Why I conceded defeat, by Jonathan


President Goodluck Jonathan  yesterday urged Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members to ignore those who left because of the temporary setback of losing the presidential election, saying they will return with empty stomachs.

He admitted for the first time publicly that the phone call he made to President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, saying though he didn’t consult anybody, he did it on behalf of the party and for the peace and unity of the country.

The President stated this at the submission of the report of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Jonathan, who said PDP remains the most organized party, not owned by anybody, noted that it was time for the party to put the loss behind it and consolidate so as to bounce back with a big bang in 2019 and 2023 elections.

The President, who praised the team for a job well done, said he was happy that countries who were ready with ships in nearby countries to evacuate their citizens because of the perceived crisis that will follow the elections, didn’t do so.

Jonathan said, “the key thing isn’t whether we lost or won, but that Nigeria as a nation, must move forward. Political parties can only thrive when there is peace and stability  in the country. If there is military intervention, all the parties will disappear.

“And for PDP, whatever happened now is like a slip, you don’t need to go to America to know how power goes from the Democrats to the Republicans. It is like once you serve eight years, you are ready to hand over to either the Republicans or the Democrats. So, theirs is almost an established setting. But our close door neighbour here, Ghana, the present ruling party lost some eight years back and of course, they came back and won the elections.

“So, the problem is not whether we lost the elections, that is history now, but how do we consolidate our party and move forward. If we are committed and if we work very hard, definitely, PDP will bounce back.

“PDP is still the dominant party. If you look at the result, the difference is just over two million votes and if you look at the areas where it is perceived that PDP scored so low, PDP couldn’t have got those scores, but the elections are over, the country first”. Jonathan said he was not the only one that sacrificed for the nation but, the party as well.

“It is not as if Jonathan alone made the sacrifice, it’s all of us. I made the pronouncement, but some of us are paying the prize. Some people pay more prize than I do, I know how some of you are already being persecuted and the kind of situation facing you. The key thing is that we must continue to unite,  as a party we must continue to work hard so that as we go into subsequent elections in 2019, 2023 and so on and so forth, PDP will continue to come up strong. Even in the interest of the nation, we need PDP.

“I still believe though we have lost the presidential election, some National Assembly elections, governorship elections especially in the North, PDP is still the dominant party. Let us not judge PDP by the results of the elections for the presidential poll.

“Our duty is to go back and identify areas of challenges ‎so that the party will come up strong and play the role as a very strong party. PDP is still the most organized party, it is still the party that is not owned by anybody, is still the party that whatever you are, you can get to any level with your competences and so on.

“So, I encourage members of our party to remain loyal to the party, not to be so disillusioned because we lost the presidential election and decide to go where they think they will fill their stomachs or something. Is not easy I have been here for five years plus, you hardly satisfy even 50 per cent of those who work for you.
“So, those people running and those already cross-carpeting, they will come back on an empty stomach because they (APC) will look after the primary members of their party, before they get to you, they know you are coming because you are hungry, before it will get to you, the food will be gone.
“So, let us be committed to the party, yes, we will have challenges at the beginning, but surely of we will get to where we want to be,” he said.
Praising the members of the committee for doing a good jobhe said: “I have to sincerely thank all of you who worked tirelessly for the elections, you worked very hard, you did your best despite that we didn’t win the elections, but the key thing is that Nigeria is peaceful.
“The countries that brought ships, everything around us waiting  to evacuate their citizens are happy because there was nobody to evacuate. The country was so tensed but everything has gone down now and I think that is the most important thing because the conviction is that you must have a country before you can run for an office.

“Nigeria is a very complex country and you must manage with care.
“Yes, I did not consult  anybody before I made that phone call, but I made that phone call  on behalf of all of you and on behalf of the PDP.

“So, let me thank you all for joining us to carry the cross, thank you for the various roles you played and I charge you to‎ be even more committed to the development of the party. Definitely, PDP will become more stronger and united”.

Director-General of the PPCO, Ahmadu Ali, commended the President for showing great, exemplary leadership and making the PDP proud despite losing to the rival (APC).

He said: “You made the world proud by conceding defeat even when you had several options. You proved to the world that you are committed to your credo that no one’s blood is worth your political ambition.

“By that singular act, you pulled Nigeria back from a seeming pre-determined precipice and you made us proud. While you assuredly lost in the ballots, you won the biggest victory in defeat by that historic phone call.”

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees,  (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, said ‎the opposition party that will prepare for the 2019 must be formed now.
He said, “We experienced betrayals and conspiracy, but ‎let us put all that behind us ‎and work hard to remain a strong and formidable party”.

The Political Adviser to the President, Prof. Rufai Alkali, admitted that some of them landed in hospital when they lost the elections, commending Jonathan ‎for restoring honour to the party with his magnanimity in defeat.

He said: “We all worked hard, we were devastated when we lost. We asked ourselves what have we done wrong? Didd we shy away from our responsibility and assignment?”