The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed to the international community, especially the US, European Union, the Commonwealth and the African Union to sustain their interests in the democratic project in Nigeria through diplomatic pressures, political contacts and large, high-calibre observer missions.
The appeal came on the backdrop of recent attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and growing insecurity, which is threatening peaceful elections in the country in 2023.
The party made the appeal on Friday while commissioning Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI), the think-tank arm of the party, in Abuja.
The institute, which was established in 2000 by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, is an ideation center for the rigorous intellectual work of research, socio-economic analysis, policy development, training and capacity building of political actors, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and culture, in the country.
Speaking at the commissioning of the institute Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2023 general election, expressed happiness that the institute is coming back to life, even as he commended Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo State, for funding reactivation of the institute.
“I commend his patriotism and his sense of intellectual discourse; because the National Democratic Institute was established to promote research, training and other aspects of human development of our party.
“This institute will conduct a number of things from research to training to capacity building among other things.
“I want to assure you, like we have done in the past, we were not responsible for making sure that this institute went underground but if we have the opportunity again to be elected by the Nigerian people, we will make sure that a permanent building is made available for our party,” Abubakar said.
Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the party, recalled that the PDP was conceived to be an organic party that would evolve and always be in sync with the developmental needs of the people.
“No society develops by fiat. It comes about by the rigorous work of carefully studying situations and analyzing them before evolving and implementing sustainable solutions. That was the idea that birthed the PDI on August 31, 2000,” Ayu said.
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He noted that the Institute has lived up to its bidding, adding that it has hosted programmes for both domestic and international audiences, engaged in research-based publications, and contributed significantly to the capacity-building of the party functionaries nationwide.
He noted that the PDP was not hurriedly conceived as a propaganda machine just to access power, adding that “it came to power with a mission.”
Ayu, who also declared that democracy is not a one-man show, or something to be run on adhoc arrangements, added that it is about mass participation, shared ideas and shared prosperity.
“PDI is, therefore, the Party’s tool for generating ideas, thoroughly researching them and rigorously analyzing development options/policies for good governance and national development.
“It is regretful that after more than a decade of eventful activities, the institute lost its accommodation in Wuse II, and had to be located in a Porta-cabin at the party’s national headquarters.
“Today, however, marks another turning point in our Party’s fortunes. The deliberate actions of the current NWC have revived hope for the survival of the Institute. It is now comfortably accommodated in this structure which has been rented, renovated, furnished and equipped for PDI to effectively re-engage the purpose for which it was established.
“The renewed hope for a better Nigeria is being midwifed by salient milestones that PDP is making in the rebirth of the Party and its return to its winning ways.
He assured that the Party is again preparing itself adequately and shall hit the ground running, when, by the grace of God and the votes of Nigerians, PDP returns to power next year.
“While the others are utterly confused about how, where or when to even begin their campaigns, PDP is already preparing for governance. Our Presidential candidate, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, has already exhibited his intellectual preparedness in his publications that are already in the public space for everyone to access and scrutinize. It is not an accident of history that he commissioned the Institute at its inauguration in 2000 and, is today, recommissioning it in preparation for the task ahead, Post-May 29, 2023,” Ayu further said.
He assured that Atiku is not someone who acts on whims or impulse, but someone who works with thoroughly developed ideas and his love for the Institute had been a pillar of support to it when it flourished.
He noted that the party has a robust package for making Nigeria workable again, adding that the institute has been revamped and repositioned to provide research data that will help President Atiku to unlock our national potentials, secure the country, energize our productive sectors, stimulate wealth creation, empower youths and women, create jobs, revitalize agriculture, stabilize the educational sector and, altogether, be an alert and effective commander-in-chief.
He charged party members to focus on retaking power from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), next February so that the party can commence the restoration work, which was truncated in 2015.
The PDP also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to keep his word of ensuring that the 2023 elections are free, fair, transparent and credible. It also insisted that the presidency and the APC must not intimidate INEC or its functionaries in any way to ensure that every vote counts.