The Peoples Democratic Party has asked Nigerians to forgive the party for its inability to meet their yearnings in the past 16 years.
The party also said that fielding former President Goodluck Jonathan as the PDP candidate for the 2015 Presidential election was an error. It added that the party was aware that Nigerians were angry with it because of some actions it took when it was in power.
The Chairman, National Planning Committee of the conference, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Dokpesi, a chieftain of the party from Edo State, was flanked at the briefing by members of the planning committee of the conference.
The defeat of the party in the last general election came to its leaders as a surprise.
Apart from losing the Presidency to the All Progressives Congress, the PDP also lost in some states where it was hitherto popular.
Dokpesi attributed the defeat to many errors committed by the party and its leadership, but asked Nigerians “to forgive and forget.”
He said, “We are aware that there were errors we made. We admit that we made mistakes and we have not met the expectation of Nigerians and we tendered unreserved apologies for these mistakes.
“You must have seen the Ike Ekweremadu report on why we are apologising. There was no internal democracy. There was impunity within the party and there was no level-playing ground for members of the party.
“Zoning principles of the party were abandoned and gamuts of all other issues, which will come out during the conference and for all these and the people who have been offended; for people whose toes were stepped upon, we also tendered an unreserved apology.
“These are the reasons why we are begging and apologising. We want to assure every founding member of the party that we deviated from their visions. That is why we are going to have all our founding fathers, like Adamu Ciroma, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and other members of the G.34, to come and talk to us at the conference.
“For every and any mistake we have made, I therefore say, we tender our unreserved apologies.”
Asked if the mistake of the party included the fielding of the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate in 2015 poll, he said it was wrong for the party to have abandoned zoning in preference for the former President.
Dokpesi said the party ought to have allowed the northern part of the country to complete its term when former President Umaru Yar’Adua died in 2010.
He said, “The party in 2010 and 2011 made the first round of mistake of not allowing the North to complete its term.
“That was when the party gave a special favour to the then President (Jonathan), who came to compete the term of Yar’Adua, to be allowed to finish just a term.
“The same small leaders of the party came forward in 2015 and refused to allow the North to field the party’s presidential candidate. They manipulated the party to do the same.”
He added that, “Make no mistake, the PDP is aware that there were errors made along the way. We admit that at certain times in our past, mistakes have been made: we did not meet the expectations of Nigerians.
“But the past is exactly what it is. While we should not forget the past and its errors, we must look forward and begin to show true leadership within and outside our party.”
He said the forthcoming conference would be used to reinvigorate, re-engineer and restructure the party, which he said, would be handed over to the youth.