A former Governor of Kaduna State and immediate past Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has joined the race to contest the nation’s presidency in 2019.
The two-term-senator said at a press briefing in Kaduna on Sunday that after wide consultations with party men and women as well as other major stakeholders, he had decided to seek the party’s nomination to contest the poll.
According to Makarfi, he is now ready to pick the PDP nomination form ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
He explained that after the consultations, the result was quite positive and encouraging and that it was fair enough for him to come out and join other “capable party men and women” to seek the party’s nomination for the 2019 presidential election.
Makarfi will battle a former Vice President and presidential hopeful of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who had recently appointed a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Director-General of his 2019 presidential campaign.
Though he had yet to intimate his party through writing, he added that “one has to come to the decision to seek the nomination before you even seek formally.”
He said, “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.
“At this stage, it is to seek the party’s nomination. The successful nominee will become the candidate that will stand for the election.
“But first thing first. If one’s party does not put one forward, one can’t say he is contesting the presidency yet. At this stage, I have come to the conclusion that it is okay, based on the consultations that I have had.”
“I have been consulting across the country since I left as the chairman of the party. It’s just consultations and not an 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.”
Makarfi also noted that he had all it took to lead Nigerians to the promise land and thanked the All Progressives Congress for campaigning for the PDP through “bad governance.”
“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,” he said.
He added that anybody that could manage Kaduna State, which he described as ‘mini Nigeria’, could as well govern the country.
He said, “For me, I have known governance for some time 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-term of eight years.
“I got a bonanza, when the party leadership fell on my laps, 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 cannot manage a complex society such as Kaduna State, which is a mini Nigeria, you cannot manage Nigeria,” the former governor added.
When asked if he would quit the party should he fail to realise his ambition on the platform of the PDP, the former governor said he would support whoever emerged as the candidate of the party among Atiku, a former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke; a former Jigawa Governor, Sule Lamido; and a host of others.
In an apparent reference to the nPDP members in APC, the former governor called on them to come back home, noting that it was obvious that most of them were no longer needed in the ruling party.
“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?,” Makarfi queried.