By Hon. Inioribo Tamunotonye
It is not a debate that Nigerians are fed up with the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari, the debate on the lips of many is, who among those vying for the office is worthy enough to earn the trust and vote of Nigerians for the top job.
Having taken time to analyse all the aspirants from the major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, it is in my humble belief that His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, the immediate past National Chairman of the party and former Governor of Kaduna state is the most credible alternative for the Presidency and the most sellable candidate among the multitude vying for the seat. The reasons? Read on;
MAKARFI AS GOVERNOR OF KADUNA STATE
Among the governors that had served Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi is the only person that is considered acceptable by all segment of the population. Though a Fulani Muslim, he is loved so much by the non-Fulani Christians of southern Kaduna, this is beside the fact that the Fulani Muslim population in zones 1&2 see him as a man after their heart. Makarfi is seen as a bridge-builder and nationalist that carried every group along in terms of development of the state and appointment when he held sway as Governor.
During his time as governor of Kaduna state between 1999-2007, institutions were built, road constructed, and peace and tranquility was maintained all through his time. Even when there was religious crisis as a result of the proposed Shari’a bill in 2000, Makarfi stepped in, suspended the bill and brought every stakeholders to the table to which a partial Shari’a bill (to be binding on only those that subject themselves to it)was agreed on by all parties, which restored peace to the state.
Makarfi popularity in Kaduna state grew so large that the General Buhari whirlwind of 2003 that swept Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state could not be enough to sack him and install Alhaji Sulaiman Hunkuyi despite the fact that Buhari was highly popular in Kaduna state and his ANPP had defeated PDP’s Chief Obasanjo in the Presidential election result from Kaduna state. Upon conclusion of Makarfi’s term in office as governor, a lot of Nigerians prevailed on him to aspire for Presidency to succeed then outgoing president Chief Obasanjo in other to replicate Kaduna success in Nigeria, being that Kaduna is considered a mini-Nigeria.
PROVEN INTEGRITY AND TRANSPARENCY
Having served as two term Governor, two term Senator and Chairman of PDP for almost 2 years, no indictment of graft or financial misappropriation has he found himself.
Despite the fact that majority of his colleagues of class 1999-2007 Governors became guests of various Economic and Financial Crimes Commission offices and courts, while some are in the news for negative reasons, Senator Ahmed Makarfi maintained a clean bill of health and never had cause to explain any misconduct to a judge, investigator, prosecutor or journalist with respect to his integrity.
THE MOST EXPERIENCED AND PREPARED FOR THE JOB
I make bold to say that of all those aspiring for the 2019 Presidency including incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Makarfi remains the most experienced and qualified given his vast experience and antecedents across sectors.
As a trained accountant and former Senior banker, Makarfi is vast in managing the resources of organisations and entity. This he proved in the management of the lean and almost zero resources of PDP when he was chairman, as well as those of Kaduna state when he served as Commissioner for finance and later Governor.
His eight years experience as Governor will come to play in handling executive responsibilities as President for the good of the country, while his experience as Senator will come to play in forging a robust relationship with federal lawmakers as he appreciates their role in furthering our democracy and giving dividends to the masses.
The Presidency under Makarfi will not be enmeshed in party-government politics that cause distraction to the government as he is fully abreast with the workings of a party and know how to relate with it to the benefit of the masses. I am very optimistic that the unhealthy cold war between the National Assembly and the Presidency that seem to have been a norm in the polity since 1999 will be thrown to the dustbin of history under Ahmed Makarfi’s administration.
Furthermore, Senator Ahmed Makarfi is never known to be a controversial figure, but known to be an unapologetic nationalist and first class statesman that believes in fairness, equity and justice. It is not a fluke that he enjoys popularity and is highly respected by the political class and the masses irrespective of religion and ethnicity. He is the only one whose candidacy could be bought by the sophisticated Southwest, the innovative Southeast, the agile SouthSouth, the committed Northcentral, the ever dependable northeast and strategic northwest population.
Conclusively, while citizens are eager for a transition to a new government, it will be a disaster on political parties, especially the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party to field a candidate that lack goodwill amongst Nigerians, one that is highly inexperienced and one that suffers credibility issues.
May God Bless Us All And Bless Nigeria
Inioribo Tamunotonye is the National Secretary and SouthSouth Coordinator of Nigeria Youth Project 2019 and also the National Coordinator of Peoples Democratic Party National Youth League. He writes from Abuja.