BEN AGANDE, ABUJA.
The Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) caretaker committee, Ahmed Makarfi, defended the decision to reserve the Chairmanship slot for the Southwest zone but explained that it was not intended to short changed anybody.
Ahmed Makarfi made this known in his remarks during the inauguration of the convention planning committee of the party in Abuja on Friday.
He said “I recall when we last met here to inaugurate the zoning committee and I mentioned on behalf of the caretaker committee that the convention would be an all-inclusive one and that offices to be contested for would be open to all and sundry, that doesn’t mean people cannot come together to zone offices.
If zoning does not favour you and you still think that you have the best chance of winning, the political landscape is there. It’s up to you to campaign across the country to get enough delegates to support you. Zoning doesn’t mean you have been excluded, it is meeting of the minds. And it is for every aspirant to assess by himself or herself whether he or she has the capacity to garner more support than.
Collection of people that come together to have a common position. So, I don’t want people to have the impression that they have been excluded from the process. After all democracy is about minority will have their say, majority will have their way. But in PDP, we have the culture of coming together to be one family so that both minority and majority work together for the good of the PDP.”
Meanwhile, the gentleman agreement to reserve the Chairmanship position to the South west zone had been violated.
One of the aspirants, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who had disagreed with the zoning was the first to pick his form at the PDP national secretariat yesterday.
According to him, the zoning was not legally binding on any aspirants.
It was gathered that during the meeting of the Southern PDP stakeholders in Port Harcourt on Thursday night, a vote was taken to decide on whether it should go to the South west or not.
89 of the 92 stakeholders present voted in favour of South West while three voted against.
Also yesterday, a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George, picked his form to contest the Chairmanship position.
In an interview shortly after he collected his form, George said his main agenda was to stabilise the party.
He said “It takes an experienced captain to stabilise a ship hit by tornado. And if you know the crisis in PDP, that is the position the party is facing right now. But I am happy that all is not lost, and the condition has been enhanced.
“Zoning has gone extremely well. I have paid my dues in this party and I should not be afraid of anybody. Since 1999, I never left the party to anyone. I met crisis and problem, I have been able to resolve that. I have risen meritoriously from Vice Chairman South West to Deputy Chairman South and Deputy Chairman overall. I have been able to resolve problems.
He added:”If people vote for me, I look forward to stabilise the party and put it in right position. The ruling party should get ready for serious engagement because we have started a cohesive battle ahead 2019.
So this job requires commitment, determination; it requires justice and fairness. They know me, they know me for that in the secretariat here.
Trying to come back it is like looking back, we are lucky we got a bloody nose not a technical knockout; we will rise again.
“Everybody will have to come on board even those of our friends who were angry and left for APC they are tenants there because they were landlords in PDP. If we are lucky and we get the right leadership who is fair and just and committed in the party, they will come back.”
The party had earlier announced the nomination fees for the various positions available for contest.
The sum of One million naira is to be charged for the position of chairman while N500, 000 will be charged for deputy chairmanship position and national secretary.
Other positions would attract a nomination fee of N300,000.