Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, has said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is planning to win in the states it lost to other parties during and after the 2011 general elections.
The governor spoke yesterday in Abuja after a meeting of some PDP governors and members of the party’s caucus in the House of Representatives with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Akpabio, who chairs the PDP Governors’ Forum, spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor, as earlier reported, said PDP members in the House of Representatives passed a vote of confidence on Jonathan and endorsed him to run in next year’s Presidential election.
He said: “Then, after we moved into a further meeting with Mr. President and the PDP governors and members of the National Working Committee (NWC), led by the National Chairman of the party (Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu), based on the fact that in the next few months, we shall be going into major primaries.
“So, we want to deepen internal democracy and strategise on how best we can win the primaries and, by implication, ensure that we bring out the best candidates, taking a cue from what happened in Ekiti. If we are able to carry out proper internal democracy and bring out the most popular candidates, then the main election will be less rancorous. Of course, the party will sail through with a view to getting up to two-thirds of the states of the federation, as it was when we started in 1999.
“When I came in, there was a period that the PDP had 29 governors. In 2011, we still had 25 governors. Then, some governors tried to defect to other political parties, which they are at liberty to do, because this is democracy. But we are gaining more.
“Now, we have at least 19 governors with the coming of Ekiti State. We also have three deputy governors who are still with us – those of Sokoto, Adamawa and Nasarawa states. That brings our number to about 22. So, if we shoot to 28 in the 2015 elections, it is not too bad.
“It (the meeting) was an appraisal and for us to use the opportunity as PDP governors to congratulate the party leader on the very successful election that was held in Ekiti State. It was very free and fair and applauded by the international community and all Nigerians to a point where even the candidate of the opposition announced that indeed it was a victory well deserved. There was no need to contest such a victory in court. That is the kind of thing we would like to see.
“Mr President has entrenched true democracy in Nigeria. This has happened in Edo State; it had happened in Ondo State. It will happen in August in Osun State. For me, as a Chairman of PDP Governors in Nigeria, my hope and prayer is that God should increase our number and make us to have the majority of governors in the country. This is because the PDP is the only true national party in Nigeria…” Akpabio said.