DELTA Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recovered and returned to restore vibrancy and integrity to Nigeria’s democracy, and urged Nigerians to partner the party.
He stated this at the opening of the party’s National Non-Elective Convention in Abuja on Saturday, and said that the party had become reformed and refocused to win all future elections in the country.
Okowa, who is the Chairman of the Convention Committee, said that the past two years presented great challenges to the party.
He said that the loss of presidential election and the gale of defections were enough to sink the party’s ship, but expressed delight that the party had overcome the challenges.
He called for the support of Nigerians for the party, assuring that it would not disappoint the country.
Describing the PDP’s travails as “baptism of fire’’, Okowa said that the party had survived was a testimony to the resilience of its grassroots structure, organisation and appeal.
“Ours is a party firmly anchored on the grassroots, connected to the people in a unique way that recognises that power truly belongs to the people.
“We are rebounding back, realising that there is a champion in each of us in the party.
A collective leadership and partnership, resolved to do things right is all that we need to build the strength to recapture power,” he said.
The committee chairman said that the fact that the party became a victim of its own success was one of the sobering lessons that it learnt from its defeat.
He recalled that in the party at that time, internal democracy took a backstage, aggrieved party members were disregarded and impunity became the order of the day at various leadership levels in the party.
He said that the party cut short the hopes of Nigerians with its failure to manage success, but stated that it had become convinced that “our wilderness experience may well be a blessing in disguise, for two reasons.
“First, it afforded us the rare opportunity to look inwards and do some soul-searching. In life, you do not always have the opportunity for a second chance.
“But, to God be the glory that we have had the marvellous opportunity of understanding ourselves better, identifying our mistakes, suffering the painful consequences of defeat and learning the lesson of a lifetime.
“The wilderness experience has refined us, sharpened us and made us stronger. Like the saying goes, ‘sometimes you have to go through the wilderness before you get to the Promised Land.’
“The second advantage of our wilderness experience is that Nigerians have had the opportunity of experiencing another party govern at the national level. They can now compare and contrast.
“As leaders, we must read the times and take responsibility. We must condition our hearts for a new beginning.
“We must root out the past mistakes and make the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people the centrepiece of our party’s democratic agenda.”
He pointed out that what the PDP needed now were sincere and strong leaders, who understood that power is held in trust for the people, and must be administered for their good and advancement.
Okowa called on all true PDP faithful to return to the party, saying “it is time to heal the wounds of the past. It is time to embrace love and reconciliation.
“It is time, brothers and sisters, to come back home.”