PDP primaries: Jonathan 'll do well - Obasanjo

2010-09-23
THE PUNCH Newspaper

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he is confident that President Goodluck Jonathan will do well in the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primaries and the presidential elections in 2011.



Obasanjo spoke with a United States- based Nigerian news agency, Empowered Newswire, after attending a United Nations session on the promotion of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS where Nigeria’s Access Bank donated $1m to support the UN agency in its work to stem the spread of HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis, in New York.



“I believe he (Jonathan) will do his best and once he does his best and our party does its best, the best will be enough,” he said when asked to assess the President’s chances in the forthcoming poll.



On who he would vote for during the PDP presidential primaries, Obasanjo replied, “I might as well tell you who I will be voting for in the election, I thought that was meant to be a secret.”



Waiving off media speculations that he was reconsidering his support for Jonathan, Obasanjo, almost laughing, said “The media is (sic) a fool; the medium that says that is either a fool or mischievous.”



When reminded that he had led the South- West openly to declare support for Jonathan, the former President claimed that the zone was only one of the six geo-political zones in the country where the PDP had a strong presence.



“We start party membership at the ward level, to the state, to the zonal and the national levels, and you must be an active party member. So, I was there and whatever is being done at any of the level,…whatever my party decides, I cannot say to hell with the party,” Obasanjo said.



He added that as the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, “whatever my zone does I cannot disagree. But when we then have to meet as BOT, which I chair, I direct the affairs as necessary.”



Obasanjo also spoke on the reported gang up by some politicians, especially those from the Northern part of the country, against the candidacy of Jonathan.



“Ganging up or not, factions and alliances are normal part of politics and there is nothing wrong with that. What matters is that at the end of the day, whatever the results (are) we all accept it,” the former President said.



Asked whether he was optimistic that the 2011 elections would be hitch-free, he said, “Of course yes, oh yes.”



According to him, “We are in Nigeria, the country of excitement and we believe in things happening and they do happen; but we are also…, shall I say, there is never a dull moment. If I come to this world again, I will tell God to bring me back to Nigeria.”



Conceding that there were issues for Nigeria to address before the poll, he advised against using foreign standards to assess the country’s situation.



He said, “We have many things that we need to correct, many things. But one things we have is (that we) criticize ourselves, we look for ways to improve, what we can do better and how we can do them better. We are never satisfied; we are never complacent, which is very good.”



But Obasanjo said that the way other countries looked at Nigerians was because of “our self-criticism.”



He advised that Nigerians “must stop judging and condemning ourselves using the standards of others. We must decide our own standards and use our own standards to judge ourselves.”



On how the PDP would perform in the elections next year, Obasanjo said, “My party will do its best and once my party does its best, the best will be good enough for us.”



Explaining his absence at last weekend’s declaration of Jonathan in Abuja, the former President said he had travelled to Jamaica to attend the funeral of his friend’s father, Karl Masters.



 

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