Skip to main content

Could Ribadu Be The Last Hope For Nigeria?

April 3, 2011

“In a country where corruption is the major employer of labour, it takes a large injection of courage to stand out and be counted as an anti-corruption crusader. Ribadu is heavily injected with courage, perhaps an overdose of it, and he is suicidally (sic) wearing a battle gear against 419, bank frauds, fraud in the petroleum sector, pipeline vandalisation, and money laundering among several children and grandchildren of corruption.”   -    Simon Kolawole, Editor of Thisday

“In a country where corruption is the major employer of labour, it takes a large injection of courage to stand out and be counted as an anti-corruption crusader. Ribadu is heavily injected with courage, perhaps an overdose of it, and he is suicidally (sic) wearing a battle gear against 419, bank frauds, fraud in the petroleum sector, pipeline vandalisation, and money laundering among several children and grandchildren of corruption.”   -    Simon Kolawole, Editor of Thisday

I am an advocate for the break up of Nigeria. Or at least, I am for the pulling out of the Oodua Nation from the quagmire that Nigeria has become.

  I am aware that I have no right to determine for the rest of the Nationalities in Nigeria should they decide to remain in it if they want.

 It is their right to determine for themselves what is in their best interests. I am also aware that I alone, can not determine for my people.

But I can and will continue to make a case to them as to why it would be more beneficial to junk Nigeria and create their own country of Oodua Nation. I would continue to explain why it is important for the Yoruba to be the captains of their own destiny and get out of the curse that Nigeria is since 1914. I am working and will continue to work to ensure that any decision is reached through democratic decision of the Yoruba majority.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content1'); });

Yes, I have loved Nigeria passionately once. My experience at the University of Ife had sold me on the philosophy of a Nigeria that can be the giant of Africa and prove the world wrong that the black man is cursed. There, as a student unionist, I have seen the working together of all for the interest of all. I had believed, naively I found out, this could be extended to the larger Nigerian political terrain. I was optimistic that we could make Nigeria the beacon of hope for the black man and Africa and make our people the proudest of our race in the entire world.

But it did not take long before the cocoon of my naivety was torn to shreds. Unpleasant stark realities pierced through the curtains of my idealism, optimism and hopes about and of Nigeria. Through continuous reading and practical involvement in politics, I have found out that Nigeria meant different things to different ethnic Nations ensconced in the boundaries of that geographical expression.  I have found out that it was difficult to overcome certain historical, cultural, linguistic, social and religious world views that define the various understandings of what Nigeria was, is and should become. Anthropological History of the world has shown that the cultural milieu is the major determinant of one’s ethos, views and desires which would include politics, economy and religion. Recent events across the world have underscored it as truer. Even, the United Nations, as lethargic and uninspiring as it is, has acknowledged this reality by vowing that it would support any self determination desire on the part of any ethnic nationality in ant part of the world.

Since one believes in the right of everyone or every group to determine their own destinies, one is really hard put to deny those who seek different world realities their hearts desire. As a believer in democratic ideals, I find it difficult to accept the imposition of a culture I consider foreign on me and my people while I also find it uncivilized as well as unacceptable to seek to impose my culture on others. This, among other intertwined intractable variables, I have found to be obdurate barrier to building a meaningful country out of Nigeria.

In the process, 50 years have gone by like lightening. Enormous human and material resources have been gleefully wasted. Preventable poverty has invaded the land as born again criminals have taken over the reigns. Merit disappeared to make room for mediocrity. Vices turned fashionable as virtues became abhorrent in the turbulent sea of economic survival. As a result, every ethnic group became suspicious of each other. The major fundamental needed in building a country – TRUST – disappeared. Everyone and every group became miserable. Adversarial contention became the name of the game. As ethnic cleansing, which was assumed to have gone with the destructive civil war, has gradually crept back into the misery called Nigeria. A clique of criminals found a political party and has been pillaging the resources of the country. Meanwhile, another section of the criminal clique thinks they have more rights to ransack and plunder than others. Nigeria is a perfect study of a situation where the victory of evil over good has become very crystal clear.

But because once upon a time, one had great hopes for Nigeria, hopes that have now become forlorn, it seems important to tarry for a moment to see if any good could come from the evil that Nigeria has become, this last time.

Nigeria greatly needs a miracle before it shatters into irretrievable pieces. This is where Barrister Nuhu Ribadu comes in as the last chance for Nigeria despite my suspicion of the intention of every Fulaniman that seeks to rule Nigeria. To me, this is a risk. But it is worth taking before Nigeria makes its last gasp.   Ribadu, in my own assessment is the last chance of a miracle for a cursed country that is like an obstreperous fifty year old son who has not learnt to walk. Nigeria is the son that is a constant source of crawling inimitable misery for his parents and siblings.

 He has no benefit to offer his long suffering relatives. He is a sad fractious heavy burden to all. Only a miracle could change his fortune. And Ribadu is the only one who can fashion the needed miracle to turn around the misfortune.

I have evaluated all the presidential aspirants. I have looked at their trajectories. None of them is a saint. None of them is spotlessly faultless. This only goes to confirm that they are human beings with limitations. What this means is that a comparative analysis of their philosophy, ideology and their history in the opportunities they have had to serve the country have to be done. Through this process, I have come to settle with Ribadu as the best choice for the presidency. In my own humble opinion, despite my desire to see Nigeria break up or at least pull the Oodua Nation out of the confused state that Nigeria is, I am willing to take this last risk with Nuhu Ribadu as the president of Nigeria.  I believe that Ribadu would be the best suited in temperament, philosophy, ideology, vision and capability to save Nigeria from itself.

I am supporting Ribadu with full cognizant of all the criticism against him as the erstwhile Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). After evaluating some of these criticisms that one has been privileged to come across, especially about making selective prosecution, I can only recommend the thoughts of Dr. Pat Utomi on this issue as follows: 
“While it is fashionable for some to accuse Ribadu of selective prosecution, none have been able to say that he arrested innocent people…. No matter how far falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth.”

Given the social and political encumbrances that Ribadu had to contend with under Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, it is clear now that he tried and did his best. He was above board in his personal integrity and honesty. There are not many Nigerians who would reject a bribe of $15 million bribe; 30 million naira bribe, among many others at various times and resist persistent pernicious efforts to compromise him. Anyone who continued to accuse him of “selective persecution” of criminals during his tenure would obviously be ignoring the necessary political dynamics under which Ribadu operated as the boss of the EFCC.

I am concerned about the recent press reports that he met Ibrahim Babangida in Minna.  Babangida is a devil that everyone ought to stay miles away from. I consider this not properly thought of. But I know that politics make strange fellows, more so, anyone who wishes to catch a monkey has to pretend and act like a monkey at times. However, I am taking solace in the background provided by my own Albert Einstein, Professor Wale Adebanwi, in his book on Ribadu which suggests that Ribadu has never allowed his personal relationship to stand in the way of prosecuting the law according to its letters. I expect this to be so when he would be completely unencumbered as the President of Nigeria. While it is difficult to make a definite statement in this regard, I am still willing to take the risk.

His being appointed by Olusegun Obasanjo into this position has also been trumpeted as a disqualification of Ribadu for the Presidency of Nigeria in an election that would determine whether Nigeria survives as an entity or not. As a result of the enduring ignominy trailing Obasanjo since he had left office, almost everyone connected with him, directly or indirectly, has been tarnished and tainted, including President Jonathan Goodluck. But as Professor Chinua Achebe had posited in his Foreword to the book written by Professor Adebanwi, “A PARADISE FOR MAGGOTS,” it should not be lost on all that the appointment of Ribadu as the chairperson of EFCC was one of the few “great achievements” of the Obasanjo administration. Professor Achebe put it as follows:

“One of the great achievements of the Obasanjo administration – and there were few indeed – was the appointment of Nuhu Ribadu as the chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). With this appointment – albeit for a brief period of four years (from 2003 to 2007) – Nigeria, for the first time in its history, had in Ribadu a version of Eliot Ness. Ribadu set to work immediately, determined to turn around Nigeria’s beleaguered reputation as a ‘den of thieves, replete with corrupt, uneducated political thugs and business hooligans.’ ”

In addition to this, it would be unfair, as it would be in Ribadu’s case, to diminish the achievements of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the present Managing Director of the World Bank as Finance Minister, or Mrs. Dora Akunyili as head of NAFDAC among others who distinguished themselves as bright lights under the dark clouds of an Obasanjo administration.

Ironically, the same Obasanjo whose tag is being used to discredit Ribadu’s good efforts as the EFCC boss has complained in some quarters that Ribadu was no longer on speaking terms with him for about four years now. This, in a curious way, shows how well Ribadu is an “OBJ boy.”

That he is not on speaking terms with Obasanjo is an enduring attestation to the independent mind Ribadu has always had. For those who did not know the story of how he became the boss of the EFCC, Obasanjo did not even want to appoint Ribadu into the position, according to Professor Adebanwi in his book. Obasanjo had thought that he(Ribadu) was the Vice President Abubakar Atiku’s “boy” because the Vice President had “put in a word” for Ribadu to be appointed to the position because he (Atiku), who has his own agenda, had felt it was a way to thaw the political rivalry between the Ribadu family and him in his home State of Adamawa.

According to Professor Adebanwi, not until others such as the then Attorney General, Godwin Agabi, Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili called “Madam Due Process” in Obasanjo’s administration then, and late Alhaji Waziri Mohammed, then chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation who was reportedly very close to the president intervened did Obasanjo finally agreed to appoint Ribadu to the position. He did not even offer to meet him before he instructed the Secretary to the Federal Government to make the appointment public. It was also to the credit of the AGF Agabi who had sounded the view of the social critic, activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana who was the first person who had recommended Nuhu Ribadu for the chairmanship of the EFCC during a providential visit to his friend, the AGF.

The AGF was to later amend the law creating the Commission to allow an officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), which was then Ribadu’s rank to head the proposed EFCC rather than the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) that he earlier had in mind. It must also be pointed out that Obasanjo was kept in the dark that Ribadu was first suggested by Femi Falana, because such information would have automatically derailed Ribadu’s chances if Obasanjo had a hint.

I have dwelled briefly on this just to show how tenuous the relationship between Obasanjo and Ribadu was before he got the appointment. To this extent, it is one’s view that with the current “cold relationship” between Obasanjo and Ribadu who were never really close in the first instance, it is less likely that Obasanjo with his less than progressive views would be able to influence the presidency of an independent Ribadu who has a passion to serve Nigeria and put the country back on track.  
Ribadu is a committed man with integrity. He may be imperfect, but he is the best among those presently on the field seeking the presidency. We need his courage and vision to rescue Nigeria from the dungeon of darkness that it has been dumped by the PDP in the last twelve years.


googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('comments'); });

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content2'); });