UPDATED: We didn’t give Atiku special concession – Makarfi
Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has said the party didn’t give any concessions to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who rejoined the party at the weekend.
Makarfi stated this on Monday while inaugurating the national convention committee of the party. The National Elective Convention is billed for December 9, 2017.
The convention committee is headed by Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, while the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, will serve as deputy chairman of the committee.
Makarfi said: “As you must have read, one of the founding fathers of this party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, declared for the PDP yesterday. He is highly welcome.
“We are expecting more people like him. They might not have been former Vice Presidents but they are weighty individuals in their own rights. PDP will continue to receive both serving and former this and former that.
“But I also want to correct some media reports out of his return. His Excellency, Waziri Adamawa, did not seek for any special concession. He joined in his own will. And the party did not extend any special concession to anybody other than what is due to him. It is only then that we will accord such people such recognition and status that they deserve.
“He (Atiku) never asked for anything and we never offered anything. Whatever aspirations he or anybody coming to PDP may have, they will be free to pursue them. So are all other PDP men and women are free to pursue whatever political aspirations they may have.”
He however assured that the party will give a level-playing field to party members to exercise their rights.
The development comes as Okowa pointed out that the committee has banned the use of presidential, governorship and other campaign banners and posters at the convention venue – Eagles Square, Abuja.
The governor added that campaigns for various national offices of the party will end on Friday.
He revealed that an appropriate convention would be held to chose a presidential candidate in future, stressing that they intend to decongest the convention ground as much as possible on Saturday.
Besides Atiku who is strongly linked to the presidential ticket, Makarfi has also been touted as being interested in flying the party’s flag in 2019. The Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo and former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Baffarwa is also said to be interested in the race.
However former governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau and Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose have formally declared their intention to contest the party’s presidential ticket in 2019.
Also speaking, the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) Walid Jibrin declared that the board is 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 are sponsoring a particular chairmanship candidate, Jibrin declared that the “BoT has no hidden agenda.”
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja
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