•Ex VP no match to Buhari – Masari
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja and Lawal Sa’idu Funtua Katsina
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday declared that the party did not grant any form of concession to former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who few days ago defected to the party from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
This is even as the defection of the former Vice President has begun to cause panic in the camps of other Presidential aspirants on platform of the party (PDP).
The Chairman, National Caretaker Committee, NCC, of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said this in Abuja during the inauguration of the convention planning committee and sub’- committees saddled with the responsibility of organising the national convention of the PDP coming up on Saturday.
The convention committee has the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as Chairman with his Taraba State counterpart, Architect Darius Ishaku as his deputy.
Senator Makarfi pointed out that Atiku did not ask for any concession , stressing that the party too did not grant him concession and does not intend to do so..
According to him “PDP will continue to receive both former this and former that..The Wazirin Adamawa did not seek for any special concession and special term. He joined on his will and decision.
“The party did not extend any special concession for him . I don’t think it will extend any special concession for anybody other than what is due to him and what will be due to anybody of his status that will be coming into the party..
“It is only right that you accord such people such recognition and status they deserve. I read in some papers as if the party made a deal to concede something to him. Far from the truth . He never asked for anything and we never offered anything to him “, Makarfi said
The Chairman of the NCC of the PDP, however, said that the former Vice President is warmly welcomed by the party and that others will also be welcomed.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the PDP , Senator Walid Jibrin declared that the board is ready to partner with the National Working Committee, Governors Forum and all other stakeholders in the party to ensure the success of the national convention.
He urged the party members to “run away” from act that may negatively affect the convention.
On the speculation that some BoT members are sponsoring a particular chairmanship candidate, Senator Jubrin declared that the “BoT has no hidden agenda.”
In his response, the chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, Governor Okowa gave assurance that the “electoral process will be free, fair and credible.”
Meanwhile, the recent defection of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku AbubakAbubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP, has caused panic in the camps of other presidential aspirants on platform of the party (PDP).
The decision of the erstwhile Vice President and Turakin Adamawa to dump APC for PDP , findings showed, has forced the other aspirants to start re-strategizing thus leading to massive change in political permutations.
Some other known presidential aspirants on the platform of the PDP are; former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido , former Kano State Governor , Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau , EkitiState Governor Mr Ayodele Fayose, the present Chairman of NCC of the PDP, Senator Makarfi and Gombe State Governor , Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo among others.
Already Atiku has expressed the firm optimism that he will clinch the PDP presidential ticket ahead of the 2019 presidential election in the country.
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has said that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s was no match for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
He said Atiku was no threat to the popularity of President Buhari at the polls if the two leaders should emerge as flag-bearers of opposing political parties in the 2019 presidential election.
Governor Masari spoke while fielding questions from journalists at the Government House in Katsina, yesterday in a chat that touched on a number of issues.
Masari affirmed that “at the risk of joining issues with the former Vice President. I think he has answered his name. He is nomadic, always moving from one point to another, always searching for greener pasture, probably where he can contest the presidency” come 2019. “So he has not done anything new,” the APC governor opined.
When asked whether APC regards Atiku as a threat come 2019, the former House of Representatives Speaker said “You know in politics you cannot dismiss anyone, because one vote is important. But in terms of regional or national negative impact (on the APC), I will say no. For instance in the Northern part of the country. I am telling you the ordinary northerner on ground, today, will vote for Buhari.
“Whatever, Buhari hasn’t done, to the ordinary Nigerian it is not him, it is factors beyond his control that made it impossible for him to do it. So anybody who is defecting to contest with Buhari, I can tell you, there is no way he can face him at the polls.”
When asked about a rival wing of the APC in Katsina State, tagged ‘APC Akida’ in Hausa, Alhaji Aminu, Masari pointed out that “APC is registered with INEC as APC Change, so anybody who comes with APC bearing something else that is not ‘change’ is no longer one of us.”
He continued, “They belong to the group of those who feel they are being marginalized at the centre and marginalized at state level. They haven’t got positions which they felt they are entitled to. But the question is not about entitlement. It is about development”.