A former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi, says he will contest for Nigeria’s presidency in 2019.
Mr Makarfi, immediate past national caretaker committee chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), made the disclosure in an interview with journalists in Kaduna on Sunday.
According to him, he consulted widely before arriving at the decision though he had not received endorsement from party members.
Mr Makarfi said the consultation gave him an opportunity to feel the pulse of Nigerians.
“The consultations have been quite positive and I believe it is fair enough to come to the conclusion that one should join other equally capable party men and women who have shown interest in seeking the party’s nomination for the 2019 presidential election.
“At this stage, it is to seek for the party’s nomination. The successful nominees will become the candidates that will stand for the election.
“But first thing first. If one’s party does not put him forward, you can’t say you are contesting for presidency yet. At this stage, I have come to the conclusion that it is okay, based on the consultations that I have had,” he said.
The ex-governor said he has what it takes to govern Nigeria, after successfully governing “a complex state like Kaduna for eight years”.
“I have known governance for sometime at state level. I served Kaduna for three years as commissioner for finance and economic planning.
“I came in from the private sector. I have private sector experience, especially banking. I governed this complex state for eight years. I have legislative experience, having been in the Senate for a two-term of eight years.
“I got a bonanza when the party leadership fell on my laps, to know about managing political party.
“If you cannot manage your party, even if you are elected, you will have problems governing. If you can’t manage the legislature and build cordial relationship such that key legislations that can take this country forward are passed, then governance becomes complex for you.
“If you cannot manage complex society such as Kaduna, which is a mini Nigeria, you cannot manage Nigeria. God has so designed that one has passed through all these processes,” he said.
Mr Makarfi said these experiences are advantages “but of course it does not mean that it is a forgone conclusion.”
“I believe I have these advantages. Managing complex security issues is not new to me. Managing complex people of societies is not new to me.
“If you look at it from that perspective, I am prepared for the job. I served as the Governor of Kaduna State where I was able to mobilise the citizens of Kaduna State, irrespective of where they came from in Nigeria, earned their confidence and they worked with me and supported me and we were able to restore normalcy that people thought was impossible,” he said.
He explained his plans for Nigeria if elected.
“If I am nominated and eventually get elected, my philosophy will not be to go after the opposition. It is to see how I will work with the opposition in any area for the good of all of us while maintaining our independent political opinion over any matter.
“That is how you can bring Nigerians together. And that is when people will not even have any need to cross-carpet. If I get nominated and get elected and I find somebody in APC who can help me do what I want to do, I will look for you without demanding that you join the PDP.
On his chances of clinching his party’s nomination and the party’s success in 2019, Mr Makarfi said the ‘crisis’ rocking the ruling party (APC) is an advantage for his party.
He said the PDP needed to ” thank APC for refusing to govern well and mismanaging its internal crises”.
“We must also thank the APC for working for us because they have been working for us. They have refused to govern well, they have been fighting each other. There are many things for which we can thank them for. There is no way the executive and the legislature can work again as one .
“There is no way the party can be cohesive again. There are elements in government fighting each other and there is nobody to call them to order. We should not expend our energy when somebody is working for us.
“The APC was made up of different parties but they came together for 2015 election. I am sure we will come together.
“It may be an alliance, it can be anything and when that is done, then you will see the direction the opposition will be taking to legitimately wrest power from the APC. We don’t want power through illegitimate ways. We want to legitimately wrest power from the APC.”
He also said the PDP is waiting for the rift threatening to tear the APC apart.
“We heard they are thinking of postponing their conventions. They can postpone but it must certainly come. Afterall, the court says extension is illegal and if you want to postpone now, you will be doing an act of illegality.
“They would have made it easy for us because they will end up without a valid candidate. Whichever way they go, something must give. When we reap that windfall, we will see how strong we are and chart the way forward.”
Mr Makarfi now joins other PDP presidential hopefuls like ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, ex-Jigawa governor Sule Lamido, and Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.