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PDP rules out special concession for Atiku, others

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)
05 December 2017   |   4:26 am
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruled out granting special concession to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and others who defected from other parties.

Ahmed Makarfi

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruled out granting special concession to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and others who defected from other parties.

It however declared that Atiku has made no request for any special concession.

Chairman of PDP national caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who made this known while inaugurating the convention planning committee in Abuja, yesterday said that the party is committed to adhering strictly to its rules for the convention.

He allayed the fears of PDP members over the possibility of the party imposing a presidential candidate on them in 2019.

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 about his return. His excellency, Waziri Adamawa, did not seek for any special concession. He joined on 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.

“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. The party will give a level-playing field for party men and women to exercise their right.”

Makarfi also warned against attempts by those he called very disloyal party men to sabotage the party’s efforts in conducting a successful convention.

He expressed satisfaction with Tuesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti, which nullified the judgment of a High Court that would have affected the smooth conduct of the December 9 national convention.

Makarfi urged all contestants to go about their campaign with decorum.

Also, the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin, declared that the board is ready to partner with the National Working Committee, Governors Forum and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the national convention.
He urged the party members to “run away” from act that may negatively affect the convention.

The chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa gave assurance that the “electoral process will be free, fair and credible.”

Meanwhile, the National Secretary of the caretaker committee, Chief Ben Obi, has said that the national convention would deepen democracy and set the tone for its winning the 2019 general elections.

He told The Guardian that the PDP was on the verge of restoring confidence of Nigerians in the leadership of the country, stressing that the party was committed to credible convention that could produce acceptable candidates, despite present challenges.

He said the goodwill and strong imprint, which the PDP has made in the minds of Nigerians
were gradually returning to the party.

Obi stated that the Ahmed Makarafi national caretaker committee has used the opportunity offered to it to reposition the party to the delight of its founding fathers, stressing that the “PDP remains a strong brand”.

The former Presidential Adviser said: “The way we have gone so far is such that nobody can stop us from fielding a candidate in 2019. If you go through the length and breadth of this country, people are already yearning for PDP to come

“And as long as we are able to get our acts together, I’m sure the PDP will see victory again in 2019.’’