Former caretaker chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has cautioned the leadership of the party against giving undue advantage to returnee members and those defecting.
Addressing the leadership of the Kogi State chapter of the party and other stakeholders in Lokoja, Kogi State yesterday, the former two-term governor of Kaduna State said the survival of the party was due to the steadfastness of committed members.
Otherwise, he said, the party could have become history.
Offering himself as the presidential candidate of the party ahead of the 2019 general election, he recalled the difficult days of the party after it lost the presidential election in 2015.
He said: “Some people, when you pinch them like this (touching his arm), they will run to another party. When the going was tough, I stayed on. But you accept them into your house and give them your guest room. Next, they take the master bedroom. Next, they drive you out of your house. We must not allow this nor give undue advantage to them, so that we do not alienate our people.
“Modu-Sheriff was brought in from another party. They said he had three jets, he had billions, but what did he do? He was taking the party down. But I, the ‘bush boy,’ with the support of others, was able to make members close ranks, and today, we can all see.”
Makarfi also delved into the vexed issue of restructuring, saying that only Nigerians can restructure the country under a trusted leadership.
He said: “We fought the battle together. The praise and credit I’m receiving is to God and to all of us.
“To me, Kogi is home. When Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (Ibro) was governor, we used to come and spend weekends with him. Kogi remains a home to me.
“We have many problems confronting us in Nigeria—insecurity, lack of national consensus, hunger, poverty. Our economy has gone down, but there are few people benefiting. Nigerians are in lack. They are not able to provide for their families, access good healthcare, and all sorts of deprivation. People are being witch-hunted.
“Some people talk of restructuring, but when they talk of restructuring, they talk of sharing money and resources. I tell you, we need institutional restructuring.
“Only Nigerians can restructure Nigeria. People are asking for restructuring due to lack of belonging, lopsidedness in appointments, the feeling of being cheated, and so on.
“Who can restructure Nigeria but Nigerians with a leader that can be trusted. I offer that and much more.
“What I tell you is that now, if you’re in power, you’re right; if you’re in opposition, you’re wrong. We must get to a level in Nigeria where if you’re president, a governor, you can be charged for wrongdoing; not you being in power and witch-hunting every other person.
“That is turning Nigeria into a ‘Banana Republic’. We must therefore restructure our institutions.
“Gentlemen, a tree does not make a forest. They will come with bags of money; collect but do the right thing. There is no receipt.”