IT could be part of the signs of the times that the next national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) should hail from Bauchi State of North East Nigeria. For those conversant with the beef-rich state, the saying holds true: ‘Bauchi, shinne garin na miji, idon kayi shege-ntaka saideyi ataka ka’ (Bauchi is real men’s town, if you misbehave, you get the due recompense). And so, recompense for any miscalculation is something well known to the new national chairman of PDP, Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, Walin Bauchi.
Once Beaten, Twice Shy
AT the point of serving out his two terms as Governor of Bauchi State, M’uazu fought two intriguing political battles. The battles had to do with propping up his successor in office and seeking support to represent Bauchi South Senatorial district in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Regrettably, he lost on both fronts. At the base of that twin loss was the former governor’s spat with the incumbent Governor Isa Yuguda. After he was denied the PDP governorship ticket, the popular Yuguda moved over to the now rested All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), from where he won and assisted the present Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, to clinch the Bauchi South seat at the expense of M’uazu. Appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan as FCT minister after two years’ stint at the Senate, Mohammed could be on his way to succeeding his political ally as governor in 2015. It all depends on how loyal he has been to his benefactors.
Though they were on friendly terms, M’uazu’s decision to support his former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Umar Nadada, pitted him against Yuguda, by then a minister in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. M’uazu’s blockade against Yuguda elicited a reprisal or recompense after he mounted the saddle as governor. The foregoing shows that the new PDP helmsman knows what the President was saying when he advised against any small or big fights with governors under the party’s platform. Americans say that he who knows it feels it, as such M’uazu feels the heat of engaging the small god’s of PDP: the state governors!
Small Mountains to Climb, Steep Valleys to Cover
BEING once a state governor himself, M’uazu knows that his greatest challenges do not lie through deference or otherwise to governors. Rather, the many mountains he must scale through and very deep valleys he must cover include the handling of party financiers (the snake holders) whose interests must be factored into the implementation of party policies and programmes; the big boys that possess enormous war chest to challenge their state governors to political duels as well as striking a balance between accommodating the excesses of Mr. President’s strong backers. Among them Mama Peace!
For instance, the strain in the once bubbly relationship between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Buruji Kashamu, is not a small knot to untangle. A similar dilemma exists, but at varying degrees, in most states where the largest political party in black Africa exposes its signboard. As journalists scampered through Wuse 2 and Wadata Plaza sniffing for leads as to where the pendulum would fall in the search for Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s successor, it was evident that a mountain of interests were building up, including political IOU’s (I owe you). Now that the personable M’uazu has mounted the saddle, how he begins the process of offsetting these political bills is part of the challenges facing him. As a politician, the new chairman must have come to know that scaling small mountains of relationship problems between party faithful is not as tasking as filing deep valleys of expectations. This is because how you fill the ravine may turn back to haunt you when the rains come.
Of the other five prominent names that made the list of chairmanship hopefuls including the minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar(Gombe State); a former member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Wakil (Borno), former national chairman of Grassroots Democratic Movement, (GDM) Alhaji Gambo Lawan (Borno); former Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President, Ambassador Hassan Adamu, (Wakilin Adamawa) from Adamawa State and former minister of commerce, Ambassador Idris Waziri from Taraba State, there were pros and cons attached to their names by party chieftains. It is in the style of politicians to come up with claims, not necessarily supported by facts that they worked to achieve a party goal. Since M’uazu was not everywhere to ascertain who played what role, how he responds to these claims would determine how far he could go.
In a bid to adopt a Socratic method in the selection of Tukur’s replacement, certain criteria were penciled down. S/he must a committed democrat and team player; s/he must have rich experience in politics and party administration; s/he must have a proven ability to reconcile aggrieved members of the party; s/he must show readiness to reorder PDP for electoral victory in 2015 in at least 25 to 28 states; s/he must be a good listener that could show respect for all organs of the party, as such, s/he must be a political asset and not a liability to PDP. And lastly, the prospective candidate would be one that could ensure free and fair primaries.
On paper the bullet points of the requirements for the ideal candidate are such as Havard documents are made of. But in Nigeria politics, the unstated intention encapsulated by the word ‘interest’ matters most. That is why a Havard professor would find it very hard winning elections in the country with all his knowledge of political theories and strategies. Top of the many interests Alhaji M’uazu would try to protect is that of President Goodluck Jonathan, especially his second term ticket. If in the name of trying to ensure free and fair primaries, the Walin Bauchi does not bend the rules to accommodate the right of Mr. President to unquestioning victory, he may be whipped and reminded of the fate of a former national chairman, Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor. Shortly after former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, kicked the bucket, Ogbulafor pulled the sleeping dog of zoning by the ears, declaring that the North would produce the president in 2011. The party dug up dead bones of the chairman’s rested corruption case and he was thrown out of office and has been trying to explain his innocence, (insolence). Like Dr. Okwy Nwodo, when Governor Sullivan Chime, endorsed his nomination, M’uazu should not forget that the same Governor Yuguda that moved the motion for his adoption could also be used to appeal the judgment that freed him from the indictment of corruption slammed on him by the State Government’s panel of inquiry. When Nwodo and Chime danced in thanksgiving to God at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Ogui Enugu, the ex-chairman did not know that the state chapter of the party withheld his membership card for a purpose. PDP knows, as in the advertisement of a popular tyre brand, that power is nothing without control! M’uazu would also be tested by his handling of all subtle and overt forms of control that may be exerted on him by those who pull the levers of power and influence.
Geniality, Comradeship with Governors
IN a statement shortly after the emergence of the former Bauchi State governor as new national chairman of PDP, the party’s publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh explained that the resignation of Tukur was to calm frayed nerves in the party and explore the possibility of bringing back those who had left. Metuh also noted that the emergence of M’uazu, from the same North East geopolitical zone as Tukur, was to reestablish the confidence of the people of the zone in the party. One of the knotty assignments the new national chairman is expected to discharge with dispatch is to bring back the estranged five governors that have gone to pitch tent with the inchoate All Progressives Congress (APC). The unprecedented defection of Governors Rotimi Amaechi; Abdulfattah Ahmed; Aliyu Wammako; Rabiu Kwankwanso and Murtala Nyako of Rivers, Kwara, Sokoto, Kano and Adamawa states respectively, was the final straw on the troubled tenure of Tukur, which hastened his resignation. At the exit, the governors complained against the former chairman’s strong-arm tactics and other irreconcilable differences over the running of the affairs of PDP.
Born in Boto, Tafawa Balewa local council of Bauchi State, Alhaji M’uazu, was produced by a combination of executive and legislative blessing. While his successor and incumbent Governor of the state, Isa Yuguda nominated him, Senator Ndoma Egba seconded the nomination. The new chairman’s geniality and comradeship with state governors put him in good stead to succeed. He would easily win the support of legislators without dangling some carrots that may ultimately offend the ideals of democracy. The issue of automatic ticket to members of the Senate was part of Tukur’s later day baggage before his forced exit. Unlike Tukur, M’uazu does not possess a huge body mass that may frighten, neither does he possess massive wealth to intimidate anybody. Signs that incumbent state governors were ready to offer the new chairman tacit support he needs to succeed came immediately he was announced.
The shout of approval that greeted him showed that he was accepted and acceptable to the governors. Some of the governors have actually felicitated with their former colleague. Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji while praising M’uazu’s emergence advised the new chairman to “make the reconciliation of aggrieved members of the party his priority.” The Abia State chief executive added that only by achieving reconciliation within the party that the chairman could ensure that PDP wins the 2015 general elections. On his part, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State called on all PDP faithful to cooperate with Mu’azu, to take the party to greater heights, adding that being “eminently qualified for the job, the cooperation of members would enable him to move the party forward.” Said Chime in a congratulatory message signed by his chief press secretary, Chukwudi Achife: “The new chairman has a proven knowledge and experience in political administration, which he is expected to deploy to unify and strengthen the party.’’
Also, Senators of the party under the aegis of the Senators Forum of Nigeria expressed their readiness to work with the new party chairman to re-position the party ahead of the 2015 general elections. In a statement signed by the Secretary, Senator Abubakar Girei, the Forum, which comprises serving and out of service senators; said the integrity, experience and proven track record of achievements of the new chairman would help PDP come out of its present challenges.
With the outpouring of favourable sentiments and goodwill, M’uazu could make a slight difference in the way PDP is being perceived presently. He has a daunting task of trying to bring back all the defected governors. However, the recollection of the fact that the defecting governors once said they had a working arrangement with APC gives hope that their return could be achieved. In the event of such an auspicious happenstance, it would be clear to Nigerians that the governors’ romance with APC was merely a political MoU (memorandum of understanding) to achieve Tukur’s exit and make PDP amenable to reason. Anything short of that, it is left to be seen how adult politicians like the G.5 governors would be shuffling back and forth on political platforms. Apart from the obvious fact that M’uazu’s charge to bring back the governors amounts to shutting the stable doors after the horses had bolted, those who expect the governors back to PDP wants to welcome another round of trouble, especially concerning the second term ticket for President Jonathan. Or how would these nighttime optimists believe that M’uazu would have new problems on his hands when he tries to restore party machineries in the five states to the defectors, assuming they return?
Again the return of the governors would daze APC because it would have been clear that PDP merely sent their soldiers to disorganise them. However, the reputation of the governors (hope the giggles are not in protest that politicians do not have shame?) would bear the ultimate damage. There are two things the new PDP chairman should know: If PDP wins the 2015 Presidential election, its candidate would have to contend with the reality of a majority of opposition legislators in the National Assembly.
The new chairman should take to heart the words of a Hausa song to a young man doting a pretty damsel: Ka hau bene ka fadu, ka keria kafa da hanu, ka dawo abaka berira, nyarinya berira (Go climb the mountain and fall, break your legs and hands, then return and take your pretty lovie, beautiful young damsel)! What use could a pretty damsel be to an invalid? But that happens to be the lots of those who become national chairman of PDP. Having this in mind, Adamu M’uazu, can still make the difference in a decaying political Goliath!
Category: Bauchi State News