Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, a former national chairman of the PDP, can be described as a politician who cannot withstand the shock of electoral defeat. After the shocking loss of the 2015 presidential election, the former Bauchi State governor could not pick the pieces and move on. Perhaps, he could not face the fact that he led the party that ruled the country since 1999 to its first major catastrophic defeat, coming when it was least expected. The party lost to Muhammadu Buhari, a candidate many thought had gone down the drain of his political career.
Since the loss of the March 28, 2015 poll, Mu’azu has really gone under, even more than the party’s presidential candidate and former president, Goodluck Jonathan. At least, Jonathan was seen in many fora and had commented on some national and global issues.
Indeed, the election of Mu’azu as the chairman of the party on January 20, 2014, was to bring prospects after the crisis-plagued regime of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Mu’azu was to be the saviour of the PDP after five “powerful” governors of the party broke to form the newPDP, which the then President Goodluck Jonathan was not comfortable with.
However, the two-term governor of Bauchi was not able to knit the broken house but managed to forge forward. Nonetheless, the toga of being called the “game changer” did not manifest after all.
In his acceptance speech when he was nominated as the national chairman of the party, Mu’azu made a very strong statement, giving an impression of a war-lord.
He said, “As I take over as chairman of our great party, I want to assure you of my determined efforts and total commitment to restoring the lost glory of the PDP, with your total support. I have helplessly watched the dwindling fortunes of our party from 2003 to date, from controlling a record 28 states in 1999 down to 23 states currently.” According to him, the situation was unacceptable and must change, pointing out that Nigerians still loved the PDP and would continue to love and vote for the party as long as it met their expectations and aspirations. He promised to introduce reforms in the administration of the party to bring it in tandem with global best practices.
Mu’azu pointed out that party administration in Nigeria could not continue to be run as it was in the 19th century. “We must hurry up to be on the same page with advanced democracies, otherwise our elections will continue to be discredited by the international community. The beginning of credible, free and fair elections starts with credible, free and fair party primaries,” he said.
During the 2015 presidential campaigns, Mu’azu was also quoted to have made disparaging statements against the candidature Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC). Referring to Buhari and the APC in his twitter handle, Mu’azu said: “When power-drunk people get the chance to lead a country, instead of leading the people, they rule and lord over them like feudal kings. The little we know about governance in Nigeria is: never give a desperate man power because he will rule despotically and with an iron fist. Never again will Nigerians be ruled like slaves in their own country; enough of ruthless/wicked rulers and dictators.”
Apart from losing the presidential election, the PDP became the opposition in the National Assembly, and the states it controlled diminished.
Even before the inauguration of President Buhari on May 29, 2015, the blame game in the PDP reached a crescendo, with the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio leading a campaign for the resignation of the national chairman. This greatly divided the party and marked the beginning of Mu’azu going into oblivion.
Apart from the national level, Mu’azu was also humiliated in Bauchi, his home state, where the PDP did not make any gains; and he was the national chairman of the party.
As the PDP licked its wounds at the national level, Mu’azu faced another political squabble at home as the Bauchi PDP split into three camps. While he and his loyalists have their camp, the immediate past governor, Mallam Isah Yuguda, also has his group. Another camp is also led by the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed. The three camps opened old rivalries, leading to further disintegration of the party.
In fact, efforts to reconcile the estranged members also failed as Mu’azu and Yuguda were not always available. While Yuguda travelled to the UK, Mu’azu also left, but his whereabouts still remains speculative as he was said to have been shuttling between countries in Asia and the Middle East.
The former national chairman of the PDP was said to be in the habit of going away and later reappearing. For instance, it was gathered that after securing his first PDP governorship ticket, Mu’azu left the state, only to return for campaigns few months to the elections and won. He is also regarded as a person who has a passion for travelling. Immediately after his exit from power in 2007, the former governor also travelled out of the country, an action many believed was out of fear of possible humiliation and arrest to face alleged cases of corruption against him. His successor appointed a judicial commission of inquiry to probe his administration.
Others also believed that the former governor left the country because of the sour relationship between him and the then late President Umaru Yar’Adua. The former governor remained in self-exile until the death of Yar’Adua in 2010.
Presently, Mu’azu is said to have left the country under the pretence that he was attending the graduation ceremony of his daughter in a British school. He stayed temporarily in the United Kingdom before he reportedly relocated to Singapore, where he is believed to be writing a book to chronicle his stewardship as governor of Bauchi State.
He later attempted to be the national chairman of the PDP in 2011, but his attempt was scuttled by governors and some bigwigs from the North-East. He was defeated at the zonal election by Dr. Musa Babayo. However, Babayo was denied the opportunity to lead the party as Bamanga Tukur was allegedly imposed on them as national chairman.
It was alleged that he left the Wadata House national secretariat of the PDP without handing over or resigning, an action that threw the party into a deep leadership crisis. Since then, the “game changer’’ has remained elusive.