By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has denied knowledge of a presidential ambition by its National Caretaker Committee, NCC, Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, contrary to insinuations by some chieftains of the party.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who made the clarification at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, also faulted the call for the resignation of Makarfi by one of the chairmanship aspirants, Chief Bode George.
According to the party scribe, the National Caretaker Committee is committed to the conduct of a credible and transparent convention.
He said the allegation of working in favour of one of the candidates by some aspirants was unfortunate.
“Whether Senator Makarfi has presidential ambition or not, we are not aware of that. The National Caretaker Committee is not aware of that and we have not opened the floodgate for people to begin to aspire for the position of the president.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has not even released the timetable for the presidential election,” Adeyeye said.
He added that the PDP was concerned with “putting in place a new leadership for the party which we hope will come up or emerge latest by December 9 or 10.”
On the allegation by George that the NCC was taking the party back on the track of impunity, Adeyeye described the statement as unfortunate.
“It pains us that on the one hand, Chief Bode George who is fully aware of the pains we are still going through in Lagos, in order to fairly and equitably carry everybody on board to the extent that we are being accused by others as siding with him, is the same person accusing us of impunity,’’ he said.
Advancing reasons for the defeat suffered by the PDP in the recently concluded governorship elections in Anambra State, the party said the divisions among its members was largely responsible.
He said: “These people are very much divided and it has been a recurring decimal since 2003. I want to tell you that in the last Anambra election, majority of votes for the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, came from PDP.
“It is an unfortunate situation. But I believe that the next leadership of the party that will take over from us will have full time to look at the Anambra matter and solve the problem once and for all.”
The party further expressed dissatisfaction with what it termed the ‘antics’ of Senator Buruji Kashamu (PDP, Ogun East), saying in no distant time, justice will be done.
He also blamed the lawmaker for the loss of Edo and Ondo states’ governorship polls in the recent past by the PDP.
“The actions of Kashamu and co led to the loss of Edo and Ondo States. The party will take a decision at the appropriate time on Senator Kashamu, It may take long, but justice will be done,’’ Adeyeye said.
Meanwhile, a chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has faulted the composition of the electoral committees and appeal panels for the December 9 convention by the National Caretaker Committee, NCC, saying the exercise fell short of fairness and transparency.
The aspirant, who confided in Vanguard on condition of anonymity, echoed similar fears raised by another chairmanship aspirant, Professor Tunde Adeniran, who on Monday, accused the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led NCC of bias and preferential treatment for one of the leading aspirants, Prince Uche Secondus.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard yesterday, the party chieftain said from information available to him, the composition of the committees was made to favour a particular aspirant.
He said: “Out of about 180 people in that list, 23 are from Rivers State. Now, in the whole of the South-West, there are only 15 names on that list; that is from the entire six states in the geopolitical zone combined.
‘’Is it fair that the South-West has only 15 members, which is just about seven percent of the names on the list?
He also disclosed the manner members of the committees got nominated, urging the leadership of the party to publish names of convention committee members, complete with their states of origin for the sake of transparency.
“I gathered that Governor Nyesom Wike shortchanged other governors while Fayose is said to be the one who single-handedly picked all 15 members from the South-West.
“Now, in the interest of transparency, they should publish names of the convention committee with their States of origin. If this is done, they will be helping the system,” he added.
While exuding confidence in his chances to win the election, the aspirant, however, reminded the party leadership not to forget so fast the reasons the PDP lost the Presidency in 2015, noting that if the culture of favoritism was not discarded, same fate might befall the party in the next general elections.
“Have we learned any lesson from our recent past? Didn’t we all agree that imposition of candidates would become a thing of the past? If we foolishly allow sentiments to colour our reasoning, we will have no one but ourselves to blame” he warned.
Meanwhile, another chairmanship aspirant, Uche Secondus, has dismissed insinuations by some party chieftains that he enjoys the support of the chairman of the party’s caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Secondus, a former acting national chairman of the PDP stated this in an interface with journalists at the party national secretariat shortly after submitting his nomination form.
He also faulted claims that the chairmanship position was micro-zoned to the South West, saying any qualified member from the 17 states in the South could contest, insisting that the Presidency was zoned to all 19 states in the North.
Secondus said during the botched national convention of the party, when the chairmanship was micro-zoned, he did not waste his time to vie for the seat.
“Makarfi is not paving way for my emergence. No truth in it. I have been going round quietly, canvassing for votes. I have not held any meeting with Makarfi and he has not endorsed me.
“The office of the national chairman was zoned to 17 southern states of the federation. Presidency was zoned to 19 states in the north. Let’s not dwell in misinterpretation: aspirants know this unless they want to be mischievous,” he stated.
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