Dr. Ishaku Maxwell
Please permit me to paraphrase a popular dictum that has gained currency in our daily lives; from “a golden fish has no hiding place” to ” a true champion has no hiding place” to describe the event of Wednesday 13 2021, in which 30 political parties eulogize, recognized, honour and pour warm accolades on one of Nigeria’s democratic champions and shining examples of good governance, Dr. Umar Ardo.
It did not come to me as a surprise that such momentous honour, reverence and recognition, the first of its kind in the annals of our contemporary democracy is given to Ardo.
Without hedging or the fear of being challenged, I stand to say that this honour should have come a long time ago but as they say, “it is better late than never.”
Be that as it may, I doff my hat to the chairmen of the 30 political parties for their selfless and indefatigable quest to ensure the development of our nascent democracy and good governance which is in high deficit in our climes.
Without mincing words, I will say this unique gesture deserves applause and approbation from all well meaning Nigerians home and abroad, because it will not only serve as an elixir that will prod people to take the narrow path of probity, accountability and selfless service to our fatherland but will serve the most cardinal objective of democracy itself, which is domiciling power to the people not the other way round as is the norm in Nigeria and other developing democracies.
The biggest threat we face as a people and democracy has to do with our collective lethargy to institutionalize leadership recruitment process that allows only men of unimpeachable character like Ardo to straddle leadership positions.
Our greatest undoing as a people is that we seem to be very comfortable with a norm in which the moneybag calls the shots. We also allow the moneybag to be the main factor behind who occupies what in our leadership space.
When you allow moneybags, people of questionable character and to a great extent, touts and street urchins to occupy very critical and sensitive leadership spaces, the imports and portents are better imagined than witnessed.
It is not surprising therefore, that Nigeria is daily sliding towards perdition and failure. And the early we take decisive actions to stem the precarious slide, the better for us as a people, because there is no way Nigeria can continue to survive, if we maintain the same attitude and posture.
With the speed Nigeria is moving towards total anarchy, one do not need to be a nay sayer to surmise Nigeria’s collapse in the nearest future that is if we did not collapse already.
With our ranking as the poverty capital of the world, pervasive insecurity, social and economic exclusion, unemployment, hyper inflation and numerous other blights, one does not need to reemphasize the importance of the honour on Dr. Ardo.
It is also for those reasons that such recognition of doggedness, spiritedness and selfless services which Dr Ardo has been exuding since he joined politics should be seen.
In honouring our hero, the spokesman of the chairmen of the 30 political parties, Comrade Ja’far Baba Gire amply noted that it was based on some sterling qualities which made Ardo a unique political figure of our time.
Hear him; ” Fellow citizens of Adamawa State, let me use this occasion to intimate us the purpose for which we are all gathered here today. We are all living witnesses to the systematic collapse of democratic values in our political parties. In our opinion, there is one fundamental element missing in our party system, which is responsible for the poor governance and under-development of our state and our country today.
“And until this issue is considered and resolved party politics will never be stable in Nigeria, and democracy will not serve its purpose of developing this country. This missing element is the lack of Internal Democracy.”
In the same breath, Gire who reeled out the rationale for the recognition noted that such is the only way we can restore our fledgling democracy.
Hear him again; ” Ladies and gentlemen, I took time to elaborate on this issue of internal democracy because of its significance in party politics. As we earlier said, until this issue is resolved our democracy will not work. It is in recognition of this fact that we call for this press conference to appreciate, and pay tribute to, one politician, and an academic, who perceptively understood this problem and has been fighting doggedly to solve it in his political party.
“And this individual is Dr. Umar Ardo of the Peoples 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 way up to the 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.
“Even though he likes to describe himself as a politician, most people actually see Dr. Umar Ardo more of a political activist. His candor and plain speaking, no matter whose ox is gored; his decisiveness and actions when the need arises; his rather forceful arguments and decisions once he is clear of what is at stake – all set him apart from ordinary politicians in the state and the country in a distinctive and ample manner. Unlike most politicians, Ardo never refrained from conflict when he believes that an issue must be resolved.
“Again, unlike most politicians in the state whose source of wealth is not unconnected to public treasury, Dr. Ardo cannot be said to have ever made any money from 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 government treasury? This is a challenge we are throwing out to them all!
“A man like this needs support and encouragements from all well-meaning Nigerians, because when he ultimately wins, it will be to the benefit of all.”
With these words on marble, I wish to conclude this discourse with a heavy thump up for the political parties for resetting our polity on the path of honour, probity and accountability.
Dr. Ishaku Maxwell sent in the piece from Kaduna State