By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has backed the National Assembly for its recent re-ordering of the 2019 general elections as contained in an amendment to the Electoral Act, while expressing opti.mism on chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in performing well at the polls.
In a statement by Ike Abonyi, special adviser to the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus, he quoted Mr. Jonathan as supporting the re-ordering while receiving the PDP chairman, who led members of the National Working Committee, NWC, on a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Jonathan Foundation in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The National Assembly Conference Committee on Electoral Act (amendment) Bill on Tuesday adopted a re-ordered sequence of the 2019 elections, which now puts the presidential election last in the timetable.
The sequence of the polls now has the National Assembly elections coming first, followed by governorship and state house of assembly polls. The presidential tussle comes last as against what held sway in the last elections. President Muhammadu Buhari has not indicated if he would sign an amendment into law.
According to the statement, Mr. Jonathan reportedly said “what the National Assembly did would help in the election of quality persons into various positions.”
“Holding presidential election first will affect the quality of persons that will emerge in other polls because of the bandwagon effect.
“The ruling party, the APC should see it from national and patriotic interests since laws are not meant for persons in power at a particular time,” Mr. Jonathan reportedly said.
A few Senators especially from the APC kicked against the amendment accusing the ‘proponents’ of targeting the president’s chances at the polls.
However, Mr. Jonathan charged his party, the PDP, to support the National Assembly for the patriotic act as he added that he envisaged a time “when presidential election will be conducted differently from the others.”
He also commended the newly elected Mr. Secondus led NWC of the PDP for bringing back confidence in the party pointing out that those who left will soon return.
“I believe that PDP will return to power in 2019 if we continue to build confidence especially as the ruling party has failed to meet up their promises and give hope to the people.
“Propaganda may help you win election but can’t help you govern and that is what APC has seen in the last 32 months,” the ex-president reportedly said.
Mr. Secondus at the event briefed the former president on the activities of the NWC since December when they were elected into office.
He said that the new leadership was already engaged in a number of activities aimed at rebranding, and repositioning the party with a view to regaining power in 2019.