President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday gave a tacit backing to the emergence of a two-party system in Nigeria, saying it would engender political stability.
He, however, berated critics of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying despite the criticisms, the ruling party has helped to stabilise the polity since the return of democracy in 1999.
He said PDP has become a force to reckon with, insisting this has pushed the opposition parties to think of coming together to fight the ruling party.
Mr. Jonathan, who spoke at the 61st meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party in Abuja, expressed his desire to see two big parties, which in his estimation could instigate loyalty in PDP and further reduce tension in the polity.
“One good thing that Nigerians should commend PDP now is that if you look at the evolution of political parties, it is now stable.” Mr. Jonathan said.
“Because PDP has come on very strong, no matter the criticism they are criticizing us, they know that we are very strong and they realize that what they need to do is not forming new parties but parties coming together. So, we are helping to stabilize the polity,” he added.
The president defended a two-party system saying “we will encourage them to come together more. We want a situation where it is PDP versus one.
“In that case, the polity will be more stable. Even our members will be more loyal to the party because you will have nowhere to go.”
The last time Nigeria had a two-party system was in 1993 when all elections were between the Social Democratic Party and the National Republican Convention.
President Jonathan condemned the rate at which disgruntled party members ove to smaller parties, saying “all this time, immediately we disagree in PDP, somebody is picking form in one PPP, DDD party and contesting House of Assembly or House of Representatives or Senate.
“When we have only two, before you get there, they have already occupied that place. So, even if we disagree, we will agree at the end of the day and it will even help to build a stronger party.”
Mr. Jonathan said “Nigerians should commend PDP. If PDP were weak, people wouldn’t have gathered together. There wouldn’t have been any reason for parties to come together to fight PDP.
“But when you have so many parties on their own they know they cannot face us until they come together then you know that we are formidable. And PDP will become stronger and no matter the gang up, I don’t see how they can uproot the PDP.”