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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Broken Lives Of Jonathan’s Henchmen

With just about three months since power slipped through their fingers, many PDP stalwarts, and some members of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, who once decreed a thing and it came to pass, have so quickly melted into oblivion. Tony Egbulefu explores how some of these hitherto powerful figures are managing the broken pieces of their lives. Additional reports from Midat Joseph, Abu Nmodu, Okechukwu Obeta, Kola Eke-Ogiugo, Donatus Nadi, Patrick Ochoga and Kareem Haruna
Since the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was dislodged from the nation’s helm of affairs, certain figures in the party, whose presences were fixtures in the national power grid have so promptly become relics, receding into oblivion with the transience of power. Apart from ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, who intermittently, is seen and heard, and could undoubtedly be traced to his Otuoke nativity, Bayelsa State, most active players in both the inner reaches of the power loop and in the corridors in his government have been plagued by self-effacement. While observers put this down to low esteem that comes with a grace to grass fall, it is believed in some quarters that the jolt that came from the beating the PDP took in the hands of the erstwhile opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), demanded that the residue of PDP power brokers embarked on a silent rediscovery.
It is obvious that some members of this tribe of yesterday’s men and women of consequence are yet to come to terms with the reality of being bystanders in the power equation. This line becomes persuasive in the face of the delusionary PDP’s target of 60 years hold on power and the reality check that was the March 28, 2015 presidential poll.
Given their gradual obliteration from national consciousness, how these men and women, who operated at the commanding heights carry on with the reverse of fortunes, matter to Nigerians. There were part time politicians among them, who held powers to swing things, and were licensed to affront anybody. Some women among them made men crouch.

Dame Patience Faka Jonathan
She was the Nigerian first lady from 2010 to 2015. Mrs. Jonathan was a power broker, a peddler of influence, and indeed the most powerful woman Nigeria has known since the days of the late Mrs. Maryam Babangida as first lady. She treaded where her husband, the president, would not dare. She was a bugbear just as she was a gruff. She would scheme or muscle her way through, leaving just the devil to care. Since May 29, when she was eased down from her exalted position, the former first lady, whose mention was regular on everyone’s lips, and in the media for the ugly, the bad, and the good, has just so swiftly receded into a historical piece. Since relocating to her Bayelsa country home, she has maintained sealed lips in all things, even when she appeared in London with her husband, shortly after Mrs. Aisha Buhari took over. Lately, Nigerians heard of her reconciliation with the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson. Though widely reported, and attestations to the reconciliation heard from the governor’s camp, Mrs. Jonathan in her new tradition of silence has not uttered a word. A glean at her subdued countenance and the passenger she was at the September 8 governorship intent declaration of Dickson in Yenagoa, registered aptly in many, that indeed, empires fall, for others to rise.

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Mrs. Alison-Madueke served longest in former President Jonathan’s cabinet, alongside the Minister of Finance, and coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Ieala. She served as Jonathan’s petroleum minister in the entire five years of that administration. History records her as the first Nigerian woman to serve in that crucial capacity. She superintended all the country’s receipts from the oil and gas industry, NNPC and NLNG and the cash cows that oversee government’s petroleum products imports, marketing, gas distribution and crude oil export; and natural gas exploitation and export respectively. Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s prime position, and the fact that she shares same ethnic blood with the president, earned her an inner-circle membership of Jonathan’s government all through the five years. The former petroleum minister grew immensely powerful and thick-skinned that she would easily spurn at attempts to either call her actions to question or accountability by the legislative arm of government. Apart from her endless and fruitless bickering with the legislature, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under the leadership of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, also had reasons to have lingering brushes with her, also over issues of transparency and accountability. What was clear was that in spite of the deluge of resentments from several quarters against her style of management of the country’s oil and gas industry, she sat pretty throughout, and not even for a day was her position in government threatened by the president. As Jonathan was about to give way, and sensing a likelihood of trouble for her from President Buhari, Mrs. Alison-Madueke became preoccupied with knee-jerk pacific consultations. Though, she continues to absolve herself of any corrupt entanglement, the more prominent thing known about her since she left government is that she is in a hospital bed abroad.

Ali Modu Sheriff
He defected with fanfare from the APC to the PDP on July 14, 2014. Sheriff is a very influential politician, not only in Borno State where he governed for eight years on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), but in the entire Nigerian political space. His unending spat with his protégé and successor, Kashim Shettima, partly informed his reason to switch political camp. Apart from his deep pockets, Sheriff is known to have grassroots followership. For all these, the PDP happily welcomed him. Expectedly, Sheriff sought to unseat Shettima with Gambo Lawan of the PDP in the governorship election of April 11, in what was described as a gritty electoral duel but this was never to be as Shettima coasted home to victory in what largely was a one-sided affair. The defeat of his candidate in the state, and the routing of the PDP at the federal level, handed Sheriff new unpleasant realities about his political relevance and survival. In going about living his life in political humiliation, Sheriff has chosen to return to running his businesses in Abuja, Lagos, Chad and Europe. Each time he is around in his Maitama, Abuja home, friends and political associates still throng his residence to fraternise with him. His associates say he is studying the political space for his next move. Sheriff, somehow, still retains some appeal. He was in Maiduguri for a wedding ceremony recently, where he rather became the centre of attraction, as the crowd roared in cheers of him. He responded by throwing piles of crisp naira notes at them. However, the most current national news about him was his surrender in June to the EFCC; and his subsequent detention and release on administrative bail over allegation of mismanagement of Borno state’s federal allocations as governor.

Ibrahim Shekarau
He was one of the northern politicians who made the Jonathan government tick, as the clock wound down to the 2015 general elections. He was the leader and founding member of the APC in Kano State, a state he governed on the ANPP platform. His ANPP formed part of the nucleus of the coalition that birthed the APC in 2013. Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, then governor of the state, and a defector to the APC, practically muscled him out of the party. Shekarau defected to the PDP in January 2014. Given his massive grassroots followership in the hugely populated Kano State, his defection from the APC was considered a huge loss to the party and what the PDP needed to even out things with Kwankwaso in the state. President Jonathan rewarded him with the position of Minister for Education. The elections came, and Shekarau and his PDP lost it all in the state to Kwankwaso and the APC. It was Shekarau demystified.
The succour from the federal scene is also gone. Shekarau, today, lives his live in silence and oblivion. He is marooned, and seems even not to have the stamina for opposition politics in the state.

Attahiru Bafarawa
What Shekarau passed through in the hands of then Governor Kwankwaso also played out between former Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and Attahiru Bafarawa, his predecessor. Bafarawa governed Sokoto State on the ANPP platform and partly in his second term, on DPN platform. He was a founding member, and leader of the APC in Sokoto, until Wamakko, defected from the PDP and snatched the leadership of the APC in the state from him. As fallout of this, Bafarawa later decamped to the PDP. His switch to the PDP bolstered the party’s hope for a good outing in the state in both the state and federal elections. He backed the PDP all the way, and personally donated N11.5million to the party for the conduct of its membership registration exercise in the 27 local government areas of the state. At the moment, it can be said that all political activities of Bafarawa in Sokoto state have long come to a screeching halt. In Sokoto today, Wamakko is the undisputed new powerbroker.

Namadi Sambo
Since he left office as Nigeria’s vice president, Namadi Sambo, is best known to have been an in-patient in an undisclosed hospital in Washington DC, United States of America (USA). LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered from an authoritative source that the former vice president underwent a ligament surgery on August 18, in the hospital. Fact is that Sambo just waited for the handover ceremonies to be concluded on May 29, as he departed Nigeria just three days after. Before settling in Washington for the surgery, he had shuttled from United Kingdom to United States, then Saudi Arabia. Umar Sani his former spokesman did not reply inquiries about Sambo’s whereabouts, sent to his phone by our reporter. The newest, however, that may trail Sambo in the country is the imminent anti-corruption peaceful protest to be organised by a coalition of northern-based civil society organisations against him in Kaduna State. One of the organisers of the demonstration who didn’t want to be mentioned in print told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the demonstrators will make a demand on President Buhari to immediately commence the investigation of Sambo to specially ascertain his involvement in the sale and purchase of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company.

Jerry Gana
Professor Jerry Gana has been missing in the turf of Niger State and national politics since May 29. LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that since the loss of the general election by the PDP, Gana now prefers to spend more of his time in Abuja, where he does private businesses and engages in some intellectual activities. The former information minister currently maintains a general political low profile. It was gathered that he often visits Bida and his home town Doko to associate with his people but has been passive politically. Gana it was learnt, however, still commands respect among the people of his state, particularly his Nupe speaking people of Niger-south, whom he represented as a Senator in the Second Republic. For the 2015 general elections, Gana was chairman, PDP Fund Raising Committee, which garnered a whooping N21.8 billion for the party and Jonathan. Gana later emerged, head of Jonathan’s Mobilisation and Contact Unit for the 2015 presidential election.

Peter Obi
He is the predecessor of Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State. Obi governed the state on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Shortly after he left office, he defected to the PDP. For the presidential election, Jonathan’s campaign office, appointed him deputy director-general, south, a position that made him address all presidential campaign rallies that took place in all the states of the south. After the loss of the PDP, Jonathan appointed him chairman of the board of Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). He would later lose the position after President Buhari disbanded the commission. Obi coped with the double loss by proceeding to Harvard University, United States of America for an academic programme. Currently he engages in educational development initiatives, sourcing funds from education-friendly organisations and individuals, locally and internationally, which he distributes to primary and post-primary schools in rural communities across the country, for the improvement of their educational infrastructure. Call it charity work. But to many, Obi is better known now for exchange of brickbats with Obiano.

Ifeanyi Uba
He was the man behind Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), which carried out nationwide direct and hard sell marketing of Jonathan during the campaigns. TAN ran a massive omnibus campaign programme for Jonathan, the type hitherto not seen in the country’s electioneering. Uba, the driving force of TAN, is an oil tycoon. He owns Capital Oil and Gas. Unlike fulltime politicians, Uba has been carrying on as if nothing happened, seemingly insulated from the pinch of PDP and Jonathan’s electoral failure. Rather than being recluse, he has been all over the place, and has recently ventured into soccer and newspaper businesses. He bought over former Udoji Football Club and renamed it Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club. The club features in the country’s premiership division. Presently, he is building a 50,000 capacity sports stadium at Nnewi, his country home, for the club.
He has also established a national newspaper out-fit, titled The Authority. With the staff recruitment completed about two weeks ago, the newspaper is slated to debut on October 1, 2015. In his latest press interview, he sounded off that he had no regrets, forming TAN, and campaigning for Jonathan.

Tony Anenih
Age has already emasculated “Mr. Fix It,” the Iyasele of Uromi. With the loss and domination of his Edo State by Governor Adams Oshiomhole and the APC, Anenih’s political influence, had even vapourised before the many losses the PDP suffered in the 2015general election. Citing “the current state of affairs in the party,” Anenih had to resign as chairman of PDP’s board of trustees, nine days before Jonathan left office. He was indisposed during the electioneering and as such could not play any meaningful role in Jonathan’s campaigns but Anenih was so sure that the election would go the way of Jonathan, and was quoted in the media as saying that whoever thought otherwise was mad. He is credited to be the man behind the PDP’s decision for automatic ticket for Jonathan against the wish of some northern heavy-weights in the party.
Anenih was spotted at the September 8, 2015 declaration rally of Governor Seriake Dickson in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Surprisingly, Anenih, LEADERSHIP Sunday was told, is presently engaged in strategising across the country to reposition the PDP for future electoral conquest. A close source to the politician, who prefers anonymity, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that “the leader is very relevant in party politics in the country. People are consulting him and he goes to wherever he is needed. He is strong and getting stronger. I know he is in Abuja attending to business and political interests.”

Edwin Kiagbodo Clark
The octogenarian is the leader of the Ijaw nation. He took upon himself the role of a father figure and ethnic guide to Jonathan, while his presidency lasted. Within the North, Clark’s overly visible influence in the Jonathan government earned him a good measure of scorn and bile, but he cared in the least. Clark made no pretences about pushing Jonathan to damn the consequences and take a shot at a second term. Given the way he often went-over-the-top in advancing issues on the side of the former president, many outside the South-south came away with the adverse impression that what was in place was an Ijaw presidency. Clark is currently the chancellor of his own university, Edwin Clark University, located in Kiagbodo, Bomadi local government area of Delta State. The former federal commissioner for Information in the then Mid-western Region, LEADERSHIP Sunday can reveal, carries on as a happy man, and remains a political godfather within PDP members in the state. Sources close to him say Pa Clark as he is fondly called, currently takes strong interest in the administration of his university.

Godsday Peter Orubebe
He is of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in Delta State and served as minister of Niger Delta in the Jonathan administration. The federal government’s amnesty programme cash cow was under his overall superintendence. Though he was not a member of Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet before he resigned to contest the governorship of his native Delta state, the blood of ethnicity drove him to assume the role of Jonathan’s attack dog. Nigerians would not forget in a hurry how he ignited disarray at the INEC presidential election result collation centre as the defeat of Jonathan starred him in the face. At present, Orubebe runs his private business with his wife. Orubebe sources say has his eyes trained at the Delta State Government House, come 2019.

Labaran Maku
He was a former Minister of Information in the government of President Jonathan, before he voluntarily left to pursue his political dream in the twilight of that administration. He attained political reckoning with his involvement in the Jonathan government, but parted ways with the PDP after he failed to clinch its gubernatorial ticket in his Nasarawa State. Maku joined APGA and cross swords with his former party, but never against Jonathan’s re-election. He stood with Jonathan. With APGA, which he introduced almost brand new in the state, Maku came second behind the incumbent Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of the APC, dusting the better established PDP to a distant third; yet his political opponents in the state, appear more convinced that he is only a noise maker. Maku has been preoccupied with courtroom duels since the conclusion of the gubernatorial election in the state. His party supporters who usually come to the tribunal venue in their numbers, recently caused a stir in the state when after a sitting, they went to town making victory laps over an alleged Maku’s courtroom victory pronouncement. The claim spread like wild fire, throwing residents of the state in confusion. Maku had to fight a reputational battle recently by addressing the press to state his case against an allegation that over N30 billion was discovered on his farm in Akwanga. Despite his failure at the poll, Maku’s political image seems to be on the rise and gearing to overtake that of Solomon Ewuga as the leader of his Eggon tribe in the state.

Ahmed Gulak
He was the political adviser to former President Jonathan. He assumed the seat way back in 2010, until he was eased out in 2014. Gulak was part of the PDP’s strategists that coordinated the 2011 presidential election successfully for Jonathan. Though he left Jonathan’s government well ahead of the 2015 general election, it was a fiasco for the PDP and Jonathan. He strived with former Governor Ngilari to deliver Jonathan to Adamawa state’s electorates. He failed. Working as the president’s political adviser, Gulak was one of the hard-hitters against anyone that breathed a word against Jonathan. He took a shot at becoming a senator in the last election and also failed. He is one of the few Jonathan’s men that have embraced active internal politics of the PDP. Recently, it emerged that he is interested in filling the position of the national chairman of the PDP, left vacant with the exit of Adamu Muazu. In advancing his interest for the position, he stormed the national secretariat of the party, demanding that members of the national working committee of the party, led by Uche Secondus as acting chairman, should resign for election to be conducted. His ambition to take over the leadership of the PDP is a legitimate one, given that the zoning formula of the party, which gave the slot to Gulak’s North-east subsists in the party.

Bala Mohammed
As minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed occupied a prime position in the Jonathan administration. In effect, he was the governor of the federal seat of power. The centrality of his position in the political space demanded that he worked closely and in sync with President Jonathan and the PDP in every facet of his duty. Land, which is a premium item in the FCT, was entirely his to divvy and farm out. His juicy position also meant that he wielded power and influence and had massive revenue at his control. He however, could not harness any of these for his ambition to become governor of Bauchi state. The same can be said of Jonathan and PDP’s electoral success in his Bauchi state. Working in disunity with the former Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda, he failed abysmally in his state to deliver any meaningful electoral harvest. Mohammed could, however, partly lay claim to the lean measure of success the PDP scrapped out in the general election in the FCT. Though Mohammed left with Jonathan, indications are that the politician is not yet done with politics and the PDP, the party that brought him fame and fortune, after he canvassed for the now famous doctrine of necessity that saw to President Jonathan’s emergence as acting president, as a senator. He was elected to the Senate on the ANPP’s platform but defected to PDP soon after Jonathan’s emergence as president, following the demise of former president Unaru Musa Yar’Adua, thus paving the way for him to be appointed minister. Insight gathered by LEADERSHIP Sunday indicates that he is gearing to bite the bullet for the position of PDP national chairman, which behoves on his North-east zone to produce. He was recently in Ekiti State where he canvassed the support of the state governor, Ayo Fayose, for his ambition to head the PDP as its national chairman.
Given that he is no longer seen or heard, Mohammed in the meantime, is fast fading in the consciousness of Abuja residents. This is just as he remains largely unpopular in Bauchi state where the APC holds the reins of power.

Ahmadu Ali
He has held all sorts of positions in the Nigerian entity, some of which predate the Second Republic. As at the last count, he was the director-general, Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation for the 2015 presidential election. For the sake of Jonathan’s re-election, Ali sundered his age-long close friendship with former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Before he re-emerged on the scene to drive Jonathan’s re-election bid, many had already consigned Ali to the cast of political relics in the country. How the lot for such a high-pressure job that demand jet-age acumen fell on septuagenarian Ali remains a hard nut that brain boxes in the political space have not been able to crack. Since the loss of the election by the PDP and Jonathan, a litany of blames from PDP members has trailed the path of Jonathan’s campaign office. The Ali-led campaign organisation has been accused of placing the cart before the horse in its method and tactics, corruption, ineptitude, and in fact, a bare-faced inability to tell apart their left hand from the right as a campaign office. Fact is that since Ali failed, he has snuck back to where Jonathan dusted him from. Having not been seen or heard since he failed, there is little doubt that his 2015 presidential election job and activities may be his swan song in the political arena.

Bamanga Tukur
He was the powerful third national chairman of the PDP, Jonathan worked with, and whom incidentally, most members of the party believe ran the PDP aground. Tukur was unyielding in the manner he went about advancing Jonathan’s interest amidst the infighting that erupted in the party in 2013, over which zone in the country would produce the party’s flag-bearer for the 2015 presidential election. Without recourse to proper procedures, Tukur would deploy punitive measures against any governor in the party whose body language he read, jarred with Jonathan’s desire to nick the ticket. Under his watch, the New PDP, a parallel party was formed out of the original PDP. The resentment of Tukur and Jonathan degenerated to the exit of five governors on the party’s platform in one fell swoop to the APC, followed by massive membership haemorrhage of National Assembly members of the party. To save the situation, Tukur was asked to leave in January 2014. Tukur’s battles against those who stood against him in the party, curiously was not for his personal gain, but to ensure that the coast was clear for Jonathan’s re-nomination by the PDP in 2015.
“We had told them then that our focus for the future should be about consolidation and continuity and that goes beyond the plans of our opponents that PDP will fail,” Tukur said as the infighting continued.
Tukur stayed aloof and watched Jonathan’s 2015 re-election campaign from a distance. In what appears as gloating, he is yet to express pains at PDP’s loss of power at the centre and the electoral failure the party recorded across board. In a twist of irony, Tukur has more than once expressed support for President Muhammadu Buhari, and believes that the president is treading the path to the heart of Nigerians with his war against Boko Haram insurgents and corruption. Speaking to the media last week, he expressed his belief that the electoral fortunes of the PDP would have been different, if he had led the party into the 2015 general elections battle field. He said he would not contemplate quitting the PDP. Tukur’s primary occupation since he relinquished the mantle of the party’s leadership has been the running of his businesses. He will be 80 on September 15, and plans to celebrate.

Adamu Muazu
Popularly dubbed “the game changer” by his admirers within the PDP fold, he took over from Tukur as a consensus choice of PDP’s apparatchik in January, 2014. Muazu then, came off to opinion leaders in the party as a bridge-builder and level-headed. The party needed such a man, not just to mend the cracks that plagued it following Tukur’s alleged high-handedness, but for a holistic rebuilding, and positioning on winning ways for the 2015 general election. Calm returned to the party soon after Muazu took ove, and the PDP which was only experiencing the effluence of its members, began to attract defections from National Assembly members into the party. In praise of Muazu, he was branded “The game changer,” by the happy party members, including Jonathan and his wife, Patience. Nothing was seen wrong with Muazu’s leadership of the party, and possibly, nothing went wrong with it until he led the PDP into the 2015 electoral field and got a thrashing by APC. For the party’s failure, strong voices of dissent rose from within against Muazu. Resignation was the chorus. The decibel rose so high and with succour from no quarters, Muazu threw in the towel on May 20, 2015. Since his exit, Muazu has gone out of circulation.
Even before the end of the Jonathan administration on May 29, the “game changer” under whose watch the “change agents” wrested power from his party, left the country. According to his aides in a statement on May 12, he was sick and had gone abroad for treatment. This was in apparent response to comments by governor Fayose that he (Muazu) had secretly travelled to Singapore for treatment during the elections, without the knowledge of the party’s presidential candidate, Jonathan.


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