The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caretaker committee, Ahmed Makarfi , has said only the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, and convention could decide who emerges the party’s chairman.
Mr. Makarfi was responding to claims that he was trying to influence the outcome of the contest for the chairmanship position which will take place at the party’s convention slated for December.
Mr. Makarfi, who said this while addressing journalists at the party’s secretariat in Abuja ahead of a peace parley between the National Caretaker Committee, and aspirants for the top slot, said only the best candidate would emerge from the contest.
“It is still up to NEC to decide, in addition to whatever the convention decides.
“So far, the decision on who can contest as chairman has been made. If today or tomorrow any other decision of the party is made, we’ll implement that decision,” Mr. Makarfi said.
“I want to make one thing categorically clear about unfair insinuations. Some people think that I, as the chairman of the caretaker committee should assume the power that I don’t have.
“We have no power beyond the convention and I want to remind all of us, the only thing the party did was to zone positions and as chairman or caretaker committee, you cannot go beyond that”, he added.
Also addressing the aspirants, he said the party leadership was putting measures in place to ensure a peaceful convention and harmony between the regions.
“We have been calling on the north and south to put themselves together.
‘‘Whether north or south, we must subject ourselves to what the NEC decides in respect to the matters before us in the leadup of the elective convention.
“We said that we should meet with you (aspirants) and discuss with you and hear from you to know your contribution to making proper preparation for the convention.’’
Also, Bode George, a former military governor of Ondo state who spoke with journalists, said with the preparations put in place by the party, only the best candidate can emerge winner at the end.
“We had a very useful meeting with the NCC. We agreed that we will remain civil, educate our followers because it is a family contest and not a matter of life and death.
“We have agreed and you can see us now holding our hands. There is no quarrel, let the best man win. That is the spirit of the party, that is the spirit we are sending to the public because we want to win the minds and hearts of the public that we are better managers.
“If we can manage our party and our states, we will be able to manage this country,’’ Mr. George said.
When asked if the candidates were considering agreeing on a consensus candidate as suggested recently by the Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, Mr. George said they all agreed ‘‘to work as a team.’’
“Whatever it is, whether consensus or not, we are moving together as a team. The party is bigger than any individual. Nobody will be aggrieved,” he said.
Aspirants for the position present at the meeting include DAAR Communication boss, Raymond Dokpesi; former Ogun state governor, Gbenga Daniel; former education minister, Tunde Adeniran; former Lagos state governorship aspirant, Jimi Agbaje; former Oyo state governor, Rasheed Ladoja, and erstwhile acting chairman, PDP, Uche Secondus.
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