Unedited text of an off-the-cuff speech delivered by president Goodluck Jonathan in PDP’s 57th National Executive Council Meeting on Thursday.
Follow the orange link below to listen to the sound.
Let me sincerely appreciate what the members of the party are doing, especially what those of us who are holding offices as President, Governors and those who hold elective positions. We have just finished elections and there are lots of expectations from us but somehow, things have not happened exactly the way we expected it should but, you are still with us and we are still working for the party. So, we appreciate that.
But let me again join the National Chairman of the party to congratulate the party members, especially our brothers and sisters from Kogi state for the victory; let me specially thank the former Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali and the other people from Kogi state and those that joined us for the campaign. There is a PDP state and PDP is very formidable but we have a very strong opposition. Am sure you know the party I am talking about. Very senior members of the party relocated to Kogi state to make sure that they win Kogi state, but God willing, PDP won Kogi state.
There are also matters in the Tribunal which are plus and minus: we are winning some and loosing some. There is the one of PDP versus PDP; like the one in Bayelsa state, even my own senatorial district. I don’t even know how to interpret the judgment.
The signals we are getting from Katsina state, looks quite promising. By God’s grace, PDP will continue to have significant majority in both national and state assemblies.
On the budget, most of us know that our target is to refocus the economy because we believe that we cannot continue to depend on oil. If the experts are saying that the reserve of oil that we need will last for 35 years or about, then we need to diversify, especially in the area of agriculture and manufacturing so that our children will not check out of the country.
Now, the issue is deregulation and people will like to ask why the PDP government is inflicting pains on Nigerians. But, there is no way myself and the governors, because we have discussed it over and over and we have agreed that the only way is to resolve the problems and relieve the pains on our people otherwise, this country will enter into a serious crises, is to completely deregulate the downstream sector of the oil industry.
We are not taking the decision because we want to see Nigerians suffer; but we want to see a situation where more Nigerians will be able to get jobs; the economic activities to be able to be stimulated so people will have opportunity to survive with or without government.
As we progress, we really see that at the beginning, Nigerians knowing who we are, will want to express frustration and exploit the issue and if you relate it to the issue of GSM in the country, then, to get a SIM card was a problem; people were hoarding the situation and creating artificial scarcity. At times, people had to tip people to get sim card. Now, some of the service providers will be giving out free sim card, with even some credit, just to attract you to be using their network. So, we believe that even the issue of distribution of petroleum products will be better handled if it is completely privatised and overall, surely, Nigerians will benefit.
Let me assure you that we do not want to being pain to Nigerians and we do our best to make sure that the pains are definitely cushioned.