By John Shiklam in Kaduna
After prolonged speculations about his presidential ambition, former National Caretaker Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Sunday declared his intention to seek nomination for the 2019 presidency.
In an interview with newsmen in Kaduna, Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State and a two-time senator, said his decision to seek the PDP presidential ticket followed wide consultations with stakeholders across the country.
He also said he was optimistic that the PDP will wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, noting that APC has been working for PDP by failing to deliver on its electoral promises and govern well.
He said his consultations with stakeholders had been positive and encouraging, hence his decision to join other party stalwarts in seeking the mandate of the party for the presidential elections in 2019.
“I have been consulting since I left office as chairman. I have been consulting across the country and you know what consultation means.
“Consultation is not endorsement, but it enables you to feel the pulse and it will tell you whether to go forward or not to go forward and it has been quiet positive.
“I have said before now that consultations have been positive and I believe it is fair enough to come to the conclusion that one should join other capable party men and women who have shown interest in seeking the party’s nomination for the 2019 presidential election” said.
According to him, as someone who had served as governor, senator, party chairman and with his background from the private sector, he is convinced that he has the capacity to lead the country if given the mandate.
“We all have our qualities, but for me, I have known governance for sometimes, at the state level, some of you are aware I served Kaduna state for three years as a commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning.
“I came into government from the private sector – banking sector.
“So I have experience in the private sector, especially the banking industry” he said.
Responding to questions, Makarfi said that “I governed the state for eight years, a complex state.
“So I know governance at that level of chief executive. I have legislative experience, having been there (as senator) for another two terms. I got a bonanza when the party leadership fell on my laps to know about managing political party.
“If you can’t manage your party, even if you are elected, you have problems governing. If you can’t manage the legislature and build cordial relationship so that that key legislation that can move this country forward are passed, then governance also becomes complex.
“Again if you can’t manage conflict in the communities, societies such as Kaduna which is a mini Nigeria, so to say, managing Nigeria in my opinion becomes problematic. God has so designed that one has passed through all these processes.
“These are to me, advantages, but of course it doesn’t mean it is a foregone conclusion. As I said earlier somebody who may not have been part of governance at all, can find himself in a position of governance, but the country can pay a price for that.
“So I believe I have these advantages. Others also have their advantages, but at the end of the day the people decide”.
Speaking further, he said the crisis rocking the APC has brightened the chances of the PDP in the 2019 election.
“We must thank the APC for working for us. They have refused to govern well, they have been fighting each other. There are many things for which we can thank them” he said.
He maintained that: “There is no way the executive and the legislature can work again as one. There is no way the party can be cohesive again. There are elements in government fighting each other and there is nobody to call them to order. We should not expend our energy when somebody is working for us.
“The APC was made up of different parties who came up together for the 2015. 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 that the opposition will legitimately wrest power from the APC.
“We don’t want power through illegitimate ways. Secondly we are waiting for the windfall which we hope will soon come. We heard they they are postponing their convention, they can postpone it but it must certainly come.
“After all the court says it is illegal and if you want to postpone now, you will be doing an act of illegality.
“They would have made it easy for us because they will end up without valid candidate. Whichever way they go, something must give, when we reap that windfall, we will see how strong we are and chart the way forward”
He also decried the increasing insecurity across the country, noting however that there have been some successes in tackling insurgency.
But he said more successes would have been recorded in the fight against insurgents if the component institutions dealing with the fight against insurgency were working as one.
“I have to give credit in the area of Boko Haram, not that it has come to an end. But they have recorded some successes, you cannot take that away from them.
“But the successes would have been much more than what is recorded if as we hear and have been reading, the component institutions dealing with the fight against this insurgency are working as one.
“We hear of rivalry, if it is true, it is unfortunate. All arms of security and armed forces must work as one to deal with the issues of insurgency and insecurity wherever they exist.
“But beyond the issue of insurgency are the herdsmen. It is no longer herdsmen and farmers, it is herdsmen and communities. It spread like wild fire. The criminality along Birnin Gwari Zamfara axis has worsened. Cultism in some places has also worsened. Here in Kaduna we hear of (a street gang) “Sarasuka”.
“The insecurity elements are becoming numerous and if we allow this to spread out, the entire country will not be safe” he said.