In what was regarded by Dr Umar Ardo and his followers as a “triumph of light over darkness”, the unprecedented happened in the history of multi-party democracy in Nigeria, as 30 political parties in Adamawa state, jettisoned party differences, came together to join forces with an astute politician, Dr.Umar Ardo, to wrestle power in the state. MUAZU ABARI writes.
The leaders of the 30 political parties hailed the man they described as the “Icon of Adamawa democracy” and agreed to work with him to salvage democracy and end impunity in the state, ahead of 2023 elections.
The sordid state of democracy in Adamawa state, like other parts of Nigeria, has been a source of concern to well-meaning people of the state.
They argue that the beauty of democracy, the world over, lies on the power of the electorate to elect those who will represent them at all levels of government, Be it at the executive, legislature or party level.
Supposedly, this is an indication that sovereignty belongs to the people who determine the choices of their leaders. But this inalienable right seems to have been taken away, consequently, democracy also seems to have been striped of its value.
“Instead, it is now synonymous with dictatorship and other forms of autocratic rule”, they said.
Some of the party leaders were of the opinion that rather than preserve democracy and ensure its sustenance, the political class has turned out to be the stumbling block to democratic survival in the country as a result of selfish political interests and inordinate ambition to remain in power at all costs and by all means, against the wishes of the electorate.
“This unfortunate state of affairs, in the so-called giant of Africa has brought the country to its knees making Nigeria a laughing stock in the eyes of the world and a bad example of how not to practice democracy.
“Consequently, political parties and the electorate have become the greatest casualties of this democratic shame aggravated by cowardly attitude of the led to face these tormentors headlong,” a party leader said at the venue of the occasion.”
Flowing from this, 30 political parties in Adamawa state came together to join forces with the leader of the reformed People’s Democratic party (R-PDP) in Adamawa state, Dr.Umar Ardo, described as the ‘true champion of democracy,’ to wrestle power from the present leaders.
The parties include: APDA, ASD, ANN, DA, GPN, NCP, PRP, NNPP, JMPP, WTPN, PANDE,MPN,UPC,PDM, ANDP, APN, and AD,
Others are NDCP, NPC, ZM, APP, PTP, ACCORD, ACD, NDLP, NPM, AA, MRDD, JMPP and NCP .
The parties have vowed to team up with Ardo to rescue democracy and entrench internal democracy in Adamawa politics.
With this step, observers believe that the case of Adamawa state would not be completely hopeless like other states in the country.
They attributed the success recorded in the state to Dr Ardo whose doggedness and resilience to stand by truth, fairness and justice and defend the cause of democracy, good governance and internal party democracy has kept democratic hopes alive in the state .
Speaking at the event in Yola, attended by the state chairmen, vice chairmen and other leaders of the 30 political parties, the spokesman of the parties Comrade Jafar Buba Gerei eulogised Ardo for always defending democracy and standing on the side of truth, fairness and justice.
He said, “It is in recognition of this fact that we call for this press conference to appreciate, honour and pay tribute to one politician and academic who perceptively understands this problem and has been fighting doggedly to solve it in his own political party. And this individual is Dr.umar Ardo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“Although, we are not of the same party with him but we all could not fail to notice his fight for the entrenchment of internal democracy in his party for over 12 years running.
“He fought it at the party level from state to National, he fought it at the courts from High courts up to Supreme Court expending hundreds of millions of his hard-earned money. We admit that he is yet to prevail but he still has not given up and is determined not to give up till he prevails.”
“Ardo never refrains from conflict when he believes that an issue must be resolved unlike most politicians in the state whose sources of wealth are connected to the public treasury.
“Even though he served at the highest office in the country -the presidential Villa every Kobo Dr.Ardo ever made is earned and not stolen. How many of our so-called politicians in the state can boast of legitimately earning their money outside the government treasury. This is a challenge we are throwing at them.
“A man like this needs support and encouragement from all well meaning Nigerians, because when he ultimately wins, it will be to the benefit of all it is in recognition of this worthy struggle that after exhaustive deliberations, we unanimously decided to honour him as champion of democracy and resolved as follows:
“A.That Dr.umar Ardo is true and patriotic Democrat who values democracy and is desirous to entrench and sustain it in Adamawa and Nigeria .
“B.That we unanimously agreed to support his struggle to entrench internal democracy in our party system in the interest of our dear state and the country. C.That if given the opportunity to lead the state,Dr.Ardo will not steal from our public treasury.
“D.That he is the only one among the many politicians we believe will bring positive change, progressive, fruitful and productive development in the state.
“That while we still remain members of our various parties, however, if Dr.Ardo prevails and is nominated by any political party as gubernatorial candidate for the state, we will unanimously endorse his candidacy and collectively support and work for his election in the interest of our dear state”.
Reacting to his recognition and overwhelming support by 30 political parties for his struggle for democracy and good governance in the state, Dr Ardo said, “You can see what we have been doing is gradually getting recognition and result. From the press conference you have just come out from where 30 political parties came together to identify with us and recognise what we have been doing, I believed things are changing in a positive direction so the issue of imposition and impunity in our political parties will be minimal.”
“As it is, we are already in court in the state in order to dissolve PDP exco in Adamawa which have not come into being in accordance with the provisions of the party’s constitution and law of natural justice. If we are lucky to get the judgement in our favour then the process of getting right internal party democracy would have been entrenched in Adamawa state, and then it will be equally entrenched at the national level”.
“So with internal democracy, there will be no imposition because internal democracy comprises two basic elements 1.elect party executives in a free, fair and transparent manner and secondly, nominating candidates for the party for public offices also in a free, fair and transparent manner. Once these things are put in place, the issue of internal party democracy in our party as in all political parties as seen demonstrated by 30 political parties in Adamawa state, will be a thing of the past.”
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“You see, if you look at my kind of politics, I have three types of patriotism. Firstly, patriotism to the nation, when the nation is at stake, I don’t consider party. Secondly, patriotism to my party. If the party is at stake, I don’t consider the individual or candidate and thirdly, the candidate which is the last. So if they indicted the present PDP administration in the state, they are not basically indicting the party nor the nation but the candidate and I’m not in a position to defend the candidate,” he said.
Most of the people interviewed applauded this decision by 30 political parties in the state to join forces with Ardo who have been fighting the battle alone for over 12 years to rescue democracy in Adamawa state and expressed optimism that this new alliance will produce positive result and further strengthen democracy in the state but only time will tell.