By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
The former Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former Governor of Kaduna State, has cautioned the PDP on the consequences of dissolving its structures and seeking merger towards building a new political party. Makarfi, accordingly, opposed plans to change the name and identity of the Opposition Party at this stage of Nigeria’s transition or preparations for the 2019 general elections. The former PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman cautioned that any attempt to dissolve the PDP for a new alliance or a new political identity may lead to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) frustrating the transformation process.
Makarfi was gathered to have admonished: “If you do that and government interferes with INEC and they don’t approve for you, even if you go to court, it will take a long time. By that time, maybe the elections are over.”
Accordingly, Makarfi warned that if the PDP is not careful going through the process of merging with other parties, it may result to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), destroying sending the main opposition party into extinction:” maintaining that, “APC may end up shutting the PDP out of the 2019 elections.”
National Daily had earlier reported on the pressure from some defected political actors seeking to return to the PDP urging the opposition party to change its name before they come back. More so, further pressure to form broader political platform to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 also stimulated negotiations form a new alliance to strengthen the opposition, part of the negotiations includes change of identity of the PDP, which is leading the new coalition with its nationwide structures.
Apparently, Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman, at the PDP National Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Abuja, declared inter alia: “We have met with former Presidents and former leaders and they are in unison to make sure that come 2019, a new and fresh President is elected and a new government is formed in our nation.
“Because of this challenge, we have taken it upon ourselves as the leading opposition party to broaden our scope, open our doors and allow ideas to flow in for a more robust democratic development.
“We, therefore, invite our brothers, sisters, youths and women from other political parties in this platform to join us to rescue our country that is in distress socially, politically, and economically and security wise.
“Our consultations have taken us to meet with various interest groups who are willing to do business with us and I can report to you that it has been very fruitful.
“We expect in the coming days to have a broader political family working with dedication to rescue this democracy and our beloved country from the hands of the All Progressives Congress.”
Thus, proposal for identity alteration and forming a new coalition which may include the CNM, Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), being rebuilt by the CNM to sponsor candidates for election in 2019, under a new political identity had been on the decision making table of the PDP.
Meanwhile Makarfi vehemently cautioned: “Merger is a technical issue that…except if we simplify it by legislation.
“This government, the way they work, if you play into their hands, they will extinguish you because before you merge, you have to dissolve as a political party and surrender your licenses.
“If you do that and government interferes with INEC and they don’t approve for you, even if you go to court, it will take a long time. By that time maybe the elections are over.
“So, you have to look at the kind of government you are having. If you are having an open, democratic government that does not interfere, you can consider a lot of things.
“But when you are dealing with a set of people that are very vicious the way they approach things, you have to be very careful what you adopt to the play towards 2019; otherwise, you will fall into a trap and you may not be able to come out of it.”
However, PDP, according to the National Chairman keeps its doors open for negotiations and new ideas.