Health challenges: Makarfi urges Buhari to hand over to Osinbajo
. . . Blames sycophants for Jonathan’s defeat in 2015 poll
The chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to hand over power to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo pending his full recovery from his undisclosed illness.
Makarfi, who made the call in an interview with our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, said if President Buhari is not fit enough to remain in office, it’s better to tell the Nigerian people and allow the Vice President to continue as Acting President and return to work after full recovery.
The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that the President would be working from his official residence, after failing to attend the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for three consecutive weeks.
But Makarfi disagreed with the APC’s position, saying, “It cannot be okay and it can never be okay. My take is that if the President is not fully fit to stay in office, it is better that he tell Nigerians, so that the Vice President will continue to be Acting President, exercising the powers of acting president.
“Then you run away from this kind of situation when we allow time for the President to fully recover and assume his mantle of leadership. Me as PDP person, as a human being, I will never wish any human being ill-will even if I disagree with you politically.
“So it does not matter that it is APC that is the person that is sick. May prayer is that he is fit to serve his term. As a politician, I equally want him to finish his term. So when some people begin to insinuate things, of what interest would it be to PDP should the President be unable to finish his term.
“We don’t wish him ill will, we want him to be well, we want him to be fit enough to be on seat when in 2019 we go for election and defeat the APC .
“For a number of reasons, the PDP wishes the President well, for stability of this country, political stability and the fact that we want to defeat a sitting President. We don’t want any confusion politically in this country. It is not good for anybody and as a human being; I never wish anybody ill will irrespective of political differences”.
Makarfi also reacted to the claim by former President Goodluck Jonathan that some prominent members of the PDP from Northern Nigeria, including the erstwhile party chair, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, betrayed him by working against his re-election in the 2015 elections.
The Caretaker Committee chairman said Jonathan was betrayed by sycophants he surrounded himself with, coupled with the fact that the party leadership made many mistakes and failed to take wise counsel.
Said he, “The PDP made many mistakes and I have said it before. Of course there were betrayers left, right and centre, even those of us who stood for other elective offices we can be talking that way.
“We made mistakes; we were not listening to what people had to tell us. We were too comfortable, then of course sycophancy took over and when sycophancy takes over what would you end up with.
“There were all kinds of betrayals. We have learnt our lessons now. I don’t want to cry over spilled milk. We should learn from the mistakes that we have made for not listening to the true voices of the people.
“Going forward, we should try to avoid a situation where we would be saying someone betrayed us. No matter what, you will find Judases here and there and you cannot do away with them in life not even in politics.
“And when they are in majority, you have to look at yourself as a party and the honest truth is that we made fundamental errors. And it created a fertile ground for that betrayal. I am not defending it because it ought not to have happened. And people would have been more patient but not everybody can be patient”.
On the argument by some prominent Northern party chieftains that PDP would have won the 2015 election if the party had fielded a popular candidate from the North, instead of Jonathan, Makarfi agreed that the race would have been easier for the party.
“Yes, the result would have been different, but even then, Jonathan as the candidate if the party had listened a lot more, and rejigged its campaign, its language and the message.
“True or false, the votes difference was about two million. It would have been different even with Jonathan as a candidate. It is not just of him as a candidate, but communicating better and dealing with the right people could have made the situation different.
“But that is history. So we should learn from the mistakes we have made. So you cannot entirely say because Jonathan was a candidate, of course it would have been much easier, but even with him as candidate, the characters fronting for PDP were not characters that could have won election for the party”.
On the future of the PDP, in view of the party’s protracted leadership crisis, Makarfi said his group are waiting for the commencement of its appeal against the court backed National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff. The Supreme Court is to commence hearing in the matter on May 5.
Asked what would be the fate of the PDP should his faction lose the case to Sheriff at the apex court, Makarfi said that would spell the death knell of the crisis-ridden opposition party.
He continued, “If it happens that way, PDP would die. But those who would be working to kill PDP that way, I assure you they would end up being confronted with a bigger political force than the PDP itself.
“Because politics is about people, there is no way, let me speak here for the North that I know so well; there is no way in the North with Sheriff at the helm of affairs of PDP that voters would on their own go and vote PDP. There is no way.
“We have just seen it in a recent election in Delta State that they have turned their back against PDP because of Sheriff. And it may be so in many states of the southern part of this country.
“These people are alive, they are politicians, they are active. Water will surely find its level. And consistently, we have been saying that we are not going to be caught unawares. We are not going to be caught without options.
“We cannot boast of what the Supreme Court judgment would be but we are hopeful that they would do what is right. And in our opinion, what is right is upholding the Convention.
“But should what we think is right not be in law right before the Supreme Court, so be it. We will decide our political direction in good time. And that political direction, I assure you, would be one that would be more potent than the PDP as it is.
“Because PDP as it is, we know that we carry wounds, a lot of stigmatism, a lot of things and in an effort to kill a rat, you may let a lion loose because God Almighty that created us loves us and He looks over everybody.
“God wants something that is good for our people and there is no way you can deny whatever is good for our people no matter the intrigues you apply. You may think you are squeezing people one way, but you may be giving birth to something that you may not be able to squeeze.
“Win or loose, members of PDP have a bright future. So I am saying PDP members should not be bothered because win or loose at the Supreme Court, they have a brighter political future. A decision will be taken at the appropriate time”.
Describing what he described as Sheriff’s sinister antics, the party chief accused some prominent members of the ruling APC of foisting him on the PDP against the wish of the majority.
Said he, “There are invisible hands that are hoisting him, and hoisting him purely with the view to destroying opposition and that is what he is basking in. Nigerians should wake up.
“It is not about PDP, it is about development of democracy and the voice of democracy in Nigeria. And if it is PDP today, it will be another party tomorrow.
“That is what we are standing on and that is what we are fighting for so that tomorrow whichever party may find itself in power will not be able to stop easily or decimate opposition in order to have an easy way.
“You can take a horse to the river, you cannot force it to drink water. And people will decide for themselves at the appropriate time”.
According to him, PDP members across the federation would never remain in the party with Sheriff calling the shots, stressing that the party chairman has gone into financial deal with some APC governors with the sole aim of destabilising the PDP in their various states ahead of the 2019 elections.
“Sheriff is busy factionalising the PDP across the states but we are not going to erect parallel structures in any state in deference to the Appeal Court ruling and in order not to further compound the problem.
“He is doing this for the APC governors to win comfortably in their various states and he is being paid for the job. Sheriff has taken up a job to destroy the PDP for a fee and that is exactly what he is doing”, Senator Makarfi said.
On the fate of the PDP in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, Makarfi said voters in those states will never allow themselves to be without options.
“You see, politics is local, those states are not sleeping. They have their eyes wide open; they would never allow themselves to be without options.
“PDP men and women would never allow themselves to be without options, our prayer is that on May 4, all the motions filed before the Supreme Court would have been heard.
“And if all this are heard, our prayer is that the Supreme Court would do justice in time. And mind you, within the week, even the INEC said this crisis in PDP is affecting its ability to properly plan for elections.
“So this matter is more of elective matter than that of political party issue because every day there are elections and it is causing confusion in the land.
“Our prayer is that the Supreme Court will do justice and in our opinion, justice is respecting what the overwhelming party men and women want and do it in good time.
“Either way, whatever they decide, people would take their position as to what they are going to do and our prayer is that their decision will bring sanity in the land”, he stated. Source: The Nation