A former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has given reasons why he believes he should be the candidate of the party for next year’s presidential election.
Makarfi also said there is an attempt to foist a sick president on Nigeria with the much publicised 800metres walk by President Muhammadu Buhari during Sallah celebration.
Buhari had during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration in Daura, Katsina State, walked from the praying ground to his home, a distance said to be about 800m.
“President Buhari’s 800m walk which the APC (the ruling party) had said is an indication that he is fit for another term, was an indication that he is not fit, APC is hiding something,” Makarfi said in Ado Ekiti on Saturday while wooing PDP members.
“As for me, my own walk is limitless. I walk every day and I don’t need to make political capital out of that because of aspiration.”
Although it had been reported the president did the trek to show his physical fitness to run for president next year, Buhari himself clarified his reason for the walk.
He said he walked the distance so his constituents could see him freely.
“This is my constituency, the people came out in their large numbers to see me and the car in which I was being driven had tinted windows,” Buhari said in a statement by his office.
“They were not seeing me so I came down so they could see me. I didn’t need to convince anyone about my health and the decision to contest for a second term-a decision that I made public in April this year.”
Makarfi’s statement came despite the president’s clarification.
The former senator, who was in Ekiti State to interact with PDP delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primaries, also said the APC would not be able to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki as the party lacks even a simple majority to so do.
Two-thirds of Nigeria’s 109 senators are required to remove Saraki from office.
Makarfi dismissed the call by the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, for Saraki’s resignation to avoid removal.
He said the removal of the senate president remained a constitutional matter.
“We know the figures, the APC don’t even have the simple majority not to talk of two-third to impeach Saraki, so this call is diversionary,” he said.
“Senate President Saraki cannot be impeached because the figure to impeach him is not there and the APC can never get it.”
The former Kaduna governor promised to ensure a holistic restructuring of Nigeria if voted president.
Mr. Makarfi told the delegates that he restructured Kaduna State from tribal sentiments and gross infrastructural deficit and underdevelopment. He said he made the state a secured environment until “the APC government returned insecurity and underdevelopment to the state.”
He said his past records as chairman of the PDP when he was able to ensure the survival of the party, and efforts as chairman of the Senate committee on finance make him a qualified candidate for president.
“First of all is the restructure of the country to make it good for everybody. Restructuring of the security and creation of jobs and infrastructure development in all respects and promoting the private sector so that it can become effective employer of labour,” he noted.
“We have also looked at some issues of protocol that we have which have negative impact in the country. Any issue of protocol that doesn’t serve national interest in terms of security we will dialogue with other country where they have got it right and restructure ours.
“I have been tested and proven myself as governor of Kaduna State as selected chairman of committee of finance. My records are there; and as party chairman of PDP when people were not given the chance to make the party to survive. I was able to bring everybody together and ensure that the party survived and that is why many more people are defecting to PDP and they are all welcome.
“I am straight forward person and do not say one thing in the morning and turn it another thing in the evening.
“The problems facing Kaduna when I became governor are the problem facing Nigeria now; mutual distrust between tribes, poor infrastructural, economic and educational standards and others.
“We restructured Kaduna, people didn’t believe because military failed them; but we did. Sadly, APC has returned insecurity to Kaduna.”
Makarfi is one of the many presidential aspirants of the PDP. Others include a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Saraki; Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; and ex-governors Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shekarau, and Rabiu Kwankwaso.