Demola Rewaju: Tukur out, Mu’azu in, but Jonathan’s ambition remains a PDP problem

by Demola Rewaju


With his speech while announcing Tukur’s resignation, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has proven himself as a dependable political ally. He stuck with Tukur until it was painfully obvious that there was simply no other way to advance until Tukur was shown the door.

The crisis that finally pushed Alhaji Bamanga Tukur out with a reluctant throw-in of the towel last week started soon after the presidential elections in 2011 that was the roots of many crises in the polity and led to the exacerbation of the Boko Haram crisis in the north which predates the presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The North-East zone had firmly thrown its weight behind Dr. Musa Babayo as the chairmanship candidate but Bamanga Tukur was able to position himself as the only man who could protect the interest of Mr. President as far as the PDP political machinery was concerned. The horsetrading of the time accommodated many interests including those the Rivers state governor Rotimi Amaechi who as the chairman of the Governors’ Forum had his candidate – Prince Uche Secondus – accepted as Deputy National Chairman of the party and Niger state governor and Northern Governors leader, Babangida Aliyu had his way with an aging man installed as the PDP Youth Leader. Unfortunately, the governors turned around and insisted that Bamanga Tukur had to go especially when he made it impossible for them to hold the president to ransom on the matter of his perceived 2015 ambition.

Tukur had to go and there was no other way out. I have cried several times on this blog in wonderment about why the president wouldn’t stop backing Tukur’s hold on the party even when it was obvious that the man didn’t carry much weight in the north and even in his home state – Adamawa. His resignation came in too late perhaps as five governors have already decamped and while this ordinarily looks to me and others as a blow to PDP’s political machinery, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Jonathan camp.

The emergence of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as the consensus candidate points to a new era in PDP – one where rancour is largely contained within party circles and not on the pages of the newspapers as we have seen in the past one year. Pundits had gone to town mentioning various names but Mu’azu is seen as the representation of the core northern politician – one who is very conservative and work hard towards consensus rather than contest. He is not unnecessarily garrulous (not saying Bamanga Tukur was) and he is more likely to allow the party structures across each state remain in the hands of the governors so that they can use their delegates to negotiate with the president directly whenever the PDP presidential primaries come up. Coming from Bauchi where OBJ acolyte turned GEJ loyalist Isa Yuguda rules, Mu’azu will likely remain pliant to the will of the presidency even though he was the choice of potentially dissident governor.

With his speech while announcing Tukur’s resignation, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has proven himself as a dependable political ally. He stuck with Tukur until it was painfully obvious that there was simply no other way to advance until Tukur was shown the door. He arranged a soft-landing for the man, declared him ‘not guilty’ of any offences and hinted at higher national office for him in the near future. Compare this with former President Obasanjo’s penchant for using and dumping chairmen out in the cold and you will see why many will flock towards the Jonathan camp in the days to come.

As it is in PDP, only few dissenting voices to the 2015 presidential agendum of Goodluck Jonathan remain within the party structure some of whom include – former VP Atiku Abubakar, Jigawa governor Sule Lamido, Niger governor Babangida Aliyu and former president Olusegun Obasanjo whom many will conclude has one leg outside the party already. Aliyu is too smart to leave PDP and may opt instead to play the spoiler by backing either Atiku or Lamido to challenge the president at the presidential primaries in PDP.

One can safely say that 90% of those left in PDP will support Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid but the problem will be the 10% still left who are prepared to burn down the party rather than watch Jonathan win a second term. How Jonathan wields power henceforth is yet to be seen but I believe 2014 will witness a rejuvenation in public support for his presidency which if managed well will win him a second term in office. It has already started if you can see the signs – APC intra-party wrangling and the outpouring of national support over the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Law.

My former governor from Osun state Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former Ekiti governor Engr. Segun Oni may have sealed their own fate by flirting with the new-PDP then APC rather than remaining with the traditional PDP structure – there is no relevance in PDP for them anymore.




Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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