When news portals on Thursday broke the ‘news’ of the return of Adamu Mu’azu to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it immediately set a frenzy as to the ways and manners of one of Nigeria’s ‘sharpest’ political actors.
Welcomed as the game-changer as he stepped in as national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2014, he truly changed the game for the PDP as he took the party from its ascendancy into the ranks of the opposition.
In the 2015 presidential election, Mu‘azu as national chairman lost his state by a horrendous 86,085 votes to the 931,598 votes polled by the All Progressives Congress, APC. The proportion of votes for the PDP’s Jonathan was about 8.4%.
Comparing the 19% Jonathan polled in the state in 2011 when he scored 258,404 out of about 1,340,000 votes cast, it was not difficult to weave conspiracy theories about Mu‘azu in 2015.
Some alleged that Mu‘azu for whatever reason surrendered his party to the APC to be beaten. However, no one could point to any justification for such or a factor that would have motivated him to sell his party.
There was also no reason to establish any malice on the part of Mu‘azu against Dr. Jonathan.
Indeed, not long after the election, Mu‘azu embarked on his second exile out of the country suggesting that he didn’t feel at home with the new dispensation.
Before then, he had earlier embarked on his first exile after his friend and brother governor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua became president.
Though Mu‘azu was among the best of the governors in his class of 1999 to 2007, especially in the delivery of road and power infrastructure, his political exertions as his governorship stint in Bauchi drew to an end, were rather imprudent.
After campaigning for the 2007 PDP presidential ticket and with defeat looming, Mu‘azu made a last-minute decision to go to the Senate. He took the PDP’s Bauchi South Senate ticket for himself and spectacularly lost a safe PDP seat.
That for your correspondent was one of the shockers of the 2007 election in a state that had been dominated by the PDP. Even more, Mu‘azu as governor had done well.
Even more, his personal choice as his successor also lost the governorship to Isa Yuguda, bringing him from hero to zero in Bauchi.
It was not long after handing over that he embarked on the first exile and only returned to the country after the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Leading players in the Jonathan administration from Bauchi State including his one-time political rival, Bala Mohammed and Yayale Ahmed were reportedly engaged in the lobby for his return.
His emergence as national chairman of the PDP after the turbulence experienced during the stewardship of the party by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur was hyped as the game changer to put stability into the then ruling party. But alas, Mu‘azu, the game-changer led his party to defeat.
Mu‘azu honourably stepped aside after the defeat, but alas the way he left the party opened it to the dogs as the PDP entered the lowest ebb as undertakers came to bury the party.
The resilience and forthrightness of people like Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ike Ekweremadu among others saved the party from the hands of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Sheriff has now returned to the APC and the man who was once the national chairman of the PDP is now in the campaign to become the national chairman of the APC!
As the PDP tossed about during the SAS interregnum, Mu‘azu was nowhere to be seen, being that he had gone on his second exile.
He only returned in 2018 when his daughter was about to wed.
The presence of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the wedding and a two-hour meeting the two of them held in Abuja fed the frenzy that the former PDP national chairman was going to defect to the APC.
A day before the APC Northeast zonal presidential rally in 2019, the gist was all about that Mu‘azu would defect at the rally.
The rally came and went, Mu‘azu made a no show for President Muhammadu Buhari. However, PDP activists on ground say that with the notable exception of Yakubu Dogara, he did not show any interest in the success of the party.
Insinuations everywhere that he was disposed towards the Buhari candidacy and some APC candidates in the Bauchi State House of Assembly, however, cannot be confirmed.
But what is available in the media space is that Mu‘azu maintained a low profile until last Thursday when he suddenly reappeared at the PDP zonal congress with the story that he never defected to the APC.
But why did he not speak at the peak of the rumours to deny the claim? PDP chieftains in Abuja claim just as he reportedly passed off at the rally on Thursday, that he never told anyone that he had defected.
His reappearance according to political sources, however, is not for nothing. It is claimed that the man who ignited his presidential crusade in 2006/7 has not given up.
Should it be true that Mu‘azu is bracing up for a run for the presidency, he, however, would have his in-law, Atiku Abubakar to contend with for the PDP ticket.
The former Miss Badriyya Mu’azu married Mohammed Atiku-Abubakar in March 2014 few months after Mu‘azu stepped in as national chairman of the PDP and when Atiku was still a chieftain of the APC.
Like Atiku, Mu‘azu would make a good president of Nigeria, but how their children would resolve the issue of who between them to support would be an issue.
Now with both of them in the PDP and their intentions honed towards one goal, Mu‘azu’s latest game may well be played first in the home of Mr and Mrs Mohammed Atiku-Abubakar.