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Sunday, 24 June 2018

I’ve been adequately prepared to be Nigeria’s president — Makarfi

I’ve been adequately prepared to be Nigeria’s president — Makarfi

Sen. Ahmed Makarfi,

A former Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Makarfi, tells GODWIN ISENYO why he wants to be President in 2019

What steps are you taking to actualise your dream of becoming Nigeria’s President next year?

I have been consulting across the country since I left as the chairman of the party; it’s just consultations and not endorsement. But it gives me 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.

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At this stage, my intention is to seek the party’s nomination because the successful nominees will become the candidate that will stand for the election. At this stage, I have come to the conclusion that I am satisfied with responses based on the consultations that I have had. Those who have shown interest are equally capable.

We do not know how many more will show interest but whatever it is, power comes from God. The party men and women will decide who will be the candidate. I will subject myself to the will of God and the decision of the party men and women whenever it is made.

Have you formally intimated the party of your intention?

I have not written to the party but who do you consult with? It is the same party men and women that you consult informally. One has to come to the decision to seek the elders’ nomination before one would eventually notify the party formally.

Everything is stage by stage. What remains now is, very soon, I will start formal visits to the various organs of the party and when the party comes out with the guidelines that, in my opinion, will be the appropriate time to write.

Guidelines and timetable for the primaries have not come out. I believe when the national executive committee of the party approves the guidelines and timetable for the primaries, I believe that will be appropriate to formally write to the party.

It does not mean one should not or cannot visit the party to inform them now but formal notification, in my opinion, should come when definite timetable and guidelines for the primaries are released by the party.

Why do you think you will make a better president?

For me, 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 (Kaduna) state for eight years. I have a robust legislative experience, having been in the Senate for eight years.

I got a bonanza when the party leadership fell on my laps, to know about managing 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 relationships, 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 a mini Nigeria, you cannot manage Nigeria.

On the security challenges in the country, I served as the governor of Kaduna State where I was able to mobilise the citizens of the state, irrespective of where they came from in Nigeria, earned their confidence.

They worked with me, supported me and we were able to restore normalcy that people thought was impossible. Managing complex security issues is not new to me. If you look at it from that perspective, you will see that I am well prepared for the job.

Also, I successfully managed a party in crisis. If we did not manage the party well, we would not be talking about PDP by now. The challenges we had were not significant enough to threaten the PDP.

As a matter of fact, the trajectory is that the PDP is actually going up, we are not going down. The President must be able to build a good team that is reflective of Nigeria, it must be capable and must work as one and not in conflict with each other.

You cannot have institutions of government going in different directions on the same issue. If I find myself in the office of the President and such happens, it is either one of them goes or both of them leave, depending on what the issues are. The question of managing one of them because of personal relationship must not be there because it is national interest that is the issue.

If you do not succeed in getting the party’s nomination, will you seek another platform to realise your ambition?

My politics is politics of decency, not just within the PDP. The fact that I want to be the candidate of my party will not be an excuse to insult or do negative campaign against other candidates. It is a question of what do I have to offer that is better than what the other person has to offer. It should not affect personal relationship.

At the end of the day, whoever gets it will have to work with others to succeed. If the other candidates get the ticket, I will do what I can do to make sure they succeed, just as I expect that if I get the nomination, they should be prepared to do what they can do to make me succeed.

A few months to 2019, will you say the PDP is prepared to take over from the All Progressives Congress?

The APC was made up of different parties but they came together for the 2015 elections. I am sure we will come together. It may be an alliance. It can be anything and when that is done, then you will see the direction the opposition will be taking to legitimately wrest power from the APC. We don’t want power through illegitimate ways.

We want to legitimately wrest power from the APC. Secondly, we are waiting for the windfall and the windfall we hope will come soon. We must also thank the APC for working for us because they have refused to govern well. They have been fighting each other. There are elements in government fighting each other and there is nobody to caution them. We should not expend our energy when somebody is working for us.

What is your advice to your former members who moved into the APC but are no longer comfortable in the party?

What will they be staying for? It is obvious to a number of them that that is no longer a platform for them. The question before them is where will they go to? The overwhelming majority of them no longer have room in that party. If you stay, what are they staying for?

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