The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it has no evidence to show that the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee (NCC), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, is nursing a presidential ambition.
The party also bemoaned its loss at the just concluded Anambra State governorship election held last Saturday, blaming the defeat on the rebellious activities of some of its members.
While responding to allegations of bias levelled by two chairmanship aspirants against the Makarfi-led NCC, PDP insisted that it would not be dragged into the controversy over micro zoning ahead of the December 9 national convention.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the spokesman of the party, Dayo Adeyeye, said the caretaker committee was aligning itself with the position of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and convention on the zoning of the presidency and the national chairman to North and South respectively.
He said as far as the NCC is concerned, it has decided to distance itself from negotiations over micro zoning of national offices of the party.
Adeleye said the party leadership recognises that both North and South may politically micro zone positions to geo-political zones and the geo-political zones to states, but that such arrangement should be done without recourse to PDP headquarters.
Commenting specifically on the issues raised by Chief Bode George and Prof. Tunde Adeniran Adeyeye, described the assertions as wild and not specific.
Adeniran’s letter had specifically mentioned five names out of about 216 names appointed to oversee the conduct of state congresses whom he alleged are interested parties in the chairmanship tussle.
When asked to comment on the allegation that Makarfi is interfering in the process due to his presidential ambition, Adeyeye dismissed the issue, saying the party is not aware of any such ambition.
Regarding the continued face-off between the party and one of its leaders from the South-west, Senator Buruji Kashamu, the PDP’s spokesman accused the senator of disobedience and trying to arm-twist the party using spurious court injunctions to forestall any sanction against him.
Adeyeye said the party is assuring all that it will pay special attention to the conduct of delegate congresses to ensure fairness.
“It pains us that on the one hand Chief Bode George who is fully aware of the pains we are still going through in Lagos in order to fairly and equitably carry everybody on board to the extent that we are being accused by others as siding with him is the same person accusing us of impunity,” he said.
On the preparations for the convention, Adeyeye said the party had asked chairmanship aspirants to make input so that they have their eyes and ears in each committee.
“It was only George that did not attend the meeting we had with the aspirants,” he said.
On the lack-lustre performance of the party in the just concluded Anambra State election, Adeyeye said many PDP members voted APGA back to office.
“We do agree that the Anambra State issue is a self inflicted injury which has been with the state since after the 2003 general election. In the last governorship election, we are aware that it is some of our members that supported and vote APGA to victory.
“Irrespective of the perfections or imperfections of our party primaries and the outcome, PDP Anambrarians had developed conflicting mindsets. We did our best to bring all under one caretaker committee hoping that things will work out well,” Adeyeye stated.
On membership of committees supervising the congresses in respective states and the FCT, Adeyeye said the party never took nominations from any candidate but from the states and other organs of the party.
“We wish to remind all that it’s the state chapters that actually conduct congresses. The committees only compile the results and attend to appeals after which they file their reports to the party headquarters.
“When all reports are filed by the committees, we shall summon the states chairmen to come with their copies and reconfirm the results at a date to be fixed and all bonafide interest groups will be welcomed to witness it. This is to reassure everybody that validly elected delegates list is not tampered with,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the party’s chairmanship aspirants, Uche Secondus, has refuted claims that he is being supported by the chairman of the party’s caretaker committee, Makarfi.
He also said it is not true that the chairmanship position was micro-zoned to South-west geo-political zone, adding that the position was zoned to the 17 states in the South, same the presidential ticket of the PDP for 2019 polls was zoned to the 19 states in the North, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Secondus, who served as acting national chairman of the PDP before handing over to Senator Modu Sheriff stated that the party’s national secretariat in Abuja after submitting his nomination form.
While dispelling insinuation over his links to Makarfi, the former party scribe said that it is true that the National Caretaker Committee chairman is not paving way for his emergence.
“No truth in it. I have been going round quietly and canvassing for votes. I have not held any meeting with Makarfi and he has not endorsed me,” he said.
Secondus explained that during the botched national convention of the opposition party, when the chairmanship was micro-zoned, he did not bother contest for the seat.
There was not time in this time that the office (national chairmanship) was micro zoned.
“The office of national chairman zoned to 17 southern states of the federation. president zoned to 19 states. Let’s not dwell in misinterpretation: aspirants know this unless they want to be mischievous.”
However, a former Minister of Women Affair, Hajia Inna Ciroma said, the PDP needs men and women of integrity to lead it to the next general election.
Ciroma, who is contesting for the position of the PDP Deputy National Chairman (North) in the December 9 convention of the party, stated this yesterday after submitting her nomination form at the party secretariat.
She blamed the loss of power by the PDP on disobedience to its rules but urged delegates to the convention to be guided by the antecedents of the various aspirants in choosing the next members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC).
Ciroma said: “Nigerians believe PDP will come back to power. I want delegates to think critically before they vote. We want people who will deliver this party. We should not vote based on sentiments. We should look at antecedents. We must ensure that imposition does not continue in the party.”