Anxiety appears to have reached fever-pitch in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the North West over planned moves to allegedly pick some persons for particular national offices ahead of the National Convention. The anxiety has snowballed into a crisis of some sort in the zone, insiders said at the weekend.
The north west is the geo- political zone of the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi who is also from Kaduna.
It was learnt that simmering crisis stemmed from alleged moves to ensure that only chosen candidates vie for various offices in the forthcoming elective National Convention of the party. The national caretaker committee chairman Makarfi is accused of being the brain behind such planned moves. But sources close to Makarfi have described this assertion as “not true.”
Insider said the party had zoned the position of the National Secretary to Kaduna and Katsina States while the position of National Woman leader was zoned to Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States, all in the North West for any of them to produce these various National Working Committee, NWC members of the party.
The brewing crisis now is as a result of sudden change in the arrangement where some persons were alleged to have sat down and micro-zoned the positions without any consensus, which came as a surprise to former political officer holders, party leaders and contestants for such positions.
Even more, the build up to the National convention has been stormy due to the alleged unceasing intrigues, schemes and chicanery allegedly by the former governor of Kaduna who allegedly wants the position of the National Secretary to go to Katsina State, leaving Kaduna out of it. An angry source said this latest move may be because of Makarfi’s suspected 2019 Presidential ambition and his alleged plan is to ensure that all elected NWC members are from him to do his bidding.
According to a source from the north west, Makarfi, alongside others who are loyal to him are now micro-zoning the positions as against his earlier stand that the party must not micro-zone the positions to any area that the race be opened for all in that zone or the states.
The source alleged further that Makarfi who comes from the same Makarfi local government area in Kaduna State with an aspirant for the position of National Secretary and former National Organising Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha is not comfortable with his emergence over perceived notion that if Mustapha emerges, it would affect his 2019 Presidential ambition.
It was also further alleged that Makarfi may be kicking against Mustapha because of his closeness and loyalty to former Vice President Namadi Sambo who eventually became the number two citizen of the country in the recent past.
But a source close to Makarfi described these assertions as wild speculations which are untrue.The source said it is true the national caretaker committee has said it will not micro zone the national chairmanship and presidency which the party’s convention has zoned to the South and North respectively.
However, the pro-Makarfi source said further that the two blocks(north and south) are at liberty to on their own micro zone the various positions. The national caretaker committee, especially Makarfi has nothing to do with any decision by either northern or southern stakeholders to micro zone party offices at their block levels.In fact, the source continued, the micro zoning by stakeholders in the respective zones is not new as it was accepted during the flopped convention.
But those fuming over the micro zoning in the north west said Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the Party is not only micro zoning the position of National Secretary to Katsina State, he was said to have narrowed it down on a particular former Senator from the State, thereby depriving the aspirants from going into contest and the people from the two states electing their own National Secretary.
It was also gathered that the position of the National Woman leader which was hitherto opened to Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara, is now being micro zoned to Kebbi state which is also causing a major problem in the North West geo- political zone.
A source close to Makarfi has assured that he has no power to stop anyone who has picked the form from contesting.Makarfi is not stopping anybody from contesting, when the chips are down.
But there appears to be another source of tension as another source accused Makarfi of allegedly preparing a unity list which he would present at the National Convention.The same same list is scheduled to be allegedly presented before all PDP governors holding in Enugu State.
It appears the panic over micro zoning stemmed further from fears by some insiders that the eleven PDP governors meeting in Enugu may be asked to endorse what all the zones have picked. Again, a source close to Makarfi said no ne who has picked the party’s form will be stopped from contesting.
Following the growing anxiety in the north west zone,it was learnt that, there was an emergency meeting of party leaders from the zone Thursday night at the Abuja residence of former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa .The meeting allegedly ended in a deadlock because of irreconcilable differences.
Present at the meeting were former Vice President Namadi Sambo; Makarfi himself; Sule Lamido; former Minister Kabiru Turaki; the Zonal Chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, among others.
The source said, ” the Chairman National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Ahmed Makarfi had said no to micro zoning of all the offices, but he is doing it now in his own zone, the North West because of his 2019 Presidential ambition, which is not good for the party. This is another case of impunity that pushed the PDP from a ruling party to an opposition party. It does not augur well for our party now.
” Makarfi is micro- zoning the position of National Secretary to Katsina and even to an individual, thereby trying to kick out Abubakar Mustapha who is from the same Makarfi local government of Kaduna State like him all because of his presidential ambition. He should allow everyone to go to the field, they should all go and contest and be voted for by the delegates. He wants to throw away Mustapha, there should be a level playing field for all the contestants.
” Before now, it was said that the National Secretary position should go to Kaduna and Katsina States while the position of National woman leader would go to either Kebbi, Sokoto or Zamfara states, but the people are surprised at the sudden move to micro zone to even individuals. The PDP is in opposition, it does not have the luxury of impunity. Kaduna state is the only state in the North West with a PDP Senator and five members of House of Representatives, the party is strong in the state. Katsina state has produced deputy National Chairman of the party in the person of Ibrahim Shema, the National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tukur Mani, among others, Kaduna state should be allowed to produce the National Secretary of the party.”
“What is about to happen now is the highest form of autocracy, impunity. The party as an opposition should open up the contest, it is undemocratic, unacceptable to impose an individual on the people, the party must be taken to the people. We should remember the convention of PDP where five governors left and that was the beginning of the problem, we must not allowhistory to repeat itself.”
No Cause For Alarm, Says Pro -Makarfi Source
Reacting to the claims above, a source close to Makarfi who spoke on condition of anonimity said “the national caretaker committee led by Makarfi has been faithful t the decision f the party’s convention not to microzone the national chairmanship and presidency.
“All the allegations being raised against Makarfi are not true.
He said further,” Iam aware that there is however nothing stopping the zones or blocks from micro zoning on their own accord.
“The zones can get their allocations and distribute.
The source further said he is aware Makarfi and the caretaker committee have insisted that “nobody will be stopped from contesting.”