The outgoing National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahemed Markafi, has appealed to the incoming leadership of the party to ensure that the party’s doors remain wide open for both returnees and new members.
Makarfi made the call while welcoming delegates at the PDP National Convention held on Saturday in Abuja.
He said this was imperative to ensure that they were not disadvantaged in any way, “just as it is also imperative that the loyalty, sacrifices, commitment and dedication of those who stuck with the party through thick and thin were not denigrated in any way”.
He added: “A level playing field must be availed all members so that we avoid a situation in which we create many other problems while trying to solve one.
“In words and actions, we must continuously assure and reassure members that loyalty to the party does, indeed pay and is rewarded.
“It is not out of place for me to advise the incoming leadership to focus, among others, on evolving ways that would facilitate greater involvement of women and youths in both politics and governance.”
Makarfi said in spite of all the challenges encountered by his led Committee; they were able to record some achievements.
Some of the challenges, according to Makarfi, include litigation and inadequate finance as all but one of the bank accounts inherited by the committee was garnished by various court judgements.
He said: “The only bank account we have had access to these past 18 months is one that had less than N2 million.”
Makarfi said in spite of all constraints, the committee was able to lay a good foundation for the re positioning the PDP, turning it into the beautiful bride coveted by all discerning politicians.
He added that the committee was able to achieve substantial reconciliation among PDP members across the country, especially in states with serious leadership problems with several factions.
The states, according to him, were: Adamawa, Anambra, Borno, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo.
He expressed hope that before long, litigations would cease to be the vehicle through which members resolve their issues in the PDP.
Makarfi appealed to all members to eschew division and rancor and imbibe the culture of subsuming their individual interests into the larger interest of the party.
Makarfi said the party believed that vibrant, but decent and patriotic opposition was required to develop and mature Nigeria democracy.
He said: “We must continue to show by our words and actions that opposition is no madness.”
He advised the ruling party to address the challenges of joblessness and hunger saying “Nigerians are hungry as poverty is ravaging the land.
Makarfi said: “Insecurity in the North East which was thought to be receding is creeping back with greater ferocity, particularly against soft targets.
“Kidnap for ransom has taken a life of its own, so is the incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes and criminalities.
“Government must up the ante in its efforts to confront these menaces.”
Also speaking, Senator Walid Jibril, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, said the board would work with new leaders of the party that would emerge.
Jibril said that delegates must be given free hand to vote for candidates of their choice.
NAN reports a moment silent was observed in memory and honour of late Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme.