Written by Fidelis Mac-Leva, Muideen Olaniyi, Hamza Idris, Ibraheem Hamza, Adelanwa Bamgboye, Saawua Terzungwe & Nuruddeen Oyewole (Lagos)
For about two decades they bestrode the Nigerian political landscape as movers and shakers within the umbrella of the now ousted Peoples Democratic Party, calling the shots at will. But now that things have fallen apart for the PDP and the center appears shaky, many of them seem to have gone into political oblivion. Daily Trust on Sunday digs into to their new vocation as members of an opposition party.
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Alhaji Bamanga Tukuisr is one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A former Governor of the defunct Gongola State, his almost two year’s tenure as national chairman of the party, which came to a dramatic end on January 15, 2014, is said to have been characterized by a reign of intra-party crises that eventually led to the split of the party which had held onto power in Nigeria for sixteen years.
While he held sway as national chairman at the Wadata Plaza there were a lot of theatrical events that characterized the party which left no oxygen for him to breath. Perhaps the most dramatic event that had characterized the PDP under Bamanga was on August 31, 2013 when the party was to host a mini- national convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Since his resignation, Bamanga who was later appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation has remained less visible in the affairs of the party.
But one of the media aides of the former chairman, Samuel Idowu told Daily Trust on Sunday that Bamanga was had not gone into political oblivion. “He is a politician and politicians never retire. PDP members and chieftains and even those of the now ruling APC consult him on a daily basis.
Idowu said Bamanga who had wanted to reform the PDP and stepped on toes in the process “is agonizing the fate of the party today”, adding: if you recall the triple-R and triple-D policy of Bamanga it is what the incumbent President is carrying out in managing the affairs of the country.” Mr. Idowu, however, said Bamanga was still committed to reforming the PDP saying: “His point of view is that having managed the country for sixteen years, the PDP cannot be wished away.”
Consequently there were agitations and clamour for Bamanga to resign as national chairman of the party and on January 14, 2014 the embattled Tukur eventually agreed to resign. This was after a lot of pressure from embittered members of the party caucus, especially state governors, over the role he played in the crisis plaguing the party. January 15: Thus after spending nearly, two years which was characterized by crisis and confusion, Tukur resigned as the PDP chairman on January 15, 2014.
Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark
Elder statesman, influential Ijaw leader and former federal commissioner for information Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark is safely referred to as the godfather to former President Goodluck Jonathan. However, like many other chieftains of the former ruling party, Clark appears to have recoiled to his shell and declined to talk further about the PDP since the party lost out in the last presidential election to the APC.
While former President Jonathan held sway in Aso Rock Villa, Chief Clark was like the de facto President who was calling the shots from the sidelines. In the build up to the last general elections, his support for the re-election of Jonathan saw expression in several controversial statements credited to the Ijaw leader. For instance he was reported as saying if Jonathan was not re-elected the country would break up.
But the octogenarian who claimed that he is at the departure lounge believes that his godson is a hero for conceding defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari even before INEC announced the official results.
Clark, however, noted that though he was among those who campaigned against the emergence of Buhari during the last election, since Nigerians voted for the incumbent President, he must be supported in order to enable him to succeed in the task ahead.
In what appeared like a U-turn Clark said: “I have congratulated President Buhari and today, he is our President. He’s not the President of a section of the country. Buhari is fit for the job and he’s capable of leading us. We will support him. Campaigns are over and a winner has emerged. We must come together after the election and give our support to the President.
“The loser of the election, who had all the powers to do and undo, came out to congratulate the President. That action of the former President is the best thing that has happened in this country.”
Chief Tony Anenih
Chief Tony Anenih popularly known as “Mr Fix It” is another influential political figure in the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Anenih, who was a member of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), played active role in the emergence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and later became Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman of the PDP. He left the position under controversial circumstances when Obasanjo completed his second tenure in 2007, a time when the position of BoT Chairman was restricted to former Presidents and former National Chairmen of the party.
But the former Minister of Works and Housing returned to his position in 2012 after Obasanjo voluntarily resigned in a letter addressed to the party. Before his resignation, the law which prohibited others from becoming the BoT Chairman under Obasanjo, had been amended. He used the position to rally support for the second term bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who eventually lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari during the March 28 election.
After the PDP’s big defeat at the 2015 general elections, the Edo-born politician resigned as the party’s BoT Chairman, citing state of affairs of the party and the need to allow former President Jonathan to occupy the position as reasons.
After the resignation, the PDP political strategist has remained less visible on the political turf but refused to dump politics. In his characteristic style of playing the godfather, he is believed to have played active role in the emergence of Senate Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President.
Similarly, ahead of the 2016 governorship election in Edo state, Anenih is said to have started the coordination of PDP political events as party members and leaders continue to seek the direction to follow ahead of the forthcoming poll in his home-state.
Dr Ahmadu Ali
Dr. Ahmadu Ali, who is a trained physician, served in the Nigerian Army. He is a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman who also played an important role in the election victories of former President Obasanjo, late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
His previous role made former President Jonathan to choose him as the Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization in the 2015 general elections. Being a former National Chairman, he continues to play critical and influential role in the PDP as he can attend the party’s caucus, BoT and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings. He is also believed to have worked toward the emergence of Senator Ekweremadu as deputy senate president.
Alhaji Adamu Muazu
Immediate past chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Adamu Muazu, disappeared from the political scene few days after the last presidential election which gave the APC an edge.
Sources close to the former Bauchi State governor said Muazu “maintained silence” during the controversy that surrounded the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Muazu did his best in strengthening the PDP and that was what endeared him to many stakeholders of the Party, including Jonathan. But when the outcome of the elections favored the APC, the same stakeholders called for the head of Muazu.
“That was basically why he left the shores of Nigeria and kept mute while the controversy raged and he resigned when it was evident that some people wanted to crucify him,” one of the sources said.
Our correspondent reports that Muazu had remained abroad amidst claims that he was attending to his health until June 11th which coincided with his birthday before he returned to Nigeria.
Even his resignation as chairman of the PDP was announced while he was abroad.
One of his close allies said the former governor is now planning to go into large scale farming in his home state of Bauchi.
“For now, Muazu is perfecting plans to spend most of his time in Bauchi…politics will be secondary in his agenda, at least in the next few years,” he said.
Alhaji Hassan Adamu (Wakilin Adamawa)
Alhaji Hassan Adamu hails from Admawa State from the North-Eastern Nigeria and holds the title of Wakili (Emissary) of Adamawa Emirate Council. He served as a founding member of the PDP and member of PDP Board of Trustees representing his state. He was a Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as that of Environment. A former Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and one time Nigeria’s Ambassador to the USA he accompanied the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan to campaign mostly at the two grand rallies in Abuja and at most of the Northern States.
A source told Daily on Sunday that he was alleged to be the leader of the Fulani Mafia that did not vote PDP and Jonathan because he did not quell the Boko Haram insurgency and for not ensuring the peace of Fulani cattle herdsmen all over the country.
The alleged game plan was for the Fulani to infiltrate the Jonathan administration and expose him to the electorate in favour of fellow kinsman and now President Muhammadu Buhari. The Wakilin of Adamawa placed full page adverts in major dailies supporting the new President despite being a card carrying member of the PDP. Not much has been heard of him since the PDP lost the general elections to the APC.
Former Vice President Muhammad Namadi Sambo is an Architect and was a businessman until he ventured into politics in his home state of Kaduna. The former Commissioner of Works under the then military administrator Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar started his political career when he contested and became Governor of Kaduna state on May 29, 2007.
He is known for his 11-point agenda which critics have described more as a political rhetoric than reality. The sudden death of then President Umaru Yar’adua paved way for him to become Vice President while his boss and then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan became President. He was sworn in as Vice President on May 19th, 2010.
Namadi lost most of his constituency to the opposition, as he was alleged to believe in closed-door policy which led to youths booing him when he hosted President Jonathan during the 2015 election campaign in Kaduna.
Namadi was alleged to have switched his polling units twice; the first was in the midst of his ward called Kabala in Kaduna. Because he failed to tar the road he had pledged during his campaign as Governor, the youth were said to have planned to throw sachet water at him.
He then switched to Link Road off Tafawa Balewa Road, near Almannar Mosque and when he lost elections there, he then relocated to the ‘new’ polling unit with INEC number PU-011 on Swimming Pool road, Police College, Kaduna. That was the only time he won his polling booth.
A political analyst who prefers anonymity said Namadi’s political oblivion started when he lost prominent politicians from his then PDP to the opposition from all nooks and crannies of the state, among who are his benefactor and political god-father Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former PDP Chairman Alhaji Yaro Makama Rigachikun, Ambassador Sule Buba, grassroots politician Suke Hunkuyi, among others. He then lost his state Governor and his protégée Muhktar Ramalan Yero to the opposition APC under Nasir El-Rufai.
Namadi is said to have relocated to Dubai after the last general elections and shuttles between there and London.
Dr. Bello Halliru Muhammadu
The acting Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees Dr Halliru Mohammad Bello is the scion of the Sokoto Dynasty as he is from the lineage of the younger brother of the reformer Sheik Usman Danfodio, Sheik Abudullahi (Gwandu) Danfodio. A trained veterinarian, Dr Haliru Mohammed Bello was a lecturer and later a politician, who started politics when he contested for the post of Deputy Governor of Sokoto under the then Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) and lost in 1979.
He joined others in the founding of the PDP. He was Minister of Communication and later Defense. After he left office he was indicted in a bribery scandal involving the German telecom company Siemens AG. He was Defense Minister from July 2011 until June 2012. He was appointed the acting National Chairman of the PDP of Nigeria on 25 May 2015.
Bello Halliru Mohammed supported a change to the PDP’s zoning in favor of President Goodlkuck Jonathan to run for re-election in 2011, instead of a northern candidate. When Jonathan became President, he was alleged to have rewarded him with the post of Minister of Defense, a post he held between 2011 and 2012.
Having lost his state to the opposition APC and has since been quiet following the downward slope of his party.
Dr (Mrs) Kema Chikwe
Findings by revealed that Mrs. Kema Chikwe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national women leader is still occupying her position, though silent on national issues.
Mrs. Chikwe had before the presidential campaign formed a major source of news in the media, including her reaction on the over 200 abducted Chibok school girls. But following the defeat of the PDP at the last general elections the women leader seemed to have lost steam.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered from a reliable member of the PDP National Working Committee that some party officials have been silenced not to comment on national issues as the party moves to re-position itself for victory in future elections.
Even though she was seen at the NWC meeting held last Wednesday at the party’s national secretariat Abuja, an insider who said he was also warned by the party to stop making comments in the media, said she is not expected to talk except if the need arises considering that her comment on the abducted Chibok school girls generated a lot of concerns nationwide, as she expressed doubt that the girls were truly abducted.
“Well, every organization has its own modus operandi. You can see that some of our officers have made statements that nearly caused confusion within the party and the nation. See what Jalo said in Lagos, see what Walid Jibrin said about national convention date.
“We are in the mood of repositioning, re-organizing and re-strategizing to reclaim our mandate at the centre come 2019, so we are regulating what comes out of our party for public consumption, so don’t feel otherwise. This is a new era in the PDP, as a temporary opposition party,” he said.
Though silent the PDP women leader is however, seen to be performing her official duties including attending of NWC meetings and attending to women issues within the party as well as being part of the team brainstorming on how to move the party forward and re-position ahead of 2019.
Chief Bode George
Arguably the most powerful politician in the Lagos State Chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George wields enormous clout that had won him friends and foes alike.
George, a former military Governor of old Ondo State, had his priorities cut out for him at the start of the Fourth Republic when he emerged as the National Vice Chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP, South West). He was later to become National Deputy Chairman (South). And when the going was still good between him and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, George had a larger-than- life influences that cut across entire south west region.
For those in the know, it was when occupying party positions that George was able to establish a firm root for himself in the local chapter of the PDP. With his blessing, state party chairmen, gubernatorial candidates, among other seekers of political offices, secure the party’s flags from time to time.
“Baba influence would ordinarily have diminished when he had that issue with EFCC which of course led him to Kirikiri for about two years if he had lacked the prowess to maintain a grip on the state political structure. But that could not be as he seamlessly dished out orders that were often followed to the latter,” a young but close associate of George, who will not want his name mentioned, said.
That assertion might be difficult to dismiss. Before his travails with the anti- graft agency, George had single-handedly installed the state party executive under the chairmanship of Sentonji Kosheodo. That singular act proved to be a masterstroke few years later when despite being within the confines of Kirikiri, George’s anointed candidate, Ade Dosunmu emerged as the party’s flag bearer to contest the 2011 gubernatorial election.
George’s political invincibility are however being challenged with no lesser political actor than Obanikoro. Multiple sources within the party also confirmed to Daily Trust on Sunday that such relentless attacks from Obanikoro and his supporters now appear to be weighing on George’s political dominance.
“We know that rather than being engaged by the opposition, the intra-party feud within the Lagos State PDP was what appeared to have kept Baba out of political limelight now. That is not to say he is totally out. What I can tell you is that he is also strategizing, having come to realize that the other camp within the party is not relenting,” the source added.
Though that insurrection appeared to have been doused, it nonetheless exposed continuous underbelly war that has been ravaging the party. The mudslinging could only get messier as the race to install new party executives rages ahead of 2016 handover of power by the current occupiers. Such political development, observers say, is capable of getting George out of political sabbatical.
Professor Jerry Gana
Professor Jerry Gana, a former Minister of Information, is a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His influential role in the PDP made former President Jonathan chose him as part of his 2015 campaign team. In fact, he headed the campaign’s contact and mobilization unit.
He was the Chairman of the PDP Fund-raising Committee for 2015 the presidential campaign of President Jonathan. As part of the campaign strategies for former President, he led the Northern Economic Summit Group, also known as G-20.
He was also a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of Alhaji Tanko Yakasai-led Northern Elders Council (NEC), an opposing group to the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Earlier last month, the former Minister of Information urged Nigerians to be patient with President Buhari and called on the Buhari’s administration to pursue its determination to fight corruption.
He spoke at retired Brigadier General Chris Olukolade’s public presentation of his books, entitled: “Issues in the Mobilization of Public Support for Military Operations and The Battles and Voice of the Nigerian Military,” at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre and Suites, Kado, Abuja.
He also urged Nigerians to pray for President Buhari and other elected leaders for God to give them the wisdom to select their priorities right, especially in a nation like Nigeria.
11 PDP godfathers missing in action
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