Former Kaduna State governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, headed the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that organised the election of its new leadership last December 9. In this interview with Saxone Akhaine, he spoke on how the PDP is being repositioned to win the 2019 presidential election.
And essentially, it was the first of such meetings after the election of new national officers of the party. The activities of the relevant organs of the party were reviewed, what they are doing and what they plan to do.
So, the meetings were all right and we are satisfied with what the organs of the party have set out to do and what they have set out to go about.
How true is it that one of the southern governors is working for a particular candidate who may likely undermine the chances of PDP presidential dream?
This is absolutely false. To the best of my knowledge such a thing is not going on. I know that our governors are working together as a forum and they interact with the party. But I am not aware of anything having to do with the issue of candidature for 2019.
Of course, interested people and party members are expressing their interests, and they are going round. Nobody had been encumbered of doing so. The party has been receptive to all those who have shown interest.
So, a level playing field is being created for people to interact as aspirants, not just for the presidential ticket but also for other offices. That is what I know is going on at the moment.
Your supporters in Kaduna are calling on you to contest the presidency. Will you oblige them?
Such clamour is not limited to Kaduna. I know that a number of meetings were reported to have taken place in Kaduna, especially by the Northern groups, including northern states and the FCT.
And there are also other clarion calls in show of solidarity and support has been coming from different quarters of the country. I have been consulting and will continue consult and I will take note of all that is happening.
But, largely, I am a party man and we would see what happens down the line. You cannot rule out any particular thing in respect of any politician. Let us see what the consultation produces.
Transparency International (TI) recently marked Buhari very low on anti corruption crusade in Nigeria? What is your assessment of the situation?
The general impression has been that the APC government is not doing well and it is high time Nigerians voted them out of office. One may not question some of the initial intention or existing intention, but there was a lot of propaganda, which propelled the party into power.
So, there was lack of preparation and division in the government right from day one. And this division has continued to widen. You can see the current effort of dealing with the divisions and bringing reconciliation under Asiwaju Tinubu, who is my good friend and also a leader.
When you are doing reconciliation and you are the one calling for the party leadership to go. Who is now to reconcile you and your party leadership? That is to show you that reconciliation is really impossible basically in that party. And when a party is divided, it can’t even govern.
How will you give a party that is divided the responsibility of governing a country like Nigeria and expect growth and development? It is absolutely impossible.
We went through our crisis, but not that we don’t have other minor problems but how can you compare them with what is simmering in the APC, the ruling party today.
Security in the country has worsened; when we were in power and before we handed over power, largely it was the problem in the Northeast.
However, the problem there today is not over. We were talking of the kidnap of the Chibok girls, now what about the Daptchi girls? Nothing has changed. Maybe some successes were recorded initially, but then, government may be relaxed and we are now getting back to square one.
Kidnapping is rampant, all kinds of conflicts like the herdsmen/farmers crisis, other forms of banditry in Zamfara State and others. There is hardly any part of this country that is not facing one form of security challenge or the other. That was not the case under the PDP.
And of course, when we talk of corruption, we all concurred that when you have a major problem such as corruption, you cannot approach it as a problem of one party. You treat it as a national problem where all of us should sign on to a certain code of conduct in the country.
But when it is allowed to be politicized by people with one thing or the other against political opponents and they tend to use agencies of repute, soiling them by putting pressure on them to take up political cases and then corruption continue to go on.
If some Nigerians don’t see it that way, the international community is seeing it. We should stop this attitude of chasing a few because they are not in power. And allow those in power to continue with the worse kind of corruption that we have ever witnessed.
So, we need to approach this issue as a national problem and let all of us sit down together, let’s know where we have all erred, let’s know the code of conduct we should draw, let’s know what we must do and what we must not do.
We will stop the menace of corruption in the country better that way. But it is now taken that because you are in power, you cannot be said to be corrupt. If you are, nobody talks about you until you leave office.
That is not a good way to look at it. It will send the wrong signal. Even if the agencies are doing their best, you will soil their work by politicizing certain issues and allowing them taking the lime light. People will see through that and that is what people will talk about.
So, that is why in my opinion the low ranking of Transparency International.
Two factions of the APC in Kaduna are literally demolishing each other. What could be the effect of the politics of the state?
It is a matter internal to the APC and I will not want to go deep into affairs of other party. But in general, everything in life is temporary. And irrespective of which party, whether it is PDP or APC and we find ourselves in power, we must exercise the power with a lot of decorum. We must be patient; more patient than our followers.
We find executive excesses in many states, reactions and over reactions in many states, irrespective of party, and that is not healthy. But, of course it is 90 percent of it coming from APC-led government. And this will not augur well for the development of our democracy.
Except when reminded, I tend to forget that I was once a governor in Kaduna state. I tell you the truth. Most times I forget that I was even once a governor.
That is life. So, whether you are a governor of any state, a legislator, minister or president you must be careful. Whether you are GOC, Service Chief, Commissioner of Police and IG of Police, you must be careful. Because you don’t know when you will be called to account.
There will come a time in Nigeria that you can’t hide under the camp that you are following others. When Nigerians may request that people who allowed themselves to be used for illegal actions should be hold to account for their deeds. In a society, which goes under a lot of suppression, it will surely burst and people will be held to account in future.
So, mine is a call to all of us that this power is something in trust on behalf of Nigerians and for the benefit of the people. We will be offended one way or the other, but if that is the case, we should guide our actions so that we don’t over react. Even this applies to all agencies of government who are taking others to do some things. You may be call to account