[OPINION]: Mu’azu And The Task Of Repositioning The PDP

By Theophilus Ilevbare


It was a new vista for the PDP as the former two time governor of Bauchi state, Adamu Mu’azu, emerged as the compromise candidate for the chairmanship of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. It is a whole new ball game for the PDP national chairman, nothing compared to his former position as the chief servant of Bauchi state from 1999 to 2007. The monumental crisis that rocked the ruling party in recent months under the erstwhile chairman, Bamanga Tukur, culminated in the defection of five PDP governors. Mu’azu comes into office to the exigency of the arduous task of party members reconciliation. He mounts the saddle at a time the party is coming to terms with some of the most profound rift the PDP has ever known since its formation. Personal ambition and vested interests for elective positions for next year general elections have turned the ruling party to a battle ground of sorts. The foot soldiers of President Goodluck Jonathan have already set the pace with the verbal warfare it has been embroiled with the opposition party and whoever has expressed any political ambition capable of truncating the second term aspiration of Mr. President. Stemming the tide of defecting members at all levels of the party to the All Progressive Congress will compel the PDP chairman to hit the ground running, particularly as lawmakers in the upper legislative chamber are warming up for what will become another tsunami of defection to hit the party.

The G5 governors have since left the ruling party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) save for the Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido and his Niger state colleague, Babangida Aliyu, who have continued to sit on the fence after they pulled out of the defection train at the eleventh hour. The replacement of Tukur as PDP chairman was one of their demands. Both governors are also crossed with the PDP national leadership for failure to convince Jonathan to honour the pact he allegedly signed with the north to rule for only one term upon his election as President in 2011. Former military and civilian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, a founding member and one of the national leaders of the party, announced recently that he was withdrawing from party activities because an alleged drug baron was made the South-West leader of the PDP. These and more are part of the sundry issues Mu’azu will seek a quick resolution as chairman of the party.

As he steps into Wadata Plaza headquarters of the PDP, his crisis management skill will be brought to test as everyone connected with the party will be watching closely to see how he will go about the business of reconciliation of members who were caught in the web of Tukur’s high handedness – an overzealous quest to get the applause of the first family at the expense of the party. The new PDP chairman must be wary of undue influence from the Jonathans to put structures in states opposed to the president’s second term agenda.

As we approach 2015, the ambition of President Jonathan to pursue another four-year term in office will continue to generate tension between the presidency and arrowheads of the north’s quest for power return to the zone at all cost. This is one issue that is capable of exposing the fault lines in the party. For Mu’azu, blind loyalty to the presidency even when the party’s interest is at stake is a super highway to sliding further down the slippery slope of the PDP’s descent into crisis.

As chairman, he should gird his loins for the barrage of criticisms from the opposition APC in the broadsides of the politics that will ensue on the pages of newspapers. His inglorious past, particularly his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly embezzling N19.8billion during his tenure as Bauchi state governor will continue to be a reference point in the war of words.

The self-acclaimed largest poliitcal party in Africa has gained reputation over the years for recycling politicians with integrity issues. To underscore this point and Jonathan’s hypocrisy in the fight against corruption, in spite of the allegations of misappropriation of Bauchi state funds, Mr President gave his blessing to the appointment of Adamu Mu’azu in 2011 as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). In November 2013, Mu’azu was then appointed as chairman of the Nigerian Pension Commission, PENCOM. It is reprehensible and morally wrong for the president to appoint a man standing trial for corruption to such a high office. The ruling party and indeed the government of Goodluck Jonathan has advertently being encouraging corruption by appointing indicted persons facing investigations into sensitive positions. It is weird to assume Jonathan will ever think of corruption let alone fight it. Mr President is at best, fighting corruption with corruption. It is patently obvious from his antecedents that Jonathan does not only encourage corruption but endorses it.

Another battle of supremacy between incumbent Bauchi governor Isa Yuguda and the new chairman, Adamu Mu’azu might be in the offing, a parallel of the political feud between Murtala Nyako and Bamanga Tukur rivalry that led to the eventual defection of the Adamawa state governor to the APC. Governor Isa Yuguda during the early days of his tenure, set up a committee to probe the former governor on the alleged mismanagement of N19.8billion from the state coffers. Many saw this as a way to get back at Mu’azu for the infamous role he played in working against his candidature in the 2007 elections which made him decamp to the opposition All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, on whose platform he won the election. Yuguda only returned to the PDP after he married off one of the daughters of late President Umaru Yar’adua. He capitalised on his new status as son-in-law to the then president and made a triumphant return to the PDP. After his return, the Bauchi PDP was factionalised. A faction was loyal to governor Yuguda and another (better known as “PDP Dubai” at that time) loyal to the former governor, Mu’azu, who was on self-exile to the United Arab Emirates for fear of prosecution. He steered the affairs of PDP in his home state from there. Many still belief there is still some bad blood between the two and it is only a matter of time before the much feared and talked about rivalry for control of party structure between a PDP national chairman and incumbent governor of his state of origin begins.

Now that President Jonathan has failed to install his preferred candidate as PDP chairman the way he had his way with Tukur, what fate lies ahead of his 2015 ambition? Will Adamu Mu’azu, wholeheartedly support the pesky aspiration of the president to run for a second term despite the mounting opposition from the north? What way can Jonathan’s electoral fortune be buttered  considering that Bauchi was one of the states that we saw anti-Jonathan protesters in their numbers leading to the killing of some National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) election officials in 2011. The new PDP chairman was one of the aspirants who jostled to emerge as a northern presidential candidate on the platform of the party before the 2011 elections. So, will Mu’azu sacrifice his ambition and the interest of the North to support the candidature of President Jonathan from the South? These are questions that will determine the trajectory of Adamu Mu’azu’s stewardship because as we have seen in the past, the support of a PDP national chairman cannot be divorced from the ambition of a sitting president seeking a second term.



Theophilus Ilevbare is a public affairs commentator. Engage him on twitter, @tilevbare. He blogs at http://ilevbare.com.


  1. Yes he can, because is in support of Jonathan. Jonathan is a good leader who have the interest of Nigeria in his mind, whoever that want to leave PDP should go, Goodluck should continue to do good things, the mouth will always talk, let the blind go away and those wit sight will stay. A good Nigerian should pray for the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. In support if MIKE AYEGBENI OGHIADOMHE

    Recently, the newspapers and social media were awashed with the pronouncements of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the A.P.C have “Islamisation of Nigeria” as one of its top agendas. This pronouncement went on to be tweeted by no lesser a person than the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the person of Dr. Reuben Abati to show that the Presidency is in full agreement with the statement, which led to further re-tweeting by all those who found the music so enjoyable in their ears. Even the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is not left out as its top hierarchy has repeated this same fallacy severally.
    The PDP working closely with CAN has used the religious card and other underhand ways to “win” the 2011 elections. An election year is around the corner again and the PDP, bereft of ideas on how to move the country forward, have started once more to beat the drum of religion to score cheap political points.
    This write-up is basically to show the fallacies inherent in the assertion of the PDP and CAN that an individual presidential candidate or a political party can “Islamise Nigeria.” It is also to call on Nigerians, both Muslims, Christians and those who do not belong to either of the faiths, that late Bob Marley of blessed memory have sang it in one of his songs long ago that “you can fool some people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
    In 2011, the PDP fooled some Nigerians that voting Buhari of the then CPC would lead to the “Islamisation of Nigeria”. Whatever this means? Some gullible persons actually, as unbelievable as it is, believed it. But today we are all witnesses to the catastrophes that have befallen Nigeria as a result of not allowing merit but allowing religious sentiments to influence our decisions. Thank God however for we are all the wiser in Nigeria. We are therefore using this medium to send out clear messages to the PDP/CAN and their divisive agenda, that Nigerians can see through all the cheap lies and blackmail and we are waiting to pass our judgments come 2015 elections.
    Now for anyone, no matter how highly placed or highly educated he or she is, to assert that anyone or any political party in Nigeria can “Islamize Nigeria”, shows how shallow minded and “illiterate” that person can be.
    For one to know how shallow-minded and “illiterate” such a person can be, we will first look at the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As altered) which is the supreme law governing the whole Federation:
    Section 38 (1) provides:
    “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance”
    Section 10 of the same constitution prohibits state religion by providing:
    “the Government of the Federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion”
    The above sections of the 1999 constitution (as altered) made it abundantly clear that no government of the Federation or the state shall adopt any religion as state religion and also that every individual is free to practice and change at anytime, any religion of his/her choice.
    For the die-hards who still remain skeptical despite the above provisions of the constitution, we endeavour to tell you that assuming, but not conceding the possibility, that a candidate or a political party, despite the ample provisions prohibiting it in the constitution, decided to foist a religion on the country. The individual or party must first propose a bill to the National Assembly for the altering of section 10 and section 38(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to enable the practice of state religion and take away the freedom of religion. We will then have to look in the constitution for the mode of altering provisions of the constitution.
    Section 9(2) of the constitution provides for this thus:
    “An Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this constitution, not being an act to which section 8 of this constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the states.”
    Note: Section 8 deals with new States and boundary adjustment etc.
    So tell me how this constitution can be altered to allow for “Islamization of Nigeria” as claimed by the PDP/CAN.
    For the “Islamization of Nigeria” to happen, the PDP/CAN is insinuating that the bill mentioned above would get two-third majority votes each in the Senate and the House of Representatives and secure the approval of resolutions of not less than two-thirds of Houses of Assembly of all the States in the federation! What these translates into is that for two-third majority to be gotten in each of the Senate and House of Representatives and the resolution of two-thirds of Houses of Assembly of all the states, even Christians will have to vote for the “Islamization of Nigeria.”
    In my candid opinion, the phrase “Islamization of Nigeria” as purported by the PDP/CAN insults the intelligence of both the Muslims and Christians alike. It is an insult to the Christians in that it infers that the Christians would lend a hand to make this possible thus anyone or any political party can just come and foist any religion upon them while it is an insult to Islam because it infers that Islam is negative and is to be avoided. This is based on the facts that were it a positive inference on Islam that is to be drawn, then PDP/CAN would not have mentioned nor made an issue of it.
    Surprisingly, no condemnation came from the Nigeria Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) which is the umbrella body for the protection of Islam and is equivalent of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). This may be because the leaders in the NSCIA cannot read between the lines or the NSCIA is in deep slumber and it needs to wake up! Were Buhari or el-Rufai or the APC the ones that made comment that the PDP and the Presidency have “Christianization of Nigeria” agenda, CAN would have been the first to come out to scream to high heavens condemning the statements!
    Where is the Nigeria Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)?
    The silence of the NSCIA where Islam and Muslims are being insulted and ridiculed; where the harassment and abuse of rights of Muslims in Nigeria is prevalent, coupled with extra judicial killing of Muslims in the name of Boko Haram is a serious cause of worry for the ordinary Muslim in Nigeria. This has made the Muslims in Nigeria endangered species and the PDP/CAN are diverting attention from these by insinuating that the Muslims have more influence in the polity by the fallacy of “Islamization of Nigeria.”
    I have serious issues with the phrase: “Islamization of Nigeria.” This is because for “Islamization of Nigeria” to take place, certain structures must be on ground to enable the proper “Islamization of Nigeria.” Our argument is that what we have on ground in Nigeria is a “Christianization Agenda” of the PDP and CAN but that the PDP and CAN were using the phrase “Islamization of Nigeria” to divert attention from what is really on ground. We will therefore use this medium to try to compare the structures that are necessary for “Islamization of Nigeria” as against those structures that are necessary for the “Christianization of Nigeria” to see which of the two religions have this agenda.
    I have a strong belief that the PDP and the administration of the present Mr. President have been putting structures in place to “Christianize Nigeria” and not the way they are vainly trying to deceive Nigerians see things for evidence abound to prove this conclusion.
    I will attempt to mention some of the structures and media that aids the “Islamization” or “Christianization” of Nigeria and leave it to the reader to form his/her judgment as to what is actually on ground in Nigeria:
    Firstly, I implore you to visit any major city of the Federation and take a census of the numbers of churches as compared to the numbers of mosques. This is modestly in a ratio of 5 to 1 otherwise you can have cities where you have the ratio of churches to mosques as 10 to 1. Mosques or Churches are the places of worship for the Muslims and Christians respectively. It can be argued that the ubiquitousness of churches as compared to mosques is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is being “Christianized” already and not the imagined “Islamization of Nigeria.”
    Take a trip to the Nations Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Despite the fact that Muslims have served as Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory than the Christians, try to compare the number of mosques to the number of churches in the Municipal and all the satellite towns and by extention, the land holding for religious purposes. The ratio in all shows that we have more churches owning far greater percentage of land in Abuja than land owned by mosques thereby placing the church at advantage as in all other states of the federtation over the mosques and therefore lending further credence to the argument that Nigeria is being “Christianized.”
    Secondly, electronic and print media are veritable tools that can be used for the “Islamization of Nigeria.” How many of these media is in the hands and under the control of the Muslims in Nigeria? Almost all of the media that is worth its name is in the hand and under the control of Christians. Try watching the local TV station in your area on a Friday and on a Sunday and you will understand the influence and control we are talking about. The Muslim’s day of worship is on Fridays on which day you cannot find more than one or two Islamic programmes on the television or radio. But on a Sunday which is the Christians’ worship day, Christian programmes on tv and radio are innumerable thus reinforcing the argument that Nigeria is a “Christianized” nation.
    When it comes to the days set aside for worship which is Fridays for Muslims and Sundays for the Christians, the Muslims leave their places of work on Friday to say Jumaat Prayers and return to work for that day using approximately about an hour for all these. However, the Christian on Sunday, takes the whole day off therefore have more time for evangelizing and spread of the Christian gospel. The days of worship too are skewed to be in favour of “Christianizing Nigeria”.
    In educational institutions where impartation of knowledge and religion is being carried out, the number of private Christian schools outnumber the muslim schools in an approximate ratio 8:1. Most Muslim children therefore attend these Christian schools and are encouraged to change their faiths to Christianity. These are clear cases of “Christianization of Nigeria”
    Is it area of pilgrimage? This government showed clearly that it was “Christianizing Nigeria” without apology to anyone.
    Performance of the holy pilgrimage in Islam is an injunction of the Almighty Allah as enshrined in Qur’an Chapter 22 verse 27 and 29: The chapter is titled “Al Hajj” which means the “Pilgrimage.” Verse 27 of the chapter as interpreted in the Roman Transliteration of the Holy Qur’an with full Arabic text by Abdullahi Yusuf Ali states thus:
    “And proclaim the pilgrimage among men: They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean (on account of journeys) through deep distant mountain highways”.
    Verse 29 on its part states:
    “Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, fulfill their vows and (again) circumambulate the ancient House”.
    The above quoted chapter which is titled “Al Hajj” in the Holy Qur’an meaning “Pilgramage” shows in clear terms where Almighty Allah prescribed the performance of the pilgrimage as a religious duty on the Muslim.
    Recently, the President of Nigeria gathered Christian members of his cabinet and undertook a trip to Jerusalem and they called it a “pilgrimage” to Jerusalem. The provision for “pilgrimage” to Jerusalem is not in any of the different versions of the Bible but the presidency undertook the trip any way, at tax payers’ expense and yet they talk of “Islamization of Nigeria.” How?
    Since the inception of the administration of Jonathan and the PDP government, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has made Aso Rock Villa a second home as he can come and go at anytime. The president himself have been attending several churches in the FCT to “worship” and has made several policy statements concerning Nigeria, from the church and no Muslim found this odd. Yet they claimed some persons and parties wanted to “Islamize Nigeria” when already Nigeria has been “Christianized.”
    The Sultan of Sokoto who is the leader of Muslims in Nigeria do not own a private jet nor does he have any personal mosque that cost over half a billion naira to build, by which he can “Islamize Nigeria”. However his counterpart, that is, the CAN President own a private jet and recently commissioned a church belonging to him which cost over half a billion naira to build. Can you in all honesty believe in “Islamization of Nigeria?”
    We can go on and on but let Nigerians ruminate over these few examples and form their own opinion as to the truth or otherwise of the phrase “Islamization of Nigeria” as bandied by the PDP and CAN. We therefore call on all Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike to “shine your eyes” and do not let the PDP and CAN use religion to divide us as it is together that we can wrestle the nation from their strangle-hold.

    Adamu idris


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