THE new national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu has been all about trying to recover grounds and goodwill lost to the opposition during the traumatic Tukur years. His hectic efforts nonetheless, the question as to whether he is running against time persists
By Henry Umoru
THose without work should stay off PDP secretariat, I am here to work, there is no doubt that all has not been well with our party. I will restore the lost glory of the PDP, with your total support”
Those were the words of the national Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu at the National Executive Committee, NEC hall of Wadata Plaza, national Secretariat of the party on January 20, 2014 soon after he took over from his immediate predecessor, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
As a former governor of Bauchi State for eight years, a member of NEC of the party and an aspirant to the position of National Chairman prior to the March 2012 National Convention, the problems of the PDP were obviously not new to Mu‘azu.
Once he took over the mantle of national chairman, Mu‘azu at every event expressed his desire to consult party stakeholders, an expression which smacked of humility and inclusiveness. So far, he has maintained that policy of consultations with governors, members of the Board of Trustees, party members and former opposition members who have been thronging his office to visit him.
With his coming, the PDP national secretariat has again come to life after a long spell of inactivity due to Tukur’s inclinations of running the party from his own home.
Muazu has also made no pretences on his desire to grow the membership base of the party with plans to admit everybody including ‘Scorpions’ especially with the All Progressives Congress, APC lurking in the corner ahead of 2015.
The new chairman is also pursuing the five former PDP governors who recently left the party for the APC.
He has also said severally that his doors remain open to all, including foes of serving party leaders in states and at federal level even as he has continued to reiterate that there would be no imposition of candidates and automatic tickets under his watch.
He has also painfully explained the need for reforms within the party, albeit, with the hope that senior party chieftains and governors will not start a fight given the historical reluctance of the party to reforms.
Remarkably, Mu‘azu is still enjoying his honeymoon with governors and other prominent stakeholders leading state delegations to pledge loyalty to the new administration in the party.
Among those who have visited are Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina; Ramallan Yero of Kaduna; Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta; Theodore Orji of Abia; Gabriel Suswam of Benue; Sullivan Chime of Enugu; Idris Wada of Kogi; Martin Elechi of Ebonyi and Aliyu Babangida of Niger.
Others who visited the Wadata Plaza national secretariat were the BoT led by the chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, PDP Governors Forum led by the chairman and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio.
Anenih during his visit applauded what he noted as the new spirit of team work evident in the National Working Committee, just as he stressed that leaders, stakeholders, members of PDP can now walk around with their eyes closed.
It will be recalled that the crisis in the PDP under Tukur got to a climax when the party split into two parallel NWCs, with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and six northern governors staging a walk out on the convention ground at the Special National Convention held last August.
Five of the governors including Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State ho had earlier been suspended from the party crossed over to the All Progressives Congress, APC last November.
Besides the governors who left the party, thirty seven elected members of the House of Representatives left the party for the APC. 11 senators have also made a show of their rejection of the party in the Senate.
Mu‘azu is also walking the difficult path between pleasing incumbent governors and opening the party to all. He had reassured Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, his own successor as governor that he would not temper with the governor’s structure but at the same time had difficulties readmitting the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu back to the party.
Kalu’s readmission is viciously opposed by the incumbent governor of the state, Chief Theodore Orji and by most party chieftains in the state. The governor, National Assembly members and many senior party officials few weeks ago took the radical step of staging a march to the national secretariat to press home their demand that the party’s doors should be locked against the former governor!
Mu‘azu has also proved to be adept in winning some former governors in the opposition to the PDP. He has so far won over former Governors Attahiru Bafarawa and Ibrahim Shekarau to the PDP. By press time, he was also set to catch a former military governor, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa.
Last Saturday, February 22, 2014 the national chairman also won back former Governor Achike Udenwa of Imo State back to the PDP.
Udenwa returned to the PDP alongside former Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Senator Christy Anyanwu, chairman Senate Committee on Navy, Chief Mike Ahamba, former lawyer to General Muhammadu Buhari among others.
Speaking at the colourful event President Goodluck Jonathan urged members of the party who left for the APC to as a matter of urgency rush back in order not to lose their seniority.
The president who was apparently referring to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Governors Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers; Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso of Kano; Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto; Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and others who recently dumped the PDP APC, said that there will be no discrimination against anyone of them that decided to return immediately to the party.