|Dr. Umar Ardo|
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 Ph.D in Political History. In 1999, Dr. 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, Dr. 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.
In the meantime, while in the Presidency, Dr. Ardo scored impressive achievements. 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. In the days when he was in office, the whole nation can testify, among many other commendable roles played by ALGON, to the checkmating of the excesses of the State Governors over the Local Governments, especially in the former’s lust for absolute control of the latter’s statutory accounts.
As a historian, Dr. Ardo was also the sole initiator for the change of nomenclature of the then Sokoto Emirate Council to its current more appropriate name The Sokoto Sultanate Council. This is a huge achievement as it rectifies the vestiges of colonial anomalies to this cultural and traditional institution. It also enhances and raises the prestige of not only the Sokoto Caliphate but also the traditional institutions as a whole in Northern Nigeria and the country at large.
Still on the Sokoto Caliphate, it is the same Dr. Ardo who conceived and coordinated the Bicentenary Anniversary Celebrations of the Caliphate in June, 2004. In the history of Northern Nigeria, it is generally acknowledged that there has never been such a huge mobilization of human beings (including dignitaries) to any occasion. Indeed, even in the history of the country, only the 1977 FESTAC can be said to have surpassed the Bicentenary event. When he started the programme, there was not a single kobo budgeted for it. But Dr. Ardo skilfully sourced for the funding so that by the time the event was over, tens of millions was still left unspent in the Bicentenary account. Thisday Newspaper unreservedly placed the Bicentenary as the “Event of the Year 2004”. Yet, the genius behind the event was unsung. Such is the humility and unassuming disposition of the man! Clearly, Dr. Ardo is an agenda-setter of our time.
Also, Dr. 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 our 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.
In Abuja as well as in Adamawa, Dr. Ardo remains a centre of attraction with great reliable and dependable political skills. His Secondary School classmate, now a Medical Doctor, calls him Albert Einstein of Nigeria. When asked why, he said Dr. Ardo has astonishing political proficiency but most people underrate him just like Einstein with his theory of relativity in the world of sciences.
Take for example, Dr. Ardo’s contribution in the killing of the 3rd Term bid. Whosoever watched the AIT Documentary titled Tenure Elongation in Nigeria will indubitably conclude that this was a master piece from an extremely brilliant mind. Atiku, a vanguard of the anti-3rd Term Movement, described it as the last stroke that broke the back of the 3rd Term Camel. By the time the security agents raided AIT and seized the tapes, the whole country knew that the tenure elongation bid had already been given a mortal blow. Many people today hold the view that the courage AIT mustered to air that documentary has helped to further raise the popularity base of the station before a large section of patriotic Nigerians.
These few examples of his initiating and driving such strategic changes and organizational renewal in our Local Government system, traditional institutions, federal parastatals and the defence of democracy as visible focal vehicles of improving, enhancing and sustaining our democratization process, demonstrated the skills and ingenuity that abound in the man.
Since his voluntary retirement from service, he engaged himself in private consulting business, deploying his multi-faceted skills to great use while still contributing to national development by serving on various occasions as resource person to diverse political and public entities. Having initiated and drafted the blueprint for the South-South and Peter Odili for President Movement, Dr. Ardo served as Director of Research and Strategy in the Odili Presidential Campaign Organization. With flare for politics and passion to serve, Dr. 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 his political vistas only keep on widening. Today, Dr. Ardo is a strong National Voice and Political Advocate on Rule of Law, Constitutionalism and Due Process.
A Member of Historical Society of Nigeria, a researcher, an author and public policy analyst, Dr. Ardo attended several seminars/conferences, presented many academic lectures at home and abroad, and 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 supports a number of philanthropic endeavours.
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, CAPPS develops practical perspectives and creates frameworks on issues that require deeper interpretations, analysis, understanding and dissemination. With a heart for the downtrodden and a man of piety and sympathy, he is also a co-founder and life trustee of Disability General Care Initiative (DGCI), an NGO founded to cater for the needs of the disabled, that specializing in database on disability information and general care for the disabled persons within our society. Dr. Ardo is also a patron of Nigerian Youth Association and President of Yelli Youth Development Association.
Dr. Umar Ardo is happily married to Princess Hannatu and blessed with 5 children.
ARDO’S POLITICAL INITIATIVES AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO NIGERIA’S NATIONAL POLITICS AT A GLANCE
- i. Initiated and Coordinated the Formation of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) – November 1999;
- ii. Initiated and Coordinated a National Security Dimensions Conference of Cross-Border Armed Incursion into the North Eastern Zone of Nigeria – Yola, December 1999;
- iii. Initiated and Coordinated the first Award of Honourary Doctoral Degree to Vice President Atiku Abubakar along with Dr. Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, by the University of Maiduguri – April- 2000;
- iv. Initiated and Coordinated the Change of Nomenclature of the Sokoto Emirate Council to the present Sokoto Sultanate Council -May 2000;
- v. Initiated and Coordinated Quintessence Award for Leadership to the Vice President Atiku Abubakar awarded by the African Writers Endowment and Songhai Books, co-sponsored by the State of New Jersey – Trenton, USA, July 2002;
- vi. Initiated and Coordinated the Launching of his Book Murtala Muhammed: Architect of Modern Nigeria attended by Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, as Guest Speaker – Abuja, February 2003;
- vii. Initiated and Coordinated Invitation of Vice President Atiku Abubakar as Guest Speaker on Black History Day Lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – February 2004;
- viii. Initiated and Coordinated Invitation of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to a Roundtable Luncheon by the Board and International Circle Members of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (LAWAC) – California, USA, February 2004;
- ix. Initiated and Coordinated Visit of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to Governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Deputy Governor Cruz Bustamante, Speaker House of Assembly and Mayor James K. Hahn of Los Angeles City – California, February 2004;
- x. Initiated and Coordinated invitation of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to address the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster and a Reception at Lancaster House – London, July 2004;
- xi. Initiated and Coordinated Invitation of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the Rhodes Library, Oxford University, and a Luncheon with Professor Emeritus AHM Kirk-Greene – Oxford England, July 2004
- xii. Initiated and Coordinated Bicentenary Anniversary Celebrations of the Sokoto Caliphate – June 2004;
- xiii. Initiated and Became Director of Strategy for the South-South (Peter Odili) for President Campaign Movement, 2005 – 2006;
- xiv. Initiated and Coordinated the 30th Anniversary Memorial Lecture of the Assassination of General Murtala Muhammed – Mambaya House, Kano, February 2006;
- xv. Initiated and Coordinated Invitation and Attendance of Dr. Sam Nujoma, Founding President of the Republic of Namibia, General Mohammadu Buhari, Former Head of State of Nigeria, Professor Emeritus Ali Mazrui and Dr. Patrick Wilmot to the 30th Anniversary Memorial Lecture of General Murtala Muhammed – Kano, February 2006;
- xvi. Initiated and Founded Center for Alternative Policy Perspectives and Strategy (CAPPS) – October 2009;
- xvii. Initiated and Coordinated Post-Amnesty Conference on the Niger-Delta Conflict – Kaduna, October 2009;
- xviii. Initiated and Coordinated the Book Launch How I Governed Anambra State by Dr. Chinwekwe Mbadinuju and Coordinated the Invitation and Attendance of General Mohammadu Buhari – Abuja, April 2013; and
- xix. Contested the Governorship of Adamawa State under the Platform of the People’s Democratic Party in 2010, 2012 and 2014.