Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, February 13, said the Peoples Democratic Party is still the strongest in the country.
Jonathan stated this in Abuja while receiving a report from the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the PDP headed by Professor Jerry Gana.
He said the party also remains the biggest despite the loss it suffered in the 2015 election.
Jonathan expressed optimism that the PDP would regain power in 2019.
“Losing the presidency is something temporary. We should be able to get that position back as long as we are able to get our acts together, I am happy that you people are working towards that.”
On the direct primary, especially under presidential system of government recommended by the committee for picking its candidates for the future elections, Jonathan stated that this is the ultimate and best way of selecting candidates for elections.
“The best way to stop imposition is to make sure that people don’t control the delegates. How to select delegate is that at least 70 per cent of the delegates should not be under the control of anybody.”
Jonathan added that if the party is unable to do direct primaries, it should ensure that it increases the number of statutory delegates with people who have held elected or party offices at different levels.
He said that the party could come up with criteria where its National Chairman, State Chairmen, senators and others in offices that controlled the government are made statutory delegates.
He said: “All these groups of people if they are still in the party should be automatic delegates. These are people that are known by everybody and nobody can go and manipulate them or their names.
“By the time we have a reasonable number of statutory delegates who are more than 75 per cent of total delegates that will vote, then, it will be difficult for somebody to go and manipulate the list.”
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He commended the committee for the report and hailed Ahmed Makarfi and the National Caretaker Committee for the vision in setting up the committee.
“This is the only way to strengthen political parties. It is a clear sign that PDP will win in 2019,” he said.
Jonathon also noted that it is imperative for Nigeria to build strong institutions, adding that this is key for the development of the country.
“There is no way a nation will grow with weak institutions, because everything about politics is about the people, not about the individuals.
“As long you are interested in the people, you are interested in the growth of the society and the development of the nation.
“The only thing that will make this possible is that the institutions must be strong.
“You see as powerful as America, look at President Donald Trump’s decision and the court said ‘no you can’t do this’ and of course, they have to shut down the decision to move forward.
“That is the strength of an institution. That is the only way individuals could be regulated so that you can grow,” Jonathan said.