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.
â€œI have been consulting since I left office as chairman. I have been consulting across the country and you know what consultation means.
â€œConsultation 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.
â€œI 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 partyâ€™s nomination for the 2019 presidential electionâ€ 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.
â€œWe 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.
â€œI came into government from the private sector – banking sector.
â€œSo I have experience in the private sector, especially the banking industryâ€ he said.
Responding to questions, Makarfi said that â€œI governed the state for eight years, a complex state.
â€œSo 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.
â€œIf you canâ€™t manage your party, even if you are elected, you have problems governing. If you canâ€™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.
â€œAgain if you canâ€™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.
â€œThese are to me, advantages, but of course it doesnâ€™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.
â€œSo I believe I have these advantages. Others also have their advantages, but at the end of the day the people decideâ€.
Speaking further, he said the crisis rocking the APC has brightened the chances of the PDP in the 2019 election.
â€œWe 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 themâ€ he said.
He maintained that: â€œThere 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.
â€œThe 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.
â€œWe donâ€™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.
â€œAfter all the court says it is illegal and if you want to postpone now, you will be doing an act of illegality.
â€œThey 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 forwardâ€
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.
â€œI 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.
â€œBut 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.
â€œWe 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.
â€œBut 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) â€œSarasukaâ€.
â€œThe insecurity elements are becoming numerous and if we allow this to spread out, the entire country will not be safeâ€ he said.