The National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said some aggrieved national chairmanship aspirants engaged in blackmailing him because he did not meet their offers.
This was as he described the allegations that he was nursing presidential ticket of the party as baseless.
“This is hypocrisy. Long before now, most of them have come to make offers to me to work with them. I have always told them that the convention is of priority,” he said.
Speaking during an interview in Kaduna, on Sunday, Makarfi dispelled the insinuation by some aspirants that he and the committee members were favouring a South-South candidate to emerge at the PDP convention to pave way for his presidential ambition.
According to him, those aspirants making allegations against him and the committee members had not been sincere to themselves.
“These complainers are not even being sincere. Which one of them has not approached me to work with him or them for their ambition? All I kept telling them is that: let us get the convention right first, what I will do is in the hands of God and time will determine that.”
Makarfi also disowned Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo over an interview granted by him regarding having presidential ambition, adding that “he (Jalo) has never been my spokesman and he is not my spokesman.”
He said all things were set for a successful convention, adding that essential documents had been printed; while other necessities had been put in place.
“I just want to say that we are absolutely on course and I don’t see anything that can lead to the postponement of the convention. The venue has been secured and paid for.”
Meanwhile ahead of the national convention, the plot to anoint Prince Uche Secondus from the South-South geopolitical zone as national chairman has suffered setback.
A party source revealed that Secondus enjoyed the support of two governors from the zone while two other governors were against his choice. It is no longer a secret that the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, was in full support of the candidacy of Secondus.
A governor of the zone was, however, gathered to sit on the fence, over the choice of Secondus.
Nigerian Tribune source revealed that a former governor from the zone appeared to be the arrowhead of the opposition to the emergence of Secondus. He has the support of a governor from one of the smallest states in the zone.
The source further revealed that opposing governors from the zone may settle for an aspirant from the South-West believed to have the same political clout and experience in the administration of the national secretariat of the party.
While the South-South governors are divided on choice of candidate, the northern delegates have equally been polarised by presidential aspirants from the zone, who have since thrown their weight behind certain chairmanship aspirants.
Investigation by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who, at the weekend, resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may be backing former education minister, Professor Tunde Adeniran, for the office of national chairman.
Atiku’s main rival for the PDP presidential ticket and former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, may back former Ogun State governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel.
In a related development, in a move to forestall orchestrated plot of a parallel convention in December, certain leaders of the party may, this week, make a demand for the postponement of the convention.
A source privy to the move told the Nigerian Tribune e that the troubleshooting initiative of the team made up of former governors and ministers was to calm frayed nerves and listen to all aggrieved aspirants.
“It is obvious that the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee is not ready for a serious, transparent convention. It is either they sit up or they are shoved aside,” the source said.
It will be recalled that two of the aspirants for the office of national chairman, Chief George and Professor Adeniran, had petitioned the committee and accused it of working to ensure that a particular aspirant from the South-South emerge as national chairman in December.
Reacting, Secondus regretted personal attacks and blackmail characterising the campaign.
He, therefore, called for a change of attitude among the contestants.
In a statement issued in Abuja, on Sunday, he said though he was not worried by such campaign of calumny, he was, however, constrained to call for a return to focus on issues.
Signed by his media officer, Bisi Ezekiel, the statement said “we are not perturbed by the many attacks as we hold tight to the spirit and letter of agreement entered into by all aspirants at the Wadata Plaza.
“We have resolved never to raise a finger against fellow aspirants but to run issue-based campaign that dwells on our agenda for the party.
“We are resisting temptations to retaliaite against savage attacks and falsehood, but instead concentrating our energies on wooing delegates and convincing them that we are the best for the leadership at this material time,” he said.
Secondus, while admonishing the contestants to focus on getting the support of delegates to the convention, maintained that he would take his message to the party members to convince them that he was the right man for the job.
“There is no desperation in our rule book. We urge other aspirants to make the same pledge, especially as that is what all aspirants entered into under the Wadata pact,” the statement read.
Source: Nigerian Tribune