By Suleiman Idris, Abuja
Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee, has said he has not ruled out the possibility of contestesting the party’s presidential ticket in spite of the defection of Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President to the party.
Makarfi who spoke in an interview in the current edition of The Interview magazine, noted that the former Vice President is returning to the party before its convention.
“Atiku left before, he’s on his way back before the (party’s) convention,” he said
Atiku who announced his formal return to PDP on Sunday via a video he posted on Facebook is believed to be gunning for the PDP’s presidential ticket.
In response to a question about his own interest, Makarfi said, “I have heard the rumour, it has been there since 2007…I have thought of it. By the time I leave as caretaker committee chairman on 9th or 10th, there’ll still be ten months to the party primaries. By any law or the party’s guidelines, I’m not excluded.”
In a statement, Azu Ishiekwene, the MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview, described the edition as “the most revealing disclosure yet of the inner workings of the opposition trying to come to terms with its uncertain future.”
Even though the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket for 2019 to the North, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti is playing the wild card.
Makarfi told The Interview that Fayose’s declaration of interest in the party’s presidential ticket, “is uncalled for and unhealthy.”
Apart from his comment on the build-up of interest in the party’s presidential ticket, Makarfi also said the PDP was expecting a harvest of defections, after Abubakar’s move from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“For some strategic reasons,” he said, “don’t expect a lot of people to move to the PDP now. People are in APC for different reasons. Wait for the time when everybody will be on his own, you will see the influx of people into the PDP.”
He spoke on the bitter contest for the party’s chairmanship, probably the most dangerous threat since the Supreme Court ruling saved the party from extinction; and on his rival former Governor Ali Modu-Sheriff, whom he said had sponsors in the APC.
Makarfi, who came close to being the PDP’s presidential nominee in 2006, revealed, for the first time, how former President Olusegun Obasanjo schemed him out, even though an internal party assessment had returned him as the most favourable candidate.