…Arewa Youths Gun For South West Chairmanship Candidates
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday said former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who announced his return to the PDP on Sunday, will not enjoy special consideration as he seeks the party’s ticket for the 2019 presidential election.
No aspirant to elective offices would enjoy any concession, the PDP said.
This much became known through the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
Makarfi spoke on Monday while inaugurating the National Convention Planning Committee of the party in Abuja.
The committee would handle the party convention coming up this Saturday.
Earlier, at a press conference addressed by Arewa PDP Pathfinders, the contentious issue of sub-zoning of the national chairmanship position cropped up.
The group insisted that it would amount to cheating if the South-West was not allowed to produce the chairman at the convention.
Abdullahi Ali-Kano, Coordinator of the group, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, urged the party Caretaker Committee and all stakeholders not to allow vested interests jeopardise the interest of the party in the December 9 convention.
Speaking on the return of Atiku to the PDP, Makarfi explained that the former vice president did not seek any special concession or special terms, but that he returned to the party on his own will.
Makarfi said Atiku was highly welcome back to the PDP.
He said: “The Waziri Adamawa did not seek any special concession, any special term; he joined on his own term and decision.
“The party did not extend any special concession to him. I don’t think it will extend any special concession to anybody other than what is due to him and what will be due to anybody of his own status that will be coming into the party.
“It is only right that you accord such people such recognition and status they deserved.”
Throwing more light on the position of the party on Atiku’s return, Makarfi said: “I read in some papers as if the party made a deal to concede something to him – far from the truth.
“He never asked for anything and we never offered anything. Whatever aspiration he or anybody coming to PDP may have, they will be free to pursue them.
“PDP men and women are free to pursue whatever aspirations they have.
“The party will give a level playing field for everybody to exercise their right to give mandate to whoever they want to give it to.”
Makarfi, however, said the party was expecting many more people like Atiku, but added that some media houses only decided to make news out of his return.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, said the board was ready to partner with the National Working Committee, Governors’ Forum, and all other stakeholders in the party to ensure the success of the national convention.
He urged the party members to “run away” from acts that may negatively affect the convention.
On the speculation that some BoT members were sponsoring a particular chairmanship candidate, Senator Jubrin said the “BoT has no hidden agenda.”
In his response, Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State governor and Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, gave assurances that the “electoral process will be free, fair, and credible.”
Ali-Kano of Arewa PDP Pathfinders said the group was in total support of the position taken by northern leaders to zone the chairmanship of the party to the South-West.
According to him, the PDP northern leaders only re-echoed the position of the PDP Southern leaders meeting which held in Rivers in May, 2016, hours after the conclusion of the national convention which gave birth to the National Caretaker Committee.
“We wish to categorically state that we strongly align ourselves with the position of the Northern elders and leaders for equity, justice, unity, and cohesion of the party,” he said.
Ali-Kano called on Northern delegates to heed the decision to ensure justice and equity in the party.
He also called on the Caretaker Committee and all stakeholders not to allow vested interests jeopardise the overall interest of the party.
Governor Okowa issued a warning to all aspirants and delegates to be of good behaviour before, during, and after the convention.
Speaking with newsmen after the inaugural meeting of the main organising committee of the convention, Governor Okowa said far-reaching decisions were taken with a view to ensuring a hitch-free convention on Saturday.
“The venue of the convention is the Eagle Square. It has been secured and we have had a lot of discussions concerning the need for accreditation, securing the venue, and also the electoral process.
“We are very confident that a lot is being put in place and between now and Friday, we would have been able to achieve every other thing that we need to do to deliver a credible convention.
“We need to make this announcement to all our party members and well-wishers that the convention is going to be for delegates, and we are expecting a little less than 3000 delegates.
“And those delegates have been properly accredited by the accreditation committee.
“And for those our party members that are going to come, they are welcome to Abuja but they will not be allowed to come to the Eagle Square, and this is because we want to be sure that we are in a position to deliver a credible elective convention.
“Movement will have to be somehow restricted to some important personalities who ordinarily will love to be around.
“We are trying to put all these processes in place so that we don’t overcrowd the venue.
“I want to urge aspirants to the various positions to, please, keep their campaigners away from the convention venue, and we believe all campaigns would have stopped by Friday.
“I will not expect any aspirant, especially presidential aspirants, to bring their campaign posters, campaigners, men, or women to the venue because it will not be allowed.
“And we want to appeal to all of them campaigning to desist from doing that.
“For those who want to campaign for future election, possibly the presidential aspirants, this convention is not the place to display campaign posters or to display their intentions.
“I believe there will be an appropriate convention for that. I want to urge them to cooperate with us as a committee.”