The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday opened a new chapter in its history with the ratification, by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), of former Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, as its national chairman.
Mu’azu, who emerged the consensus candidate after a series of meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan, governors elected on the platform of the party and other party bigwigs, the last of which ended in the wee hours of Monday, succeeded Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who “stepped aside” last Thursday.
Shortly after he took the oath of office, Mu’azu promised to set about achieving reconciliation in the party that has been enmeshed in a debilitating crisis since last year.
At the NEC meeting that was presided over by the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus, the president gave some insight into why the party settled for Mu’azu from about 10 contenders who were touted as being in the race.
Party chiefs, including governors, also took turns to admonish their chairman to avoid the banana peel that led to the sudden exit of some of his predecessors from office and to work for the reconciliation of aggrieved members.
The president told the party leaders that Mu’azu was chosen despite the legion of members who had indicated interest in becoming the national chairman of PDP because of his ability to build bridges.
According to him, “We needed someone who can build the party, who can reach out to the people and who is friendly with the people. Someone who can bring the party together, someone who can build bridges.
“I want to commend all those who showed interest and I can tell you that they were all eminently qualified. A lot of things have been said about the new national chairman. He is not known as someone with tribal or religious sentiments.
“Your religion should not affect your thinking. I knew you as a governor and I can say to some extent that I know you. We need somebody who can build the party and who would not resort to fighting every time.”
Jonathan attributed the infighting among party leaders in some states to the reasons why PDP lost some states during elections, adding: “We lost because the leaders failed to agree among themselves.”
The president, who tasked Mu’azu to reduce tension among PDP members, said it was not easy deciding on him as the party chair because many of the party’s governors did not want the next chairman to come from their states to reduce friction between them and the chairman, as had happened previously.
He said: “Our governors didn’t want their chairman to come from their states. We even thought of taking the office to states without PDP governors. But we are happy that history has been made today. I want to thank members of our party for what has been done today without anyone going to court to get injunctions and all that.”
Also, Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, urged Mu’azu to make reconciliation his primary task.
Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF) and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, told Mu’azu that the first thing to ensure his success in office was that he should avoid “the banana peel that affected the relationship between former national chairmen of the party and the governors”.
He said: “Please try to avoid the banana peel that has affected past national chairmen of the party and the state governors.”
He blamed those he described as political jobbers and those who do not wish the party well for the crisis in the party, especially between the governors and the national secretariat of the party.
He said it was uncommon for the governor of a PDP state to nominate one of the state indigenes as national chairman of the party, pledging a better relationship between the governors and the party chairman.
“I want to reiterate that the governors are prepared to cooperate with the national chairman,” he said.
He also told Mu’azu to make the return of the five defected governors of the party to PDP as his first major task.
He assured the gathering of the commitment of the party’s governors to ensure that Jonathan wins a second term in 2015.
He also urged the new national chairman to recognise the governors as party leaders at state levels while the president remains the party leader at the national level.
Earlier, Secondus who had presided over the NEC meeting said the meeting was in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, specifically Section 45(2), which authorised him to act in the absence or resignation of the national chairman and Section 47 (6) that mandates the party to appoint a chairman whenever there is a vacancy.
With this, he called on Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, to nominate the new chairman of the party and moved a motion to appoint the chairman.
In moving the motion, Yuguda said although he had a misunderstanding with Mu’azu, he stressed that it was over. The motion was seconded by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba.