Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)-- President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria has told the leadership of his party- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to admonish or discipline him when necessary, saying elected officeholders were selected by the party and must be above the party.
The President Jonathan who was speaking on the need to enforce party discipline during a dinner organized for the new leadership of the party at the Presidential Villa, on Monday night said, irrespective of the office held, no individual within the party, including himself is above discipline or admonition.
Jonathan who also cited South Africa ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) where the party is superior to political office holders, assured the Bamanga Tukur led National Working Committee (NWC) of his government maximum cooperation in enforcing discipline in the party.
He said, “If the President is deviating, the President must be called upon so that all we know that the party is supreme and we must all follow the dictates of the party. Nobody in the party from the President to the least person at the ward will be superior to the party. That is why in the gathering of the party, the party chairman takes precedence in order of protocol. It shows that the President himself is under the chairman. The President cannot be a maximum ruler; the President is selected by the party and must serve the party not the party serving the President.
“PDP is a political party and as a party you must have guidelines and no matter the office you are holding, the party must be in a position to discipline or admonish Mr. President if he deviates. Although am not saying that the President should be admonished like a primary school pupil.”
The President also warned that the party must make sure that members are disciplined, saying failure to do that will make members to operate like a platform for independent candidate.
The President therefore challenged the party leadership to live up to expectation, saying, “so, you have a lot of challenges in this direction to make sure that you instill that kind of discipline.
"Let me use this opportunity to thank the founding fathers of our great party, few of them were invited for this dinner. Today, we wanted to welcome the new National Working Committee that will be working with us on a daily basis to manage the affairs of PDP. We have to organise this dinner to make it very clear that we are together, we will work together for the interest of the country, Nigeria first.
"So, we will continue to encourage this kind of relationship so that the very beautiful words of advice that our elders have presented to us we continue to carry them out.
"My cabinet is totally committed and we will not come up with any major programme without involving the party. Both the Executive and Parliament members belong to political parties and political parties have manifestoes so whether you are in the executive and parliamentary arm of government, we all belong to our party and we must project the agenda of the party.
"Therefore, before we come up with any major decision, we must present it to the party and of course the Ministers should know that from time to time, the party will ask you to brief them on what you are doing. It has been a part of PDP that from time to time; the party will call you because the party must give the direction for both the executive and parliamentary arms of government. This is because it is PDP government, if it is going bad it is PDP government, if we are trying, it is PDP government, so, PDP must be in charge. The chairman of the party is the chairman of the executive and the legislature.
"To make sure that we move in the same direction and to make sure this relationship is very strong we agreed that we will have meeting where few of us in the executive, few in the party and few in the legislative arm of government will be meeting from time to time. Now that the congresses are over, we will soon commence this meeting,” he further said.
The President also advised the party leadership to look beyond contributions from members to fund its projects, saying “We cannot continue to depend on contributions. Yes, members of the party must pay monthly contributions based on our guidelines but then, we must all work to create an avenue where the party will source funding so that if you are the chairman of the party, members of the working committee you can manage the party without excessive influence of people. Even though we expect all moneybags to be in PDP, but we don't want the moneybags to influence the activities of the party and to stop that of course, we must come up with programmes that will make the party self-sustaining in terms of financing."
He said he would not be joining issues with critics of the government, saying that “we will not follow them because when you are in the ruling party, you must show more maturity, you must show the leadership that at the end of the day no matter where you talk, people will have no choice than to follow the PDP direction.”
In his goodwill message, Chief Solomon Lar commended the President for hosting the new NWC members saying he did not “enjoy the luxury of being hosted and recognised under President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He also advised Tukur to show enough patriotism.
On his part, Ojo Maduekwe said the party was on the threshold of a new beginning. He noted that the credentials of new NWC members were intimidating, convincing with Tukur in charge of the party.
He also said that no longer will the party be content just to produce government, but will stand side by side with government to mobilise the nation especially in "difficult moment like this. The PDP voice must be heard on the side of a national cohesion".
Maduekwe also urged party leadership to take painful decision; adding that "reforms are not tea party."
Those at the dinner include Vice President Namadi Sambo, PDP NWC led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Aminu Tambuwal, Solomon Lar, Dr Ahmadu Ali, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, Ghali Na'aba, Emeka Ihedioha, Tony Anenih, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and OJo Maduekwe.