Saharareporters has learned that former chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Nuhu Ribadu is on the cusp of declaring his intention to run for the office of the Nigerian presidency.
“The announcement of Nuhu’s candidacy will come any moment from now,” an authoritative source knowledgeable about the political development told Saharareporters exclusively.
Ribadu returned to Nigeria recently and took part in a high profile seminar organized by the National Association of Seadogs also known as Pyrates Fraternity.
Several sources told our correspondents that the former EFCC boss had been quietly holding meetings and consultations with politicians and political interests in different parts of the country.
“Ribadu has met with different groups in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos and Port Harcourt,” said one source, adding, “he has received great encouragement to run.”
During his first visit to Nigeria since going into a brief exile during the administration of the late Nigerian ruler Umaru Yar’adua, Ribadu reportedly visited with the wife and family of the deceased ruler to commiserate with them over his death.
“Each time Ribadu visited Nigeria, numerous politicians, labor leaders, student groups and even traditional rulers asked him to present himself as a candidate,” said one source. “A number of political parties also expressed interest in fielding him or mobilizing support for him,” said a former member of the House of Representatives who is aware of the ongoing political calculus.
Saharareporters sources indicated that Ribadu’s consultations with groups within Nigeria had now reached a critical point. “He is likely to declare his presidential bid within the next two or three weeks,” disclosed a source.
Our sources further revealed that Ribadu had already set up two presidential campaign offices in Lagos and Abuja and recruited some energetic and skilled staff to run the offices.
Among his campaign staff are his former Chief of Staff at the EFCC, Dapo Olorunyomi, and Chido Onumah who once headed Fix Nigeria, a civil society organ of the EFCC. Other campaign staff include Ms. Najatu Mohammed, a female political activist, and Ike Okonta, who is an author and prolific columnist. Our sources also indicated that some graduate students have signed up to work on his campaign.
Saharareporters learned that Ribadu is likely to run on the ticket of the Action Congress party. One source said that the AC had asked Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, a well-known journalist and political activist, to help coordinate Ribadu's campaign.
Our sources said Ribadu was scheduled to meet with AC party leaders at the Lagos State Government House in Ikeja to finalize arrangements to enable the former EFCC chair to be the party’s presidential candidate.
One source told our correspondent, “Ribadu's popularity would go beyond the AC party,” adding “several parties have reached out to him to show support for his bid.”
Ribadu has recently made strong political speeches in Kaduna, Kano and Lagos enjoining youths to wrest power from the old guards.
One of his campaign staffers said that Ribadu would soon launch an interactive website. The source added that Ribadu intends to “rely heavily on grassroots funding to defeat the ‘old order’ that has held Nigeria down for decades.”