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Makarfi, Hunkuyi struggle for Kaduna North’s Senate ticket, as winner goes to court

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It’s not true-Makarfi
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor and Dirisu Yakubu

A last minute’s move by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to to compensate its immediate past Acting National Chairman and presidential aspirant, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, with the Kaduna North Senatorial ticket of the party, has backfired, as the current occupant of the seat; Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi has kicked against the move, describing it as unacceptable and untenable.

Curiously, while Hunkuyi is protesting the move physically, another contender to the seat, Ahmad Rufai Shehu, who was the only one who collected nomination form, has gone to court to restrain PDP and INEC from accepting the nomination of either Hunkuyi or Makarfi without conducting primary election.

Senator Ahmed Makarfi
Senator Ahmed Makarfi

Vanguard gathered that the desire by the two leaders to occupy the seat has left the party deeply divided even at the National Secretariat of PDP, where a faction is laying claim to the fact that it is decision of the party leadership to concede the ticket to Makarfi as compensation for his loyalty to the party and his acceptance of the outcome of last week’s presidential primaries in Port Harcourt.

Both Makarfi and Hunkuyi, who lost the presidential and governorship primaries had fallen back on the senate ticket to save their political career following the conclusion of primaries by all the parties.

However, the former governor and presidential aspirant, Senator Makarfi, has denied being interested in the seat, having not taken part in the primaries of the party.
A reliable NWC member said: “There is a fresh problem at hand in Kaduna PDP following a crisis of confidence between ex-PDP National Chairman, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi and his former commissioner, Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi over the party’s senatorial ticket for the Kaduna North Senatorial District(Zone 1).

“Makarfi’s preferred aspirant in the Kaduna Governorship Primary, Isa Ashiru, defeated Hunkuyi who defected to the PDP from the All Progressives Congress after a political battle with Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

“Makarfi, Hunkuyi and Ashiru( the governorship candidate of the PDP are from same federal constituency which is Kudan/Makarfi.”

“The only party member, Ahmad Rufai Shehu with the senatorial form has been screened and waiting for the primaries, is from Zaria LGA. In fact, going by INEC deadline, Shehu is the PDP’s automatic candidate for Kaduna North Senatorial District.”

Another source said the “PDP is also split on Kaduna North Senatorial District ticket. While the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus is backing Makarfi (who was his predecessor), those in Hunkuyi’s camp are claiming that they have the support of the National Leader of the party. Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi

“Our leaders are insisting that Makarfi should be honoured for stabilising the party. The PDP governors also failed to fulfill their promise to compensate Makarfi for doing a yeoman’s job in giving PDP a second chance to survive again.

“These leaders said the condition Hunkuyi gave for defecting from APC to PDP was to contest for governorship only. They said he can’t come home with a story of automatic senatorial ticket.

Hunkuyi is also seen as inconsistent who since 1999 to date has been shuttling from one party to another.”

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But Ahmad Rufai Shehu(Ubale), who was the only party member who obtained the nomination form for Kaduna North Senatorial District, filed an application on Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking to restrain PDP and INEC from nominating either Makarfi or Hunkuyi.
But reacting to the development via his media aide, Mukhtar Sirajo, the PDP chieftain urged Nigerians to dismiss the insinuation, adding that since he did not participate in the primary elections; there there was no way he would be nursing ambition of returning to the red chamber.

“The attention of Senator Ahmed Makarfi has been drawn to rumours going round to the effect that he is planning to contest for a senatorial seat in the 2019 elections. Nothing can be further from the truth.

“Senator Makarfi wishes to make it clear that he has no such plan as he did not participate in primaries for any senatorial ticket. His position is that, in accordance with democratic norms, all winners should, as of right be allowed to fly the party flags for the respective primaries they won.

“He believes that other people should be encouraged and given the chance to also contribute to the political process. This way, we will continue to widen the democratic space as well as deepen the process,” the statement read.

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