Nigeria's ruling party PDP has chosen Ahmadu Adamu Muazu as its new chairman. Muazu replaces Bamanga Tukur who had been widely seen as a political appointee of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The PDP has recently suffered from a string of defections to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and has lost its parliamentary majority. For an assessment of its situation, DW spoke to Tukur Abdulkadir, a lecturer in political science at Kaduna State University.
DW: Can the new chairman win back for the party the support that it has lost?
Tukur Abdulkadir: It looks unlikely that he can win back the support or stop the current upsurge in terms of defection from the party. He doesn't even have the capacity to do that. And what we have all failed to understand is that the manner of his election is not fundamentally different from the manner of the election of the former chairman, Bamanga Tukur. There is virtually no difference. They have not been able to internalize the required democratic ingredients in running a party, especially as big as PDP. Most importantly, the issue of President Goodluck Jonathan's desire to contest the next election is at the root of all the problems that are bedeviling the party. And as long as that issue is not resolved, I think the lingering crisis will continue and may finally consume the party.
Whether Jonathan is going to run for president, when do you see this question being resolved?
Probably by the time the national independent electoral commission gives the nod for political parties to start their electioneering campaigns, the primary elections that will determine who the next flagbearer will be. I am sure between now and the next few months we will get to know that. But at the moment he is keeping all the people guessing. He hasn't come out openly to declare his intention. If all the signals we are getting are anything to go by, one could rightly say that he is soon going to declare his interest, and consequently participate in the primary election, which will determine who is going to be the next presidential candidate of the party.
Can we return to the new chairman. Why do you think the National Executive Council chose him and not somebody else?
There are different versions. Some people are of the opinion that his choice is purely because of the desire of President Jonathan not to have anybody who will give him problems, who will challenge his quest for re-election. Adamu Muazu, he was one time governor of Bauchi State in northeastern Nigeria. After the election of President Yar'adua he was accused of corruption while in office. And I am sure that matter is still in the court. So probably they need to have a compliant politican in the party who will do their bidding. He is known for a radical posture as such. He was a very flamboyant politician in his day. There is no fundamental difference between Adam Muazu and Bamanga Tukur if we look at their past.
How important is this appointment for the party? If the national executive has made the wrong decision, could the PDP lose the next election?
Going by the current realities of Nigerian politics, they may not actually allow for a free and fair election. Many people today are insinuating that despite all the problem that the party is facing today, the election that will be conducted next year will not be free and fair. Therefore regardless of the outcome of the crisis in the party, regardless of Jonathan's desire or not, PDP will go ahead to win.
There was a flood of defections to the opposition, All Progressives Congress party (APC). Don't you take that for an encouraging sign?
Definitely, especially in the northwest, the defection of people like the governor of Niger state, Muazu Babangida Aliu, and the governor of Kanu state Rabiu Kwankwaso, will certainly add to the fortune of the opposition party. Not only that, at least since we know how powerful state governors are, the more governors defect to the opposition, the more problems the ruling party will encounter. Because riggings are normally carried out by the state governors as well as election officials. So definitely in some parts of the country it will not be easy this time around for them to undertake the kind of election rigging that they are known for. Definitely I am sure it will certainly give them some cause for concern at least for the time being.
Tukur Abdulkadir is a lecturer in political science at Kaduna State University.
Interview: Mark Caldwell