***As PDP inaugurates convention committee
Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen Ahmed Makarfi, has said the party didn’t give any concessions to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, upon his return to PDP.
The PDP chairman who stated this on Monday in Abuja during the inauguration of national convention committee of the party which is scheduled to hold on Saturday.
The convention committee is headed by Delta State governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa, while the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, will serve as deputy of the committee.
Makarfi said “As you must have read, one of the founding fathers of this party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, declared for the PDP yesterday. He is highly welcome.
“We are expecting more people like him. They might not have been former Vice Presidents but they are weighty individuals in their own rights. PDP will continue to receive both serving and former this and former that.
“But I also want to correct some media reports out of his return. His Excellency, Waziri Adamawa, did not seek for any special concession. He joined in his own will. And the party did not extend any special concession to anybody other than what is due to him. It is only then that we will accord such people such recognition and status that they deserve.
“He (Atiku) never asked for anything and we never offered anything. Whatever aspirations he or anybody coming to PDP may have, they will be free to pursue them. So are all other PDP men and women are free to pursue whatever political aspirations they may have.”
He however assured that the party will give a level-playing field for party members to exercise their right to give mandate they wish to give mandate to.
The PDP chairman expressed satisfaction with the Tuesday judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ekiti which nullified the judgment of a High Court that would have affected the smooth conduct of the December 9 national convention.
He said a particular serving senator from the South West is behind most of the problems confronting the party.
Makarfi urged all contestants contesting for various offices at the convention to continue to go about their campaign with decorum.
Also speaking, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin declared that the board is ready to partner with the National Working Committee, Governors Forum and all other stakeholders in the party to ensure the success of the national convention.
He urged the party members to “run away” from acts that may negatively affect the convention.
On the speculation that some BoT members are sponsoring a particular chairmanship candidate, Senator Jibrin declared that the “BoT has no hidden agenda.”
In his response, the chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, Governor Okowa gave assurance that the “electoral process will be free, fair and credible.”
Speaking earlier, the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, declared that PDP will return to power in 2019, adding that Nigerians are yearning for it to return to power.
He said “By the grace of God, we are coming back to power in 2019. As chairman has pointed out this is time to sit down and work for our coming back. We need to embrace one another. Positions are many but only one person can sit on the sit at any time.
“We need to have that PDP spirit so that it will be easy to do the convention and at the end of the day, we will be happy that power has changed hands in 2019.
“We should have the conviction that this convention will end in a harmonious manner. We will finish convention peacefully.”
Meanwhile, a group, Arewa PDP Pathfinders, yesterday backed the demand of Northern Elders and Leaders Forum (NELF) for the South-west to produce the next national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The coordinator of the group, Hon Abdullahi Ali Kano, who was flanked by Hon Abbas Samuel Elejo (Director mobilization) and Hon Saleh Alhassan Tsiga (secretary), said the proposal for the chairmanship to go to the South-west is in line with a tradition in the party for position to be given to ensure inclusivity and equity.
Noting that the region has not occupied the position in the party’s history, Kano stressed that the Northern elders didn’t micro-zone the position as it was the decision of the party members from the south to make.
He said the decision reached in 2016 by the southern leaders of the party for the position to be zoned to South west was still binding as no other meeting was called to counter that agreement.