Dr Umar Ardo, is a fiery PDP Chieftain in Adamawa.He was a former political adviser to Atiku Abubakar when he was Vice President. Ardo had consistently fought Governor Murtala Nyako,over PDP Governorship ticket and his suit is now before Supreme court.In this interview Dr Ardo bares his mind on many major issues including Jonathan’s candidature among others. Excerpts:
By Garba Muhammad/Yola
Recently, there was a PDP stakeholders meeting during the visit of Mr President in Yola ,where you (stakeholders)were reported to have unanimously said to have endorsed the state deputy governor Bala James Ngillari as the party flagbearer comes 2015, though there was also protest ,may we know what transpired?
Dr Umar Ardo: It’s not true,it didn’t happen and nobody has said that.This speculation I am just hearing it from you,there was no such talk.And beside,there is not going to be any talk on the issue of governorship in Adamawa state under the PDP,until the matter I instituted in court is finally and conclusively resolved.So this is just a figment of imagination of some people, probably it has been calibrated by some members of the PDP, but whatever it’s is,this is not true and cannot be true.Go and ask the deputy governor,Bala Ngillari he knows!
Though, you are now saying that the issue of who should contest should not be raised, but already some party gladiators have since begun their preparation including new entrance (those that just decamped),it seems you are not ready, or are you just rattled because some are now enjoying presidential patronage?
Dr Ardo: Me, I am not rattled at all, the president cannot come and put somebody as governor of Adamawa ,that the president himself knows.Adamawa ,PDP will resolve its problem nobody will come from outside to do that,so if anybody is counting on the president to get the nomination ticket of PDP in Adamawa state he is just deluding himself whosoever that person is.Beside ,I already told you that Adamawa governorship under the PDP is not a matter that anybody will come on it, until the matter before the court is finally and conclusively determined. So you can come into PDP with ambition to contest for councilor, local government chairman,House of Assembly,Reps, Senate and even the President but you don’t come and say, you want to contest for governorship in the state for the time being until the matter I instituted on the issue of the governorship of 2012 is finally determined by the court. So long, as the matter remains in the court, so long PDP will not talk about governorship and will not do anything on governorship in Adamawa state,that’s for sure.
Are you categorically saying that the door is closed in PDP, on the governorship come 2015?
Dr Ardo: Oh, it’s closed until the matter I have in the court is determined; certainly it is closed, so whosoever feels that it’s not closed,let him or her come and open it, let’s see!
But already some are saying that there will be election and they are going to contest and here you are saying that there wouldn’t be election how can we reconcile?
Dr Ardo: I am telling you, there will never be election, they cannot force any election now, we are operating under the rule of law, where court determines ,this matter is before the court of law, then how can there be. People can say what they want….but let the sensible people know and we are supposed to be sensible people.
Now,let’s turn to the much talked about national conference by president Jonathan,do you think it will record success and find solutions to the problems plaguing the country?
Dr Ardo:If the president in his wisdom feels that the national conference is going to help to resolve our problems in this country ,I wish him Goodluck, he has it as his name.But I can tell you that this conference as constituted I think it will affect the polity in anyway.It’s not going to come up with a law,it has to go back to the national assembly,it is not going to amend the constitution it has to go back to the legislatures of the country, so how can it be of any threat,so it will end-up,nothing more than an administrative panel that will submit recommendation to the president and the president will now take -off,it it’s an executive issue that he feels he can implement then he can implement it,but he has to get the national assembly to approve the budget for the implementation of that.But nothing more nothing less, until he take that report to national assembly either for the amendment of the constitution or an enactment of a law by the act of national assembly so as to give it legal backing,other than that what is the essence of the national conference? Nothing,it’s just a talk show,it’s just like any other conference an academic conference,a scientific conference,economic conference and this is just a political conference.Don’t give it more than that.
But don’t you think that at the end,of it there could be solutions to our myriads of problems dogging our nationhood ;the socio-economic and security woes being experienced?
Dr Ardo: No,it’s not because people have not been expressing their views before,that we have these economic,social ,security and political crises.No people have been expressing their views in so many ways.Just because you put them into one room to talk,does not help in any way.It will only come out as hot air and at the end of it,it’s going to be a paper and report submitted to the president and I say the president will act on it,though it depends on what recommendation they will come up with and how it’s going to be implemented ,it’s nothing more than an administrative gesture by the executive.
Do you subscribe to the insinuation that it’s an avenue that will lead to the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan’s candidature comes 2015?
Dr Ardo:Well,anything is possible but highly unlikely,because the political temperament of the country is such that ,such thing will only make a fool out of our democracy.Because even if they endorse Jonathan he has to go through the party primaries.So it’s political party at the end of the day,that will do the nomination but the most important aspect is that all of them an especially Justice Kutigi who is the chairman of the conference,they know that the Supreme court has already determined about tenure in Nigeria.
The Supreme court has ruled that tenure in Nigeria is a maximum of eight (8)years and these eight years are not movable ;they are unchangeable they say and I quote the Supreme court ”they are the rock of Gibralter”, so let us see if the president he can move the rock of gibralter.
The president has to his credit five years 23 days, and all elections in Nigeria from presidential is for four years, therefore can the president contest another election which is for four years considering that he has spent five years ,23 days, which will make him to exceed the eight years already determined by the supreme court?
The constitution of Nigeria gave four year term and another four year term and no more. And the supreme court has interpreted this provision of maximum of eight year tenure, not a day longer no matter how you come you cannot stay one day longer than eight years.
And if Jonathan re-contests for another four years, so he will stay for nine (9) years, 23 days that makes Jonathan ineligible to contest the next election.
…But if he contests for two terms, is he not going to exceed eight years? Yes, he is going to exceed eight years so by that virtue he is ineligible to contest….
But it seems some chieftains of your party are bent on seeing Jonathan re-contest?
Dr Ardo :I didn’t know, because no party official has come out categorically to say that.However, people can do their body language, let us wait until the facts come out,let us wait till the party say Jonathan he is going to contest or let us wait until Jonathan declares or INEC say that if Jonathan is nominated it’s going to accept. If any of these three happens then we will know ,where the country will move and that’s when the thing will start not before.
I can assure you that from the very day, Jonathan declares his intention to contest on that very day more than one hundred pressure groups and probable political parties will go to court to challenge the position and they will win by my interpretation.
What will be your take on the recent killings by insurgents in Nigeria,particularly in the north east?
Dr Ardo: Though I am not a Christian, but the bible says ” by their fruits (we) shall know them” what is the fruits of the leadership?It’s unfortunate ,we are saddled with leadership that cannot secure the lives of school children,killing our parents in the farms,destroying villages at will and turning us beggars and refugees in our own country,this is the result of the bad leadership that we are having.
It is all the result of the injustice perpetrated by the political class over the years that resulted into this,so I don’t subscribe to it,it’s the failure of the state and state must have to stand up and each and every one must also join hand in the fight against injustice and terror plaguing our nation.
But there’re a these allegations that the insurgents are being supported and backed by some elites particularly in the north to fight your party PDP and President Jonathan in particular?
Dr Ardo:How will I ever subscribe to it,it’s the government that has the police,SSS,Army,NIA the money as well as the power.The essence of state is to provide security and there is social contract between man and the government in providing security,when government fails all these security agents could not account.The customs could not account how weapons are being smuggled into country, immigrations could not account how aliens are moved in to the country, the NIA could not account how foreign terrorists are supplying weapons and training our people ,police could not account how criminals could go and bomb our churches and mosques and vanished in thin air.So also SSS could not account how these things are being calibrated under their nose and money are being distributed without them detecting and all of them cannot account for that and all of them are agencies of state.
So who failed?
It’s the state that failed, the state is the government so ,government failed.The government has the money, has the agencies, and the power to do so but it did not do so and if it put it on somebody, then the government is only politicising its failure.