The former Special Adviser on Research and Strategy to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has opened up on the role played in helping the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari assume the office of the presidency.
Ardo, while speaking in an interview with PUNCH, said he was a critical factor in Buhari’s presidency despite being a northern and not a Fulani like him.
He argued that his support for leadership isn’t based on ethnic sentiments but on key values, insisting he raised funds for Buhari’s presidential ambition and drove it until the All Progressives Congress (APC) registration on July 31, 2013.
Ardo said the former President failed to reward him or meet with him after becoming President, adding it is critical to reward those who are part of one’s political success.
He said, “Well, I don’t know about being Fulani like me. In any case, I don’t support or oppose a leadership based on such sentiments. I do things based on key values. Besides, I believe on a personal ground that anyone in my shoes will oppose former President Buhari because of the kind of person he is. You see, I conceived former President Muhammadu Buhari’s fourth contest and advised him on it after vowing publicly that he wouldn’t ever contest again in April 2011. Upon his acceptance, I wrote the blueprint, organised it, raised the funds for it, and drove it till the registration of the All Progressives Congress on July 31, 2013, and then, President Bola Tinubu and the rest took over to win the election.
“I advised Buhari to go meet President Tinubu in March 2012 in the first place to offer him the vice presidency in a merger of Congress for Progressives Change and Action Congress of Nigeria for which he was to deliver the South-West at the polls in 2015, which resulted today in Tinubu himself being the President. Unknown to most people, it was former President Buhari who approached Tinubu, who is now the President, on the APC merger and not the other way around. And it was at my behest.
“If I hadn’t done what I did, the national politics would have been dramatically different from what it is today. Immediately after he was declared winner, Buhari turned his back on me; he never saw me and never rewarded me. Politics is an affair that you must reward those who are critical to your success. I was not involved in his first, second, and third unsuccessful attempts, but I conceived his fourth contest.
“I am indisputably the critical factor in the success of his fourth contest. You see, in playing this game called politics, we must all adhere to the immutable principles of justice and selflessness. These are values that must not be sacrificed for personal gains under any guise. And these are the core values former President Buhari sacrificed in dealing with me. So, how could I not have opposed and criticised him?”