Former governor of Kaduna State and presidential aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi appeared to attack the popularity of former Vice President and fellow aspirant, Atiku Abubakar.
Makarfi who addressed members of his party in Enugu, warned them to ignore social media ratings and opinion polls as they decide on a candidate to fly the party’s flag ahead of the 2019 election. Makarfi suggested that popularity on social media for a candidate could be far from reality.
”We should weigh our decision in choosing our candidate and our decision should be in tandem with the decision of majority of Nigerians. We should not be deceived by opinion polls. Nigeria voters do not follow media ratings,” he said.
“We made a simple mistake when we tried somebody as our caretaker chairman and paid dearly for such a mistake. It will be worse if we choose an unpopular candidate based on social media ratings. So, we cannot afford to make mistakes in our choice.”
Why it matters:
Atiku Abubakar has a robust social media operation that trounces the other presidential contenders in the party. Besides having the highest following among all the other candidates on the social platforms, Atiku has dominated in the widely reported online opinion polls trouncing President Buhari in one and other contenders for the party’s ticket such as Governor Dankwambo and Aminu Tambuwal in another.
Makarfi tried to position himself to the party supporters on three main points:
- One: That he would restructure Nigeria,
- Two: That he is going to unify Nigeria and
- Three: That he is a strong leader.
To drive home his point, Makarfi made references to his record on these three issues:
– Obasanjo’s National Conference: Makarfi touts his role in the National Conference under President Obasanjo as the chairman of the agenda setting technical committee for the National Conference. He promised to bring back the report.
“I chaired the technical committee that set the agenda for the National Conference under Obasanjo, even though some of the items were removed from the report. We need to bring Nigerians together to dust that report, remove what is obsolete and and add what is new, whatever Nigerians resolve,” he said.
– Inclusion In Kaduna State: Makarfi claimed that he was the first Nigerian governor to appoint non-indigenes into his cabinet and said an Igbo person became a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly during his tenure in office. He used these stories to further his narrative that he is a detribalised Nigerian who appreciates diversity and would be able to unify the country.
“My history will tell Nigerians who I am. It is not even in promising but in what I have done,” Makarfi said.
– Strong Leader: Makarfi pitched himself as a strong leader and made reference to his successful takedowns of strong men and forces in his political career.
”People said I was too gentle to defeat Sheriff, what happened? Don’t be mistaken by looks. It is the action. In Kaduna State people saw my actions. People said I was too gentle to handle the Kaduna Mafia but what happened? Those who will mistake me to be weak will be shocked but Nigerians will be happy.”