Jonathan: I’m happy PDP is planning to regain the presidency.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday described the loss of the 2015 general election as a temporary setback for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking when he hosted stakeholders of the party at his Abuja residence, Jonathan said he was happy with the plans of the party to regain the presidency.

He said the PDP remains the strongest political party in Nigeria, and that every other party knows that “PDP is leading”.

“Yes we lost the presidential election but that doesn’t diminish us. Every other party still knows that PDP is a leading party,” he said.

“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.”

He said he had the strong belief that for a nation to grow, its institutions must be very strong.

Making reference to the court’s rejection of President Donald Trump’s executive order, Jonathan said such a measure is needed in Nigeria at the moment.

“There is no way a nation will grow with weak institutions, because everything about politics is about the people, not about the individuals,” he said.

“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.

“As powerful as America is, President Donald Trump took a 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.”

The former president also said direct primary, especially under presidential system of government, was the ultimate and best way of selecting candidates for elections.

However, he said the greatest problem was how to manage the direct primaries.

Jonathan said for a party like PDP, with true membership across all polling units, it meant that voting would take place at wards or local government levels.

“The best way to stop imposition is to make sure that people don’t control the delegates,” he said.

“How to select delegate is that at least 70 percent of the delegates should not be under the control of anybody.”

Jonathan said if the party could not do direct primary, it should make sure that it increased the number of statutory delegates with people who had held elected or party offices at different levels.

He said the party could come up with criteria where its national chairman, state chairmen, senators and others in offices that controlled the government were made statutory delegates.

“All these group of people if they are still in the party should be automatic delegates,” he said.

“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.”

Jonathan commended the committee for the report as well as the caretaker committee under the leadership of Ahmed Makarfi, a former governor.

“This is the only way to strengthen political parties. It is a clear sign that PDP will win in 2019,” he said.

Presenting the report earlier, Jerry Ghana, chairman of the committee, said they had submitted the report to the party leadership on Tuesday and were directed to submit a copy to the former president.

Gana said the report contained thoughtful recommendations that would help PDP to be strong and win future elections.

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