Former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has expressed doubt on the recent support of restructuring by the All Progressives Congress (APC), describing the move as “height of deception” and a ploy by the ruling party to win votes in 2019.
This was just as he declared that the PDP does not in anyway feel threatened by the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (NCM), the group formed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Makarfi said this at the weekend in Lagos while speaking with journalists on the report recently submitted to the Presidency by the Malam Nasir El-Rufai-led APC Committee on Restructuring.
According to him, the “sudden change in tone” of the ruling party regarding the issue of restructuring is the height of deception, urging Nigerians to be wary of what he termed “the antics of the APC.”
The PDP chieftain, who recalled a world press conference he addressed months back when the issue of restructuring came about, said he had on that occasion described the APC as a chameleon that changes its colour, declaring that the PDP had right from the beginning supported restructuring on the basis of which the party organized the National Conference in 2014.
“I addressed a world press conference when this matter came up many months ago and said that the APC is like a chameleon that changes its colour. Right from the beginning, the PDP supported restructuring and that was one of the reasons why we organized the National Conference in 2014.
“You will recall that not too long ago, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and the National Chairman of APC, John Oyegun, were on television for a one-hour programme and when they were asked about this, they said that it was not important and that it was not even part of their party manifesto. That was what they said.
“And the following day, I featured and I was asked the same question about restructuring and I repeated what I said during the press conference that all the processes leading to restructuring were initiated by former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan who were all members of the PDP.
“All the past national conferences were conducted by the PDP and some of them bothered by the need to restructure. We could not abandon what we started but what is important is that since restructuring means different things to different people, the starting point is to narrow down your understanding on it and proceed stage by stage because there are short, medium and long-term goals.
“For a party which had always spoken against restructuring to now turn around and say that they have to restructure because they want to win an election is deceitful. They have now changed their position because elections are approaching; that is a height of deception. And it is for Nigerians to take them for what they are; people who will use everything to remain in power not because they mean it,” Makarfi said.
On the formation of a political coalition by former President Obasanjo, Senator Makarfi said the coalition was not a threat to PDP, adding that its chief promoter had since declared that it was not a political party.
“We don’t feel threatened by the Coalition for Nigerian Movement because most of them are our friends and associates. They said they are not a political party, but time will tell. If they metamorphosed into a political party, we will see how the game would be played. But President Olusegun Obasanjo himself said that any day they change into a political party, he will cease to be a member,” Makarfi said.
He, however, said his desire was to see the coalition operate like the Independents in the United States with the primary focus of assessing candidates on whatever political platform before deciding on which one to support for the election.
“My take is that the coalition would act like the Independents in the US, who look at the candidates whether Republican or Democrats to decide which party to support. But time will tell what their agenda is, but whatever it is, we are not threatened,” the PDP chieftain said.