The former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi has said that he will seek the nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the 2019 presidential election.
Those who have already indicated interest in the party’s ticket are former vice president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, former Jigawa State governor, Mr. Sule Lamido, former minister of special duties and inter-government affairs, Mr. Tanimu Turaki, former Kano State governor, Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau and Gombe State governor, Mr. Ibrahim Dankwambo.
Speaking on Sunday in Kaduna, Makarfi who is the immediate past caretaker committee chairman of the party said he had offered himself to be the party’s standard bearer in 2019 after consulting widely and receiving positive and encouraging support from “capable party men and women.”
“I have been consulting across the country since I left as the chairman of the party. It’s is just consultations and not endorsement. But it gives you an opportunity to feel the pulse and it will tell whether to go forward or not to go forward. The consultations have been quite positive and I believe it is fair enough to come to the conclusion that one should join other equally capable party men and women who have shown interest in seeking the party’s nomination for the 2019 presidential election.
“I have known governance for sometime at the state level. I served Kaduna for three years as commissioner for finance and economic planning. I came in from the private sector. I have private sector experience, especially banking. I governed this complex state for eight years. I have legislative experience, having been in the senate for a two terms of eight years. I got a bonanza when the party leadership fell on my lap, to know about managing a political party.
“If you cannot manage your party, even if you are elected, you will have problems governing. If you can’t manage the legislature and build cordial relationship such that key legislations that can take this country forward are passed, then governance becomes complex for you. If you cannot manage complex society such as Kaduna, which is mini- Nigeria, you cannot manage Nigeria.”
“These, to me, are advantages but of course it does not mean that it is a foregone conclusion. Somebody who may have not prepared himself in governance at all may find himself in government but the country will pay a price for that. I believe I have these advantages.
“Managing complex security issues is not new to me. Managing complex people of societies is not new to me. If you look at it from that perspective, I am prepared for the job. I served as the Governor of Kaduna state where I was able to mobilise the citizens of Kaduna state, irrespective of where they came from in Nigeria, earned their confidence and they worked with me and supported me and we were able to restore normalcy that people thought was impossible.
“If I am nominated and eventually get elected; my philosophy will not be to go after the opposition. It is to see how I will work with the opposition in any area for the good of all of us while maintaining our independent political opinion over any matter. If I get nominated and get elected and I find somebody in APC who can help me do what I want to do, I will look for you without demanding that you join the PDP. I will leave you to make that decision on your own. That is the kind of politics that I want to see happening in Nigeria,” he said.
Makarfi also said the inability of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to govern well will work well for the PDP in 2019.
“We must also thank the APC for working for us because they have been working for us. They have refused to govern well; they have been fighting each other. They are many things for which we can thank them. There is no way the executive and the legislature can work again as one. There is no way the party can be cohesive again. There are elements in government fighting each other and there is nobody to call them to order. We should not expend our energy when somebody is working for us,” he said.
Asked if he would quit the party should he fail to get the party’s nomination, Makarfi said he would support whoever would emerge as the candidate of the party among Atiku, the former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, Lamido or any other party’s disciple.
Meanwhile, the national organising secretary of the PDP, Mr. Austin Akobundu said in a statement that the party “is still in the process of drawing up the guidelines for its presidential primary election.”
“It is therefore misleading to claim that the party has ‘listed its guidelines’ not to talk of the cost of nomination forms.
“At the appropriate time the proposals will be presented to NEC of the party which will approve as it deems fit.
“Only then can one say that it has the guidelines for the 2018 presidential primary election,” said.