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
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