The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must field a string candidate to stand any chance of defeating President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, one of its presidential aspirants Senator Ahmed Makafi has stated.
Makarfi said Buhari, who is expected to be the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, still commands a strong followership in the North, which has the highest number of voters.
The presidential hopeful declared the PDP must work on the psychology of voters in the northern part of the country many of whom he said “still retain blind followership for Buhari.”
Makarfi spoke at the weekend when he visited Ekiti PDP delegates led by Deputy Governor Prof Kolapo Olusola at Jibowu Hall, Government House, Ado-Ekiti in continuation of consultations on his presidential ambition ahead of the party’s national convention.
He argued he is eminently qualified for the presidency having served as Kaduna governor for eight years and being in the senate for two terms during which he chaired the Committee on Finance and became PDP National Caretaker Chairman.
The former Kaduna governor promised to tackle insurgency, herdsmen killings, insecurity, unemployment, epileptic power supply, infrastructural challenges and other problems confronting the nation.
Makarfi said the sectarian problems and security challenges facing the country confronted Kaduna State during his tenure but he was able to overcome them with tact, consensus building and deployment of resources.
He said the PDP must win very well in the North to make any headway in the presidential election, adding the party must present the candidate the people of the region repose trust in.
Makarfi said: “If we want to the election, we must not lose the North and we should give them the candidate they trust in the North.
“The problem for us winning is the North; the current President comes from there and there is blind followership there. If we want to win, we should field a strong candidate from there.
“We must work on the psychology of the Buhari’s sentimental followers in the North and change their mind towards us.” On his manifesto, Markafi said: “First of all is the restructure of the country to make it good for everybody, restructuring of the security and creation of jobs and infrastructure development in all respects and promoting the private sector so that it can become effective employer of labour.
“I am straight forward person and do not say one thing in the morning and turn it another thing in the evening.
“We brought back PDP and made it now a threat to APC. I restructured Kaduna and Nigeria needs restructuring. I am not talking politics.
“I was the architect of the first political sovereign conference in the country as head of the committee under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“Institutional restructuring that would include the police, INEC and other security apparatus to ensure they do not serve the dictates of the paymasters will be done by me.”
He added: “We must make our institutions to be accountable. We will ensure comprehensive restructuring of this country. I chose to travel by road for all my campaigns traveling by road is taking eighty percent of my tour.
“This is to enable me see the deficiencies of our infrastructure, such as roads, condition of our people and our environment among others.
“We will also restructure power generation, what is on ground now is unitary. We must liberalize it. Each state will be allowed to generate its own electricity.”