Dr Urmar Ardo, is one of those who helped to draw up the Muhammadu Buhari’s plan of action. Today he is teaming up with others to sack the president from the State House, Abuja. Segun James traces how this staunch Buhari supporter parted ways with the president
Imagine the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winning the 2019 general election resoundingly; and it is back to the presidential villa as the party of choice by Nigerians?
For Dr. Umar Ardo, this is not only possible but achievable, and he has the magic wand to achieve this for the party.
The most important change in governance in Nigeria in the last 20 years has been the successful transfer of power from one political party to another in 2015.
But that will be more significant if the PDP is able to wrest power back from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. This ultimately will prove that Nigeria has indeed come up age politically.
Given the political atmosphere in the country right now, can the PDP achieve this feat?
For Ardo, this is not only possible but it will be achieved. After all, he was recognized as one of the 10 men, just behind the United States of America’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, Professor Atahiru Jega and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on the list of people who made the President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential win in 2015 possible.
Ardo was key in advising and drawing up Buhari’s plan of action; for 2015, a move which led to the merger between the CPC and CAN and the formation of the APC. It might have been Bola Tinubu that made the ACN, CPC merger a reality and many still believe he was the brain behind it. But the merger plan was conceptualised and drawn up by Umar Ardo and later left to Tinubu to implement. But today, Ardo and the president have parted ways.
A former governorship candidate and a PDP chieftain in Adamawa state, Ardo has vowed to use the ‘master piece’ which was used to bring Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to power to oust him in 2019.
He described the APC-led government as a complete failure for refusing to fulfil even one of its numerous campaign promises after two years.
To him, the Supreme Court ruling which settled the lingering leadership tussle in the PDP was the indication that the party is heading to victory in 2019.
He said: “To all intents and purposes, if our party’s leadership conforms to constitutionalism, due process and rule of law, formulates good and appropriate strategy, field in Nigerians of good standing and does not sell party tickets to the highest bidders, puts in hard work, by God’s will, I can tell you yes, PDP will win the presidency in 2019.
“I think the negative PDP is out and it will be the positive PDP that will come in. With the near total failure of leadership in the country under the APC today and the resultant nationwide disquiet amongst the populace, it is a matter of urgency that Nigerians of good standing come together to arrest the drift and capture national power in 2019 to save the country from societal convulsion.”
A former Special Assistant to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as Vice President, Ardo however believes that the return of Abubakar to the PDP will lead to conflict within the party and turn party members against themselves.
He said, “There are three disadvantages. We learnt that Atiku is coming back to the party with an ambition; an ambition to contest for the Presidency.
“Now that will be a source of conflict because there are others in the party who are also interested and they are nursing this ambition. There will be conflict among party members. Secondly, the deep pocket that Atiku has will not only serve that ambition, it will also deepen the conflict. The third disadvantage is that those foot soldiers will also serve the ambition and in the process deepen the conflict.”
Dr. Umar Ardo was born on September 29, 1960 in Kojoli in Jada local Government Area of Adamawa State. He was schooled in both Qur’anic and Western education, he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) from Kojoli Primary School in 1973. Thereafter, he proceeded to Government Secondary School, Ganye where he obtained his West Africa School Certificate (WASC) in 1978 in Division One in the Gongola State MOCK/WASC Examinations as well as winning the Prize for the Best Graduating Student in English Literature and Islamic Studies.
He then gained admission into the University of Maiduguri where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours Degree in History in 1983. Not satisfied with his graduating class, upon his completion of the NYSC in Cross River State in 1984, he immediately returned to the university for his masters where he graduated in political history.
Ardo worked for two years with the defunct Gongola State Television Corporation Yola as Programme Producer before proceeding to the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA Kaduna, to take up a teaching appointment in the Department of History.
While lecturing in the NDA, Ardo enrolled for a doctoral degree in history with his Alma Mata university and successfully graduated in 1997 with a PhD in Political History.
In 1999, Ardo was appointed to the office of the Vice President as Special Assistant (States and Local Government Affairs). He was reappointed as Special Assistant (Research and Strategy) to the President and Commander-in-Chief in 2003.
Strictly on principle, in a feat that very few can venture, Ardo voluntarily resigned his appointment from the Presidential Villa in November, 2004, but the resignation was rejected. In June 2006, after been relieved of his appointment in the Presidency, Ardo then voluntarily disengaged his service with the NDA all together.
While in the Presidency, and as Special Assistant on States and Local Government, he initiated and supervised the formation of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON). The idea of ALGON was to give elected Local Government Councils some measure of autonomy from arbitrary State Governments’ manipulation and control.
Ardo, being an indigene of a border community, initiated the lead memo that crystallized in the enactment into law of the Federal Border Communities Development Agency in 2003 as amended in 2006. This agency, as constituted, is meant to help in no small way in developing border communities across the country, thereby giving robust to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Certainly, Adamawa state with its long international borders ought to be a major beneficiary of this well-thought-out federal agency.
Since his voluntary retirement from service, he has engaged himself in private consulting business, deploying his multi-faceted skills to great use while still contributing to national development by serving as resource person to diverse political and public entities.
He initiated and drafted the blueprint for the Peter Odili for President Movement in 2006 and served as Director of Research and Strategy in the Odili Presidential Campaign Organization.
With flare for politics and passion to serve, Ardo contested the governorship of his beloved state, Adamawa, three times under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Although he is yet to attain his goal, nevertheless he is a strong voice and an advocate on rule of law, constitutionalism and due process in the country.
A member of Historical Society of Nigeria, a researcher, an author and public policy analyst, Ardo has written numerous papers and articles on diverse political and public policy issues. He is a regular commentator and public policy analyst to many electronic and print media at home and abroad.
He is the initiator, Trustee and Executive Secretary of the Centre for Alternative Policy Perspectives and Strategy (CAPPS) an independent Abuja-based private research think-tank and development resource centre, incorporated to provide and advocate for alternative public policy options and strategy.
Ardo is happily married to Hannatu and are blessed with five children.