The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday pledged its commitment to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
PDP National Chairman, Umar Damagum, stated in Abuja while inaugurating of the People’s Democratic Institute (PDI) Establishment Committee.
Damagum described the establishment of the research institute on Aug. 30, 2000 and efforts to revive it as parts of PDP’s commitment to continue strengthening democracy.
“This is no doubt our commitment to making this institution the hub that can do a lot of research and develop our democracy within the country and the party at large.
“The PDI was established more than 15 years ago as part of efforts to strengthen democracy within the Nigerian context.
“PDP is the only party that have that foresight to have that kind of institution that can research and develop the democratic tenets,” he said .
Damagum said that the party is not deterred by the present situation but encouraged to embark on the mission to put the institution on strong footing to achieve its mandate.
He charged the committee members to do their best without any interference and employ the best applicant for the position of director-general for the institute.
“You are carefully selected as members of this establishment committee, because you have distinguished yourselves.
“You are expected to kick start the process of bringing in someone that can pilot this institution to achieve its goal within the shortest period of time. There’s no time that this institution can be strengthened than now.
“I enjoy you to be fair and to give us the best without interference even from some of us here. You should also do it with the fear of God.
“Whoever you are bringing to this institution should be someone that can stand the test of time and bring the value for which the institute was set up,“ Damagum said.
The Statutory Chairman of the Institute, Mr Taofik Arapaja, in his response pledged that the committee members would work together to ensure the best candidate is recommended to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) for consideration for employment.
Arapaja, who is the PDP Vice Chairman, South, stressed the need for the party to ensure that the institute is truly made independent.
“The establishment of PDI is to deepen democracy and develop more the capacity of the members of PDP and Nigerians at large. Apart from that, it is a source of revenue for the party if it is well managed.
“This source of revenue can obviously take care of itself, the salaries of the institute and have something to give back to the party itself,” Arapaja said.
He appealed to the party’s stakeholders to assist the institute with required finance and other needs for its effective take-off.
“I still appeal to all our governors who are major stakeholders in this party to make sure that they continue to help us.
“Our Senators, House of Reps members, members of the State House of Assembly to make sure that this important institution gets off its feet and they can reap the benefits that is meant for all Nigerians and for PDP.
“After the seed money that has been given to the PDI, it will be able to feed for itself and fed for the party itself,” Arapaja said.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, Arapaja said that the institute is expected to fill the existing gaps in intellectual capacity of the members of the party, members of the community and Nigeria as a whole.
“Before now normally after elections people come for training, seminars, workshops on the art of governance.
“In the National Assembly you see what happens to many members of political parties these days.
“Some members don’t even understand the manifesto of the party, they are not well grounded in the policy stand of the party. People are just doing things on their own.
“We need to develop the capacity of these people and by doing that, you will deepen democracy in Nigeria, that is the gap that the PDI is expected to fill.”