By Suzan Edeh
They were once very good friends, but the struggle for power separated them in the twilight of 2006. The appointment of Adamu Mu‘azu as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP will heal many wounds, and notably, perfect the already healing friendship between himself and his governor, Alhaji Isa Yuguda.
Governor Isa Yuguda and his predecessor in office, Adamu Mu’azu parted ways in 2006, when Yuguda made known his intention to contest the gubernatorial election under the platform of PDP.
It was said that Mu’azu at that time preferred the then Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Umar Nadada who was, however, trounced by Yuguda who contested on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP.
Even worse for Mu‘azu was that his bid to go to the Senate was also stopped by Yuguda’s one time special assistant, Bala Mohammed, a former journalist who contested on the platform of the ANPP.
Following Yuguda’s inauguration as governor in 2007, he apparently set out on what some described as a revenge mission when he established a commission of inquiry to investigate and probe the affairs of the Mu‘azu administration.
Even before that inquiry was over in 2008, the former governor was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC of embezzling and mismanaging N19.8 billion during his tenure as governor of the state.
When the EFCC demanded that Mu’azu should report to the headquarters for interrogation in July 2008, he relocated to Dubai, the United Arab Emirate on self exile. The following year, the commission of inquiry came up with a white paper that indicted Muazu for allegedly embezzling N2 billion, amongst other indictments. He was also banned from contesting for public office for 10 years.
Mu‘azu was quick to put up judicial opposition to the probe as he through his counsel Akintola Adeniyi SAN, pointed out that the state government had no right to ban him from contesting for any political office.
The case with suit no BA/295m/2009 was first mentioned on 25th February 2010 and adjourned to 23rd June 2010 for ruling.
Meanwhile, while the case was proceeding, there were developments in the political environment. The former president, Alhaji Umar Yar‘Adua was taken out of the country and died in May 2010, enthroning a king that was beholden to Mu‘azu for some past favours.
Mu‘azu as governor had provided succour for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, then the deputy governor of Bayelsa State in 2005, during the edgy period when the then governor, Dipereye Alamieyeseigha was under siege of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Following the impeachment, Mu‘azu was said to have provided security that returned Dr. Jonathan to Bayelsa.
So with Dr. Jonathan now president, sources claimed that a political solution was brought to bear on Governor Yuguda to soften on his campaign against Mu‘azu.
So, the case which suffered several setbacks since 2009 when it was first initiated, finally ended in April 2013, when Mu‘azu was cleared of the alleged N2billion naira indictment by the commission of enquiry.
Justice Zango declared that the state government white paper on the inquiry and gazetted on 12th November, 2009 cannot stand because it lacked legal effect.
Thus, he ordered that the white paper and any other legal action taken against the defendants against the plaintiff be also set aside.
Remarkably, the state government did not appeal the judgment when it came.
Mu‘azu, meanwhile, also began to show his presence in the state and attend state functions. He was a conspicuous presence when Governor Yuguda lost his sister last year and given their past close friendship, was almost like a chief mourner receiving visitors on behalf of the governor.
Governor Yuguda has also to his credit not opposed choice appointments given Mu‘azu by the Jonathan administration.
First as chairman of the board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and only recently, as chairman of the National Pension Commission.
Mu‘azu has promised that he would not go the way of past PDP chairmen in interfering in the affairs of the state chapters of the PDP where the chairmen came from. Given his antecedents, it is a promise that many believe would bring a new lease of life for the PDP.
Restructuring the PDP: Reacting to the Muazu’s appointment as the national chairman of PDP, APC National auditor, Captain Bala Mohammed Jibrin said the emergence of Muazu as the national chairman cannot really make any difference within the PDP now because he came when things within the party have deteriorated.
According to him,”the new chairman just have one year before 2015 election to perform and if he does not deliver, it will be very unfortunate for the PDP, but from political calculations, he is already a failure and there is no magic that he can do.”
Resolving the party’s problems
The Bauchi State chapter of the PDP hailed Mu‘azu’s emergence as the new national chairman, saying that his appointment will help resolve the problems bedeviling the party.
The State secretary of the party, Alhaji Samaila Burga told Vanguard in that although the PDP has been going through very turbulent crisis lately, the appointment of the former governor of the state will help in wooing back all the members of the party that left because of one grievance or the other.
He also dismissed speculations that Governor Yuguda was not disposed to the choice citing the rapport between both men in the days leading to the appointment. The governor as reflective of the détente between both men nominated Mu‘azu at the eventful meeting of the National Executive Committee, last Monday.