Why we can­not al­low Marwa, Gundiri to con­test in PDP - Ardo

Dr. Umar Ardo, a PDP gu­ber­na­to­rial as­pi­rant in Adamawa State in 2011, has chal­lenged the process that threw up Mur­tala Nyako as the party’s flag bearer and is cur­rently pur­su­ing the case at the Supreme Court. He talks about his case, the PDP and Adamawa p

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - Dr. Umar Ardo

You were one of those who ob­jected to a change in the lead­er­ship of the PDP, now that a new lead­er­ship is in place, how would you say it has fared?

As Adamawa State PDP stake­hold­ers, we tried in our own way to give Al­haji Ba­manga Tukur all the po­lit­i­cal sup­port we could at his hour of need. If that is what you term as ob­ject­ing to change in the party lead­er­ship, then we plead guilty. But what else could we have done other than to, at least, have the home front stand by him? We rea­soned that even if we couldn’t save him, we must not be among those who aban­doned him or who stood by and watched while his po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies were de­stroy­ing him. So we acted. That was enough po­lit­i­cal cush­ion and im­mense soft land­ing for him. Be­sides, it was a huge po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage for us in the state to have the na­tional chair­man from amongst us; his re­moval would be a great loss to us. So it was nat­u­ral for us to rise up and do the need­ful to pro­tect that ad­van­tage.

Now that a new lead­er­ship is in place we have put the past be­hind us and work very closely with the new lead­er­ship. Adamawa PDP Stake­hold­ers have since met with the new na­tional chair­man and mem­bers of the NWC and had a sin­cere dis­cus­sion that when we came out, the feel­ing among us all was of no loss suf­fered with the change in party lead­er­ship. I think the party is mov­ing in the right track and the new na­tional chair­man has the where­withal to take PDP into a fresh glo­ri­ous era.

The prob­lem of PDP has to do with the bid by gov­er­nors to con­trol the party, do you see Mu’azu ris­ing over this chal­lenge?

All these sto­ries you hear about gov­er­nors con­trol­ling the party are ba­si­cally fall­outs of non-im­ple­men­ta­tion of the party con­sti­tu­tion and guide­lines in party af­fairs, cou­pled with the in­er­tia of party mem­bers to the is­sue. A po­lit­i­cal party is an as­so­ci­a­tion of like-minds from dif­fer­ent and vary­ing back­grounds. What unites mem­bers are the party con­sti­tu­tion, man­i­festo and guide­lines. It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ev­ery re­spon­si­ble mem­ber to en­sure that the party op­er­ates on these car­di­nal prin­ci­ples. Where mem­bers are en­light­ened and vig­i­lant on these, no gover­nor can hi­jack and con­trol the party. This was what we did in Adamawa. It was ei­ther the gover­nor played by the rules or he finds his way else­where. He chose the lat­ter. So if party mem­bers across the coun­try can do what we did in Adamawa, I as­sure you, no gover­nor can un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally take con­trol of the party in the states. But as long as we think we can do noth­ing be­cause some­one higher has an in­ter­est, then we will for­ever be run­ning from one po­lit­i­cal party to an­other look­ing for an easy way out where none ex­ists be­cause there will al­ways be some­one higher with an in­ter­est. I think if the rest of the coun­try can take a closer look at how we did it in Adamawa where or­di­nary mem­bers of the party or­gan­ised them­selves into such a for­mi­da­ble force that over­pow­ered the gover­nor and sub­se­quently forced him out of the party, Nige­ri­ans will be able to draw use­ful lessons from us. The duty of deal­ing with the men­ace of ir­re­spon­si­ble elected of­fi­cials on party af­fairs rests not just with the party lead­er­ship alone but also upon mem­bers as well. So if the new chair­man in­sists on strict com­pli­ance with the law and guide­lines of the party, as he had al­ready stated on many oc­ca­sions, and re­spon­si­ble party mem­bers stand firm on it, all these wran­glings would cease. Adamu Mu’azu was him­self a gover­nor for eight years, I am sure he knows what to do.

The de­fec­tion of the five PDP gov­er­nors to APC has had its ef­fect in their states. In Adamawa where you hail from, there have been de­fec­tions back and forth, what do these po­lit­i­cal align­ments and re-align­ments por­tend for Adamawa?

Adamawa pol­i­tics is a very com­plex one , you have to un­der­stand the whole from the cen­tre or you are to­tally lost. The de­fec­tion of Gover­nor Mur­tala Nyako and other big names like Atiku to the APC will not sub­stan­tially af­fect the PDP in the state be­cause none can com­mand any ap­pre­cia­ble fol­low­er­ship from the people to threaten our mass sup­port base. And they know it.

To those who crossed over to the PDP ei­ther for the first time or re­turn­ing, we wel­come them back into the party. Like the good fa­ther of the Bi­b­li­cal Prodi­gal Son, we roll out the red car­pet for them, cel­e­brate them and feast with them. But un­like the brother of the re­turn­ing son, we do not be­grudge them of any rous­ing wel­come they may get from the PDP fam­ily.We think to some ex­tent they de­served it.

Though we whole­heart­edly ac­cept back our lost and found sib­lings, we can­not in all good con­science, han­dover and sur­ren­der the fam­ily in­her­i­tance stool to him. Like­wise, PDP has its con­sti­tu­tion with clear pro­vi­sions as to how to treat re­turnees. First, they lose se­nior­ity in the party, then, they are in­el­i­gi­ble to con­test for any of the party of­fices, or con­test un­der its plat­form any pub­lic of­fice for a pe­riod of at least two years - ex­cept if given a waiver. But in Adamawa we are de­ter­mined to en­sure that such waivers are not given frivolously for fear of bas­tar­dis­ing the process and en­cour­ag­ing in­ter-party de­fec­tions at will. We have to en­force the pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion or the en­tire con­sti­tu­tion loses its mo­tives and in­ter­ests in pol­i­tics are, we should be men enough to stand and fight per­ceived or real in­jus­tices and in­juries we are con­fronted with. But to run to an­other party and then to an­other is a flawed way of play­ing pol­i­tics. It only tells that such are no more than for­tune seek­ers. This does not por­tend well for our fu­ture and must be dis­cour­aged.

With the de­fec­tion of Nyako, Adamawa is be­ing termed into an APC State, how cor­rect is this state­ment?

I am just sad that the visit of the Pres­i­dent to the state slated for the 29th of this month has been post­poned. You’d have seen whether or not Adamawa can truly be termed an APC state. We had al­ready com­pleted ar­range­ments to bring vir­tu­ally the en­tire state out on that day for the Pres­i­dent and the world to see be­fore the post­pone­ment news came through. The visit would have con­clu­sively re­solved this false con­tention. But as they say, there is al­ways an­other day.

...The Adamawa State gover­nor re­cently wrote a let­ter to the 19 north­ern gov­er­nors where he al­leged there is a pre­med­i­tated plot to liq­ui­date the north­ern pop­u­la­tion, what is your take?...

In spite of the points raised and the seem­ing pa­tri­o­tism por­trayed in that doc­u­ment, I still doubt Gover­nor Nyako’s sin­cer­ity. He is sim­ply tak­ing cheap ad­van­tage of the ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion in the North, hop­ing to score po­lit­i­cal points. If Gover­nor Nyako’s lead­er­ship style in Adamawa is any­thing to go by, then, I strongly ad­vice cir­cum­spec­tion on this memo. Since he claims that Adamawa State was un­de­serv­ing of State of Emer­gency, what did he do as a gover­nor to pro­tect the cit­i­zens of the state from such mis­ap­pli­ca­tion of federal power? Did he ap­proach the courts to chal­lenge it and fur­ther the course of rule of law?

Be­sides, his memo is self­con­tra­dic­tory. While its cen­tral thrust is ac­cus­ing the Federal Govern­ment of per­pe­trat­ing the car­nage in the name of Boko Haram, his sug­ges­tion as a so­lu­tion of “a dec­la­ra­tion of North­ern Nige­rian Amnesty to the cul­prits” is mean­ing­less. If the Federal Govern­ment was the cul­prit as he sug­gested, who is be­ing given the amnesty then? Also, ter­ror­ism is a federal and not a state crime. Where then do North­ern Gov­er­nors have the pow­ers to grant amnesty to the cul­prits? I think a gover­nor should thor­oughly think through is­sues be­fore ven­tur­ing out.Yes, we have se­ri­ous prob­lems at hand in our coun­try, but people like Nyako should first purge them­selves of their cul­pa­bil­ity in the sys­tem be­fore delv­ing into the guilt of oth­ers.

...You have not re­lented on the is­sue of the 2011 PDP pri­maries in Adamawa which is in court, what is the stage now and are you not dis­cour­aged by the time lost?...

The case is at the Supreme Court now await­ing judg­ment on 9th May. So, let’s wait and hear what the apex court will say. I be­lieve I have a very good case, and I pray to God I win. I am

not dis­cour­aged.

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