*As Ladoja joins race
Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the December 9 elective national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has declared that his committee does not have the power to further micro zone the zoning arrangements that have been agreed on by the national convention of the party.
Makarfii made the declaration in his office in Abuja on Tuesday at a closed door meeting he held with eight of the aspirants for the national chairmanship position of the party.
The national chairmanship position of the party has been zoned to the southern part of the country, while the presidential slot has been zoned to the north.
The NCC Chairman and former Governor of Kaduna State pointedly stated that decisions taken by the national convention of the PDP and its National Executive Committee (NEC), can never be reversed by the NCC of the party.
Before the meeting went into a closed door session, Makarfi had stated: “We said that we should meet with you (aspirants) and discuss with you and hear from you to know your contribution to make proper preparation for the convention. That’s really the reason.
“We have no power beyond the convention and i want to remind all of us, the only thing convention did was to zone two positions and as chairman or caretaker committee, you cannot go beyond that.
“But to assume that the chairman of the caretaker committee to come an exercise power that he doesn’t have, and start dishing out orders, that will be undemocratic and will have no basis or foundation in our constitution.
He explained that the NCC of the party is basically to carry out or implement the decisions reached by the national convention and the NEC of the party.
At the end of the closed door meeting, the chairmanship aspirants promised to remain civil and run an issued-based campaign.
The eight aspirants include: Uche Secondus, Bode George, Raymond Dokpesi, Rashidi Ladoja, Jimi Agbaje, Taoheed Adedoja, Tunde Adeniran and Gbenga Daniel.
Speaking on behalf of the aspirants, Chief Bode George, former national vice-chairman, PDP (Southwest Zone) said: “We had a very useful meeting with the NCC. We agreed that we will remain civil, educate our followers because it is a family contest. It is not a matter of life and death.
“We have agreed and you can see us now holding our hands. There is no quarrel, let the best man win. That is the spirit of the party, that is the spirit we are sending to the public because we want to win the minds and hearts of the be public that we are better managers.”
The former Chairman, Nigerian Ports Authority however tactically parried a question on whether they would adopt a consensus candidate., as he said, “Whatever it is whether consensus or consensual, we are moving together as a team. The party is bigger than any individual. Nobody will be aggrieved,” he said.