The Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday opened subtle overtures to former president Olusegun Obasanjo over the current state of affairs of the party.
Makari led his committee members to meet the former president who was attending a forum of farmers at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua center in Abuja, the same venue for the inauguration of the party’s national convention committee, scheduled for August 17 in Porthacourt, Rivers State.
While preparations for the PDP event which held at the main auditorium of the center was yet to begin, Makarfi mobilized his committee to greet Obasanjo who is a renowned farmer at the farmers meeting.
Although it was not clear whether the meeting was at the instance of Makarfi or Obasanjo, a female staff of the foundation led Makarfi and his committee into the hall were the farmers met.
About six minutes later, the caretaker committee came out of the room and returned to the venue of the inauguration of the zoning committee.
About an hour after the end of the inauguration, Obasanjo came out of the farmers’ meeting and walked briskly into his waiting black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) which was parked at the entrance to the main building.
While attempts to reach the spokesman of the committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, was not successful, another member of the committee who was at the meeting declined to comment on the matter.
Obasanjo, a former president and Board of Trustee chairman of the PDP, had resigned from partaking in the affairs of the party, following his face off with one of his successors and immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan.
The former president further distanced himself from the PDP when he publicly supervised the tearing of his membership card in the build up to the 2015 presidential election.
While Obasanjo and Jonathan fell out over the later’s second term ambition, the former PDP BoT chairman had also said he would rather tear his card than be in the same party with Sen Buruji Kashamu, who at the time was regarded as the leader of the party in the South West.
Meanwhile, as PDP prepares for its national convention, the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) has warned that the party is not for sale anymore.
The chairman of the party’s BoT, Sen Walid Jubrin, who spoke during the inauguration of the national convention committee led by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, also charged delegates to the convention to refuse to be bought over by money bags.
However, chairman of the PDP national caretaker committee, Sen Ahmed Makarfi, said no aspirant has been zoned out of contesting any position in the party, following the rezoning of party offices.
But the BoT chairman who was apparently making reference to influence of power stakeholders in the party, said, “Like the chairman has said we are passing the era of impunity and selfishness. We are going to learn from the past and move forward with fairness and justice.
“It is always go for communities to come together and sit down and agree on a suggestion on how to go forward. The decision of the community and family is what should be and not that of an individual.
“But where such opportunity is given it is very difficult for one to stop any member of the community from participating. It is a suggestion but in most cases it pay everyone to follow the suggestion.
“This party is not for sale. This party must be a party of very conscious people. If it were left to me, I will tell every delegate to reject anybody that come with money.
“We are an honest and upright person. This party will not want somebody that will come and buy his way into office. The BoT will no longer accept any leadership to be forced on the party.”
While he expressed confidence that the leadership crisis will be resolved before the August 17 national convention, he regretted that over 15 court cases are pending so far.
On his part, Sen Makarfi said, “I recall when we last met here to inaugurate the zoning committee and I mentioned on behalf of the caretaker committee that the convention would be an all-inclusive one and that offices to be contested for would be open to all and sundry, that doesn’t mean people cannot come together to zone offices. If zoning does not favour you and you still think that you have the best chance of winning, the political landscape is there.
“It’s up to you to campaign across the country to get enough delegates to support you. Zoning doesn’t mean you have been excluded, it is meeting of the minds. And it is for every aspirant to assess by himself or herself whether he or she has the capacity to garner more support than. Collection of people that come together to have a common position.
However the cost of expression of interest forms for National Chairman is N1m. For Deputy National Chairman and national secretary it is N500,000, while every other position costs N300,000.