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2019: Why Makarfi deserves to be president

This is the concluding part of our exclusive  interview with former diplomat and political scientist,  Shehu Aliyu,  on why Senator Ahmed Makarfi should  be the next president for Nigeria. 

Beyond his early foray into politics and his emergence as Kaduna State governor, what are the strongest points, at the National level, that make him eligible to run for Nigeria’s presidency?
Well, it is expected that a Nigerian president should be someone with the big picture of what ought to be done to transform the nation. As a leader, he must be fully prepared, energetic, smart and intelligent. He needs a formidable structure, special organizational skills and administrative acumen to take on the Nigerian project. To an extent, asministrative ingenuity is a crucial part of the combination a Nigerian president needs.
Makarfi’s ingenuity and leadership skills are in-born because many people have attested to the fact that he started exhibiting leadership traits since he was young.

What stronger contemporary examples of Makarfi’s leadership skills can you give?
At one time Nigerian governors wanted to choose, from among themselves, one person to contest for the presidency of the country and they voted for Makarfi twice. For them to have identified no better qualified colleague of theirs could be president but Makarfi, was a testimony of his political influence across the board.
If you may recall, it started with Lucky igbinedion, the then Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and the second moment Makarfi won the day was when Senator Danjuma Goje was Chairman of Northern Governor’s Forum. They approached Obasanjo for his input but Umaru Yaradua emerged the president eventually. I could vividly recall what Makarfi told the media, when Yaradua emerged Obasano’s favored presidential candidate: “power belongs to God”. He then proceeded to accept appointment as Yaradua’s campaign Director-General. Not just that, he melted his formidable campaign structure into Yaradua’s campaign team. I cannot imagine a typical Nigerian politician who comes across such a unique opportunity to be president, he wasn’t given and yet he faithfully considered the outcome as an act of God.
Thirdly, Makarfi as a person is consistent. For instance, despite the Buhari hurricane, Makarfi has never changed his position. He remained where he has always been – the PDP. He continued to work for the PDP.
Fourth, is Makarfi’s unquestionable loyalty. We have seen this reality from the Wards to the Local Governments and up to the federal levels, that whoever worked with Makarfi would never regret. This is because he does not take unilateral decision as a leader. He is also a good coordinator of teamwork.
The fifth reality is that Makarfi is a fighter. It was however, not easy when he tried to revive the PDP. Modu Sheriff was a great man, I still respect him too for fighting on with courage and he had no record of ever losing a political battle, except the one with Makarfi. But Sheriff himself lost out to Makarfi in the power struggle to take-over and revive the PDP. Makarfi stood for the party, fought vigorously until it was finally revived and he handed it back to the stakeholders. Also, nobody gave Makarfi chances – we knew about the interference, the scheming and the massive propaganda, when he was on that PDP rescue mission. The plan by certain forces was to bring PDP to its knees before the 2019 elections bit Makarfi brought his administrative and democratic skills to bear on the party. He built stronger cohesion and harmony in his revival mission.
So, he helped the party to stand on its feet. And despite his formidable political rivals, his reputation has never been called to question. That is partly the reason why it is extremely difficult to establish a case of corruption against him.
Q: All of the heroic acts of Makarfi on the political terrain that you mentioned were limited to Nigeria and it would appear that he has no international goodwill. Why is that?
Look, he is internationally recognized as a principled power broker. In fact he bagged so many international awards for his contributions to deepening democracy. He has, over the years, built international goodwill across Europe and Asia. Back home, many Nigerian media houses have recently declared him politician of the year. Truth is that you can never hear Makarfi using abusive words against anyone, even on account of political differences. And if he wrongs you, he would come forward to apologize because he is not arrogant and has repeatedly stated his belief that power belongs to God and no one else.
You see, what we need is someone with definite agenda for the total transformation of Nigeria; someone who can ensure lasting security and stability; ready to end crisis and being grounded on the political economy. I can assure you that Makarfi will never work with corrupt people. Look, I’m not even a PDP member but believe me sincerely, if the party nominates him I would join the PDP without hesitation. I can go to any legitimate length in order to support Makarfi. Interestingly, he is bridge-builder between the North and Southern Nigeria. He speaks Ignoring fluently because he schooled in Igboland. He is not an average Nigerian politician who is myopic. Anytime you visit him you would see his friends from many other Nigerian tribes and not just the Hausa-Fulanis. As a governor, Kaduna had an Igbo man as member of the State House of Assembly.
He also performed creditably well as Chairman of the Senate committee on Finance and that was when he volun-tarily helped even the executive arm with policy advice on the national economy. I can go on and on, giving you a long list helpful moves the man did in the political history of this nation. The list is almost inexhaustible.

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