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22 Nov 2017

How Former PDP Chairman, Mu'azu Opposed Plan to Reject Buhari's Victory over Jonathan

Former President Jonathan's concession of loss at the 2015 election was almost truncated by external interventions from the PDP bigwigs according to fresh revelations.
Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 presidential poll, Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu, refused to reject Muhammadu Buhari’s victory after President Goodluck Jonathan had publicly conceded.

This is contained in ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, a new book by Bolaji Abdullahi, the current spokesman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), who also served as a Minister in the last administration.

Jonathan congratulated Buhari in a telephone call, while while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to officially announce the winner.

He then told party members that although he had conceded to Buhari in his personal capacity, PDP was free to reject the result. Before Jonathan conceded, however, Mu’azu had threatened to do so on behalf of the party.

“By 6:00pm, all the President’s men and party bigwigs began to gather at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa. Many had rushed back to Abuja for the meeting, anxious to know the next line of action. They had all heard the audio of the phone call, but opinions were sharply divided on whether the president had thrown in the towel too soon,” Abdullahi wrote.

“Present at the meeting were Vice President, Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; as well as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, who had also just contested and lost the governorship election in Imo State and was challenging the results. Others included: the People’s Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Tony Anenih; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi. All members of PDP National Working Committee (NWC) were also present, led by the party chairman, Adamu Mu’azu. The meeting was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Anenih stated that discussions on other elections and candidates should wait until the ‘stolen presidency’ was reclaimed. Anenih’s position was adopted and a team was put together, chaired by Metuh, to draft a statement for the party chairman. Others in the team were the party’s National Secretary, Adewale Oladipo; the National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon; Pius Anyim and Liyel Imoke. They went to work immediately and by the following morning, the statement was ready. However, the unexpected was about to happen,” Abdullahi wrote.

“When the draft statement was presented to Adamu Mu’azu, he declared that he would not release it. He said he had reflected on the idea of issuing a statement and was convinced it was not the way to go. Words soon got the Villa that the party chairman had backed out of the plan. Another round of panic began. The President himself called Mu’azu’s mobile number several times, but the party chairman did not answer the phone.

“Many around the president had suspected all along that Mu’azu was not altogether committed to the Jonathan project. They started grumbling openly that his appointment, as Chairman, was another mistake by Jonathan because Mu’azu himself wanted to be president. When the Chairman failed to show up for some campaign events, the public saw this as evidence that things had finally fallen apart. The party had to move quickly to deny that there was any crack in the PDP ranks.

“Therefore, for those who had questioned Muazu’s loyalty, here finally was the clear evidence. If he had any objections to the decision taken at the previous day’s meeting, why didn’t he say so? they wondered. How could he have turned around to sabotage a plan that he was technically part and parcel of? But this was not the time for retribution. That could wait a few more days. The party chairman was still critical to their plans. An emissary was immediately dispatched to persuade him to have a rethink.

“Godswill Akpabio marshaled all the arguments he could muster, but Mu’azu would not budge. It was also an opportunity for the party chairman to vent some of his grievances. ‘Look, Akpabio,’ he said, ‘I am not a bastard. I have honour to protect. The man who contested the election had conceded defeat. I should now be the one to say that the party would not accept defeat? When the candidate was picking his phone to congratulate the winner, did he consult with the party?”

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