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‘Makarfi, Shekarau, others in talks with 15 parties’

Prominent politicians under the auspices of Northern Leaders and Elders (NLE) said yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in “genuine talks” with leaders…

Prominent politicians under the auspices of Northern Leaders and Elders (NLE) said yesterday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in “genuine talks” with leaders of 15 political parties ahead of the formation of a strong platform before 2019.

The leaders and elders included former governors and deputies, ex-ministers and other prominent politicians.

They said a one-party system will ruin Nigeria’s democracy and vowed to free the opposition PDP “from the hands of charlatans” in order to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The northern leaders stated this at their meeting held at Ajuji Hotel in Abuja.

Those at the meeting were the chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; former governors Malam Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Jonah Jang (Plateau) and former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Muktar Shagari.

Others included a former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro; a former Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Maina Waziri, a former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed; former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki; Amb. Aminu Wali among others.

The factional chairman of the party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff and those supporting him from the North were conspicuously absent at the event, heightening speculations that the Makarfi faction may be opting for another platform.

What is not clear is whether the northern leaders are planning to join forces with a view to forming a new political party or the talks were just about co-opting the 15 parties into the PDP.

In his speech, Makarfi said political solution to the party’s crisis was a good option but must be “water-tight legally.”

He spoke on the Appeal Court judgement that favoured Sheriff and took a swipe at the Governor Seriake Dickson-led PDP National Reconciliation Committee, for recommending that the party’s national convention be held not later than June 30.

He explained that there was need to collectively resolve all issues relating to the leadership of the party before the convention.

On his part, Prof. Gana, who is one of the conveners, said the APC should allow the opposition to grow.

“We started talking with seven parties and now we have 15 parties talking with us. They would be meeting with us this evening (yesterday); they are genuine and very serious. We are doing this to ensure we form a strong force before 2019,” he said.

He, however, did not mention the names of the other parties.