WHY JONATHAN DROPPED ME -MAKARFI
Former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has finally opened up on why he did not succeed in securing the position of the Vice President following the event that brought President Goodluck Jonathan to office.
He told Daily Sun in Abuja that what happened was a show of interest by the legislators and that there is a President, based on our constitution, who reserves the right to nominate who he wants as his vice and he exercised that right.
'And I accepted and respected that exercise of right and that was why even though the National Assembly had thought that one of them should occupy that position, it was just a process and I was just a product of interest of the National Assembly,' the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance said.
Makarfi said it was not a personal quest, adding that he was representing an institution and even though the institution did not get it, it did not do anything to stop another institution from getting the position.
'Nothing personal about it. The National Assembly or legislature thought that maybe, someone from it, should be given the opportunity. I did not go about seeking or lobbying for it. That process produced me as one of those to be considered by Mr. President and it was his right to make his choice and he made his choice and that is history,' Makarfi said.
The Senator representing Kaduna North also spoke on the current political situation in the country, saying Nigeria's democracy is still evolving, adding that 'we should take all the happenings as elements of development of our democracy.
'We are going through a phase, by the time we are matured, things will stabilize, internal party democracy will take hold and that will be the foundation we need for democracy on a wider scale,' he stated.
Makarfi also spoke on why Vice President Namadi Sambo, Governor Patrick Yakowa and himself, could not secure 100 percent votes for President Jonathan during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary at the Eagle Square, Abuja, even as he takes a look at the major contenders for the Presidency in 2011, saying with the indices on ground, President Jonathan will defeat General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd) of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
He spoke on these and other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Your Excellency, how is your sojourn at the Senate so far and what is your present opinion about our dear nation, Nigeria?
Well, like every other legislature, one has been trying one's best. It is a new territory for me, coming from the executive. Now, I am in the legislature, but having found myself in a committee that I am more conversant with, that is, that of finance, I am not having difficulties in doing my primary committee responsibility.
Of course, generally, one tries to contribute as best as one can. For me, it is a rewarding experience and I believe I have put in my best for my constituency and for my country and I will continue to do so.
The journey so far. Politically or what?
Well, it has not been smooth, but it is a growing democracy, it is a developing democracy. We should take all the happenings as elements of development of our democracy. We are going through a phase. By the time we are matured, things will stabilize, internal party democracy will take hold and that will be the foundation we need for democracy on a wider scale. That is, on the national level. Without internal democracy in parties, you don't hope to get democracy even at the next level of elections and whatever we are witnessing within the parties, is a process of development but then, we should not intentionally do anything to scuttle development of internal democracy within our parties. We should rather encourage it and do everything possible to develop it, if we are serious about developing democracy.
The role the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is playing in enforcing internal democracy is commendable. If parties behave responsibly, there will be no reason for INEC to do things which the parties will complain about. So, we are the ones creating room for them to seemingly be meddling in. It is on invitation and that invitation is our doing. So, we should also be up and above board and do what is right.
Jega always asking for money. Any comment on that?
Not always coming to ask for money. How many times has he come to ask for money?
Did Iwu get that much?
(Cuts in) How many times has he come to ask for money? I am not aware that any money, apart from the supplementary budget, was approved for him but again, we should have started preparations long ago. The fact that we did not start in good time, we may not have made a proper estimate of the necessary requirements.
Your quest for the presidency: what happened this time around? Why did you dump the idea?
It is not a habit. You shouldn't make it a habit to always go for political office. I gave it a shot, it was not successful, let bygone be bygone and see how I can contribute to my country.
When Yar'Adua died and President Jonathan took over, we heard that you were tipped for the post of vice president that even the Northern Senate Caucus adopted you. At what point did you lose out?
Well, what happened was a show of interest by the legislators and there is a President, based on our Constitution, who reserves the right to nominate who he wants as his vice and he exercised that right and I accepted and respected that exercise of right and that was why even though the National Assembly had thought that one of them should occupy that position, it was just a process and I was just a product of interest of the National Assembly.