into crisis and particularly where we found ourselves as a nation today.”
Abdullahi said the apology did not mean that the PDP could use that to ride easily back to power. “It is one thing to ask for forgiveness, but the onus is on Nigerians to decide to forgive.
The party must also realise it would have to spend some time in purgatory as it appears they are desperate to return to power,” the APC spokesman said.