At a time when it’s going through its lowest moment since its founding, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, celebrated 17 years of existence.
The PDP was founded on August 31, 1998, and ruled the country from 1999 to 2015 when it was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At a press conference to mark the PDP’s anniversary, the party’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, defended the party’s records.
“Only the voting public can say why we were rejected. What happened during the election has nothing to do with our achievement.
“We did our best for Nigeria. In the past 16 years we gave Nigeria hope. We created a system where merit was recognised.
“Anti-corruption was entirely part of our achievements, that led to the establishment of EFCC and ICPC. We did not de-market Nigeria by celebrating corruption. We investigated people along the fundamental rights of the people without propaganda or blackmail,” he said.
Metuh claimed that the PDP is the only political party in Nigeria which is completely owned and controlled by the Nigerian people and has structures all across the country.
He said the PDP as a party nurtured and sustained democratic system of government and a stable polity in Nigeria for 16 years.
“This did not come by accident, but through meticulous application, by successive PDP administrations, of policies as enshrined in the party’s ideology and manifesto, which within the ambit of the laws, achieved and sustained success in all sectors of the polity and economy.
“When the PDP took office in 1999, it quickly formed government and calmly, but vigorously applied itself to service, initiating reforms, and facing the challenges inherited from past military regimes, without resorting to blames, blackmail and propaganda,” he said.
According to a Premium Times report:
Mr. Metuh said at the time the PDP came to power, Nigeria’s image internationally was in a deplorable state, with very poor human rights records.
He added that the onus of restoring the nation from its pariah status then rested squarely on the PDP-led government, which, he said, it successfully executed, returning the nation to its pride of place in the comity of nations.
“The PDP-led government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo went further to work assiduously to settle foreign debts accumulated by previous administrations and extricated the nation’s economy from burdens of the London and Paris Clubs debt overhang.
“Furthermore, in line with the determination to establish a moral and ethical society guided by such core values as honesty, integrity and justice, as contained in its manifesto, the PDP administration set up the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, otherwise known as Due Process Unit, which ensured transparency in government procurements and spending.
“The PDP government, in the same vein, immediately established the two major anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), with strict establishing and operation laws to ensure effectiveness and immunity from executive interferences. Down the years, SERVICOM desks were opened in ministries and agencies to further ensure ethical standards in government businesses.
“As a result of this deliberate policies, human right and business friendly environment were created and it saw to the massive return of Nigerians in the Diaspora and the influx of direct foreign investments into the country,” Mr. Metuh said.
The PDP spokesperson said the party also ensured that it observed the principle of federal character in all its appointments.
He said governments under the party initiated series of amendments to the constitution to make it is more responsive to the wishes and aspirations of the people.
He said PDP governments reformed the electoral system to allow for greater political participation, granted operational independence to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, enacted the Freedom of Information law, while also upholding the sanctity of the rule of law in all sectors of the polity.
Mr. Metuh said to reposition the country’s economy for greater productivity, successive PDP administrations applied an economic policy that enhanced a dynamic economy.
“As you are aware, the hallmark of the PDP administration was anchored on the policy of transfer of wealth from the public sector to hardworking and enterprising Nigerians. This resulted in the rapid expansion of the nation’s economic frontiers with an unprecedented growth in small and medium scale enterprises, which helped in providing employment for millions of our citizens across the country.
“It is incontrovertible that within the 16 years of successive PDP administrations, more businesses opened in the country in all sectors of the economy; in telecommunication (with one the world fastest GSM and internet penetrations), transport, aviation, hospitality, education, agriculture, the media, automobile, real estate, oil and gas, food processing, among others, than in any other period in the nation’s history.
“In the same vein, hitherto weak banking sector was repositioned and strengthened, thereby providing support for businesses and restoring investors’ confidence in our system. By 2015, the PDP has grown our nation’s economy to the largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world.
“Under the PDP administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, our nation witnessed the successful unbundling of the power sector with massive investments, resulting in the construction and rehabilitation of various power projects. This is in addition to investments in oil and gas sector including the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of our oil refineries, which dividends, the nation is now enjoying.
“In the works, transport and aviation sectors, yearly investments by PDP administrations resulted in the revitalization of the railways, inland water ways, remodeling and reequipping of our aviation system to international standard, rehabilitation and construction of thousands of kilometers of roads and bridges across our country.
“Similar yearly investments by successive PDP administrations changed the face of agriculture in our country from a development Programme to a business for national wealth creation, focusing on the private sector. By 2014 our national food production had expanded by an additional 21 million metric tons, a record, exceeding the national set target of 20 million metric tons for 2015.
“In education and health, meticulous execution of deliberate policies resulted in significant achievements. While healthcare become more affordable and accessible, series interventionist initiatives in life threatening diseases such as malaria, fibroid, HIV and AIDS, VVF, Hepatitis, Sickle Cell Anemia, cardiac related ailments, polio which was successfully eradicated in 2014, among others, culminating in an unprecedented 50% drop in maternal mortality and increase in national life expectancy by 2015.
“In education, while all levels of learning received adequate attention, the National Open University of Nigeria was established to boost opportunity for tertiary learning. By the end of first quarter of 2015, 14 new universities were established by the immediate past PDP administration to ensure that all states in the federation has a federal university, in addition to the establishment of the Almajiri system of education in the northern parts to ensure that no Nigerian child is denied access to education.”