The chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said that the party has learnt a lesson from the errors that culminated in the defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential poll in 2015.
He also said the former president was betrayed by sycophants he surrounded himself with in the build-up to the election.
Jonathan had accused some powerful Northern elements in the PDP of betraying him and working against his interests in the 2015 presidential election; a situation he said was responsible for his defeat at the poll.
But Makarfi said apart from betrayal by sycophants, the PDP leadership made many mistakes by failing to take advice from the right people.
According to him, the sycophants that ruined Jonathan’s chances at the poll were not only Northerners but spread across the six geopolitical zones.
In an interview with the press in Abuja on Thursday, April 27, 2017, Makarfi said, “The PDP made many mistakes and I have said it before. Of course there were betrayers left, right and centre, even those of us who stood for other elective offices we can be talking that way.
“We made mistakes, we were not listening to what people had to tell us. We were too comfortable.
“Then, of course, sycophancy took over. And when sycophancy takes over, what would you end up with?
“There were all kinds of betrayals. We have learnt our lessons now. I don’t want to cry over spilled milk.
“We should learn from the mistakes that we have made for not listening to the true voices of the people.
“Going forward, we should try to avoid a situation where we would be saying someone betrayed us.
“No matter what, you will find Judases here and there, and you cannot do away with them in life. Not even in politics.
And when they are in the majority, you have to look at yourself as a party and the honest truth is that we made fundamental errors and it created a fertile ground for that betrayal.
“I am not defending it because it ought not to have happened. And people would have been more patient. But not everybody can be patient.”.
On the argument by some prominent Northern party chieftains that PDP would have won the 2015 election if the party had fielded a popular candidate from the North instead of Jonathan, Makarfi agreed that the race would have been easier for the party.
“Yes, the result would have been different,” he said. “But even then, Jonathan as the candidate if the party had listened a lot more and rejigged its campaign, its language and the message.
“True or false, the votes difference was about two million. It would have been different even with Jonathan as a candidate. It is not just of him as a candidate, but communicating better and dealing with the right people could have made the situation different.
“But that is history. So we should learn from the mistakes we have made. So you cannot entirely say because Jonathan was a candidate.
“Of course, it would have been much more easier. But even with him as candidate, the characters fronting for PDP were not characters that could have won election for the party.”
On the future of the PDP, in view of the party’s protracted leadership crisis, Makarfi said his group was waiting for the commencement of its appeal against the court backed National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.
According to him, since Sheriff had spurned the reconciliation moves initiated by Jonathan and others, there is no other option than to allow the Supreme Court to decide his fate.
Makarfi and his group have approached the apex court, seeking to nullify Sheriff’s stranglehold on the party. The Supreme Court is expected to commence hearing in the case on May 4.
Asked what would be the fate of the PDP should his faction lose the case to Sheriff at the apex court, Makarfi said that would spell the death knell for the crisis-ridden opposition party.
Said he: “If it happens that way, then PDP would die. But those who would be working to kill PDP that way, I assure them they would end up being confronted with a bigger political force than the PDP itself.
“Because politics is about people, there is no way, let me speak here for the North that I know so well, there is no way in the North with Sheriff at the helm of affairs of PDP that voters would on their own go and vote PDP. There is no way.
“We have just seen it in a recent election in Delta State that they have turned their back against PDP because of Sheriff. And it may be so in many states of the southern part of this country.
“These people are alive, they are politicians, they are active. Water will surely find its level.
“And consistently, we have been saying that we are not going to be caught unawares. We are not going to be caught without options.
“We cannot boast of what the Supreme Court judgment would be but we are hopeful that they would do what is right. And in our opinion, what is right is upholding the Convention.
“But should what we think is right not right before the Supreme Court, so be it. We will decide our political direction in good time. And that political direction, I assure you, would be one that would be more potent than the PDP as it is.”