The National Caretaker Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmed Makarfi, has disclosed that aspirants with pending corruption cases in court will not be disqualified from contesting the national chairmanship position at the party’s elective convention billed for December 9 in Abuja.
Mr. Makarfi made this declaration while fielding questions from journalists on Saturday in Kaduna when one of the candidates in the national chairmanship race, Gbenga Daniel, alongside his campaign entourage paid him a courtesy visit.
So far, eight candidates are jostling for the office of national chairman. They include Bode George, Jimi Agbaje, Gbenga Daniel, Tunde Adeniran, Taoheed Adedoja and Rashidi Ladoja, Raymond Dokpesi and Uche Secondus.
About four of them, Messrs. Dokpesi, Daniel, Secondus and Ladoja, are facing corruption cases in court.
Reports on Saturday said the leadership of the party is muting the idea of dropping all those facing prosecution in order not to jeopardize the future of the party.
Mr. Makarfi, however, said such reports were false.
“If you play that game (disqualification of candidates based on pending EFCC case), that will be playing into the hands of the government in such a way that every one of us can be charged to court so that PDP will have no candidate.
“Except you are convicted by a court of law, nothing can stop you from contesting even the general election not to talk of party issue, so we shouldn’t play into the hands of those we want to unseat,” he said.
Mr. Makarfi also threw more light on the alleged disqualification of some candidates by a section of members of the party’s Board of Trustee in the South-west, saying “the decision of the party is to be heard from the National Caretaker Committee and we didn’t say so and I can affirm that nobody was delegated to say so.
“Let me remind you that at our caucus meeting that we had on Wednesday in Abuja, the BOT Chairman categorically scolded those that did that and he said they acted without directive and the action was ultra vires as far as the BOT was concerned.”
The PDP also reacted to reports that the December 9 National Convention of the party may be postponed due to lack of funds.
Mr. Makarfi said his committee is ready for the convention as scheduled.
“There is no truth in that allegation. We are all set, we are not lagging behind,” he said.