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Patriot Extraordinaire: Ribadu's Second Coming and the Power of Yes

--Cutting-Edge Analytics--


By: Franklin Otorofani
 Published February 14th, 2012

The biggest news that has come out of the Jonathan administration lately is not the removal, sorry, reduction in fuel subsidy. It is not the capture of Boko Haram’s mouth piece that is cowardly singing like a canary and spilling the beans. Heck, it is not even showing his police chiefs the exit door for messing up the anti-terrorism war in the escape of the Catholic Church bombing mastermind, Kabiru Sokoto, now reported to have been recaptured. What is it? It is the second coming of retired AIG, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, erstwhile no nonsense anti-graft Czar of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC).

Action, they say, speaks louder than words, and Jonathan's action speaks volumes. Here is what Ribadu's appointment as chairman of the investigation panel to expose the innards of NNPC, Nigeria's infinitely corrupt energy giant, speaks about President Goodluck Jonathan:

It throws up the president as being large-hearted. Here is a man bringing into his administration one of his most implacable opponents and critics in the last presidential election who, not only refused to congratulate him after his well deserved victory, but went about granting press interviews literally dismissing the election as a monumental fraud despite the findings of both local and international election monitors. Ribadu's appointment shows that the president is beyond party politics; neither a hostage to the past nor of his own party, the PDP, by reaching out to the presidential candidate of a rival political party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and the main opposition party in the country to join his administration. The fact that it was president Jonathan who restored Ribadu to his former rank after he was disrobed by the late President Musa Yar'Adua and cleared the way for his return from self-exile only to be attacked by Ribadu showed that Jonathan has a forgiving spirit and thinks more of the country and his legacy than himself as a person and his political adversaries. He is not the type that goes for settlement of personal scores by repaying what many had considered Ribadu's ingratitude to the president in his attacks. That by the way, is how mature politics should be played.

It shows the president is willing and prepared to bring on board the best materials wherever they may be found to help him implement his transformation agenda. It is the same disposition that informed the appointment of Drs. Okonjo Nweala and Bath Nnaji respectively as his economic and power ministers. One by one, slowly but steadily, the leading lights of President Olusegun Obasanjo administration are trickling in and staging a comeback. I wouldn't be surprised if Ribadu's appointment letter had OBJ's fingerprints all over it. With only three years left for him to deliver his legacy, Jonathan has every incentive to bring tested hands to midwife his legacy before time runs out on him.

Appointing a man of Ribadu's pedigree into such an important position shows that the president is indeed serious about cleaning the rot in the NNPC and set his administration on a path of probity and accountability, without which his claim to a transformation agenda would be just so much noise and no substance. This is coming after the firing of the EFCC boss, Mrs Farida Waziri and replacing her with Ribadu's director of operations in the agency. A clear picture and narrative is slowly emerging. Mind you the EFCC is already investigating fraudulent practices by the oil mafia in the administration of the fuel subsidy. Bringing Ribadu in completes the picture and synergy of actions and operations.

On Ribadu's side, it shows a man who has the love of his country close to his heart; a man who is willing to set aside political differences to serve his fatherland in whatever capacity. It is clear to this writer that Ribadu is not attracted to his new job by the lure of the office because it is way below what he was aiming at and even below the height he had attained in public service. And it is not even a permanent position for crying out loud. He is simply interested in serving his country, and his press statement says that much.

In that respect, he is one of a kind. Not for him the vocation of perpetual opposition of any government in power. Not for him the crass partisanship and politics of personal destruction that has characterized the rudderless and inept Nigerian opposition. And certainly not for him the lure of playing the King of Opposition by virtue of his position as leader and presidential candidate of Nigeria's main opposition party, ACN. Like Jonathan, he rose above partisanship and the loss of election to place the love of country above party and personal ambition. Service is his currency in politics, and honor is his creed.

And for the professional agitators shedding crocodile tears and mourning their loss of Ribadu to the Jonathan administration, I would say to them to rise above partisanship and show some patriotism by placing service to country over and above service to party or ethnicity. That is progressive politicking. And it is why former US Defense Secretary, Mr. Robert Gates, a Republican and former President GW Bush’s appointee, became a holdover for the Democratic President Obama's administration. So also is Ben Bernanke, Chairman of US Federal Reserve Bank, former Utah State governor and Republican presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, who became Obama's Ambassador to China, and many others.

The type of politics of personal destruction, which is the stock in trade mainly of the opposition in Nigeria is, to say the least, unfortunate and deplorable. Turning political opponents into mortal enemies for losing elections is not a mark of political maturity. It is a shame that they are calling a known patriot like Nuhu Ribadu with an unmatched and unblemished record of public service to his country, names for accepting to serve in the Jonathan administration. This is pathetic. His critics should be made to understand that he is not serving the person of Jonathan but his country, not under military, but democratically elected government. And he has absolutely no apologies or regrets for doing so.

As a citizen, he reserves the right of political association and I think Ribadu's association with the ACN was a huge mistake and a disaster in the first place. He doesn't belong there. Remember what he said about ex-governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, the ACN Emperor, during a senate hearing when he was EFCC chairman that came to hunt him during the presidential campaign? He was clearly in the wrong boat in ACN. I think it was a marriage of convenience and ACN did everything to frustrate him. Otherwise, how come only Osun state voted for Ribadu in the presidential election of all the ACN controlled states, including Lagos, which voted for Jonathan? Is it not hypocritical to vote for Jonathan in a presidential election only to attack Ribadu for accepting to serve in his administration? Ribadu must have seen the true colors of the ACN and its fraudulent progressive pretensions hence his new move. He has no political future in the chronically ethnic ACN. Ribadu has held himself up as the role model for the new politics of service without bitterness. Personal aggrandizement is certainly not his greatest motivation unlike some people in the opposition attacking him for accepting to serve his country.

Welcome on board Ribadu. Nigerians are looking up to you to make a difference and restore public confidence to public institutions. The NNPC is a good place to start but it shall not be the end. This is wishing you God's speed. At a time others are saying nay, you said yes. That is the power of yes.

The biggest news that has come out of the Jonathan administration lately is not the removal, sorry, reduction in fuel subsidy. It is not the capture of Boko Haram’s mouth piece that is cowardly singing like a canary and spilling the beans. Heck, it is not even showing his police chiefs the exit door for messing up the anti-terrorism war in the escape of the Catholic Church bombing mastermind, Kabiru Sokoto, now reported to have been recaptured. What is it? It is the second coming of retired AIG, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, erstwhile no nonsense anti-graft Czar of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC).

Action they say speak louder than words and Jonathan's action speaks volumes. Here is what Ribadu's appointment as chairman of the investigation panel to expose the innards of NNPC, Nigeria's corrupt energy giant, speaks about President Goodluck Jonathan:

It throws up the president as being large-hearted. Here is a man bringing into his administration one of his most implacable opponents and critics in the last presidential election who, not only refused to congratulate him after his well deserved victory, but went about granting press interviews literally dismissing the election as a monumental fraud despite the findings of both local and international election monitors. Ribadu's appointment shows that the president is beyond party politics; neither a hostage to the past nor of his own party, the PDP, by reaching out to the presidential candidate of a rival political party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and the main opposition party in the country to join his administration. The fact that it was president Jonathan who restored Ribadu to his former rank after he was disrobed by the late President Musa Yar'Adua and cleared the way for his return from self-exile only to be attacked by Ribadu showed that Jonathan has a forgiving spirit and thinks more of the country and his legacy than himself as a person and his political adversaries. He is not the type that goes for settlement of personal scores by repaying what many had considered Ribadu's ingratitude to the president in his attacks. That by the way, is how mature politics should be played.

It shows the president is willing and prepared to bring on board the best materials wherever they may be found to help him implement his transformation agenda. It is the same disposition that informed the appointment of Drs. Okonjo Nweala and Bath Nnaji respectively as his economic and power ministers. One by one, slowly but steadily, the leading lights of President Olusegun Obasanjo administration are trickling in and staging a comeback. I wouldn't be surprised if Ribadu's appointment letter had OBJ's fingerprints all over it. With only three years left for him to deliver his legacy, Jonathan' has every incentive to bring tested hands to midwife his legacy before time runs out on him.

Appointing a man of Ribadu's pedigree into such an important position shows that the president is indeed serious about cleaning the rot in the NNPC and set his administration on a path of probity and accountability, without which his claim to a transformation agenda would be just so much noise and no substance.

On Ribadu's side, it shows a man who has the love of his country close to his heart; a man who is willing to set aside political differences to serve his fatherland in whatever capacity. It is clear to this writer that Ribadu is not attracted to his new job by the lure of the office because it is way below what he was aiming at and even below the height he had attained in public service. And it is not even a permanent position for crying out loud. He is simply interested in serving his country, and his press statement says that much.

In that respect, he is one of a kind. Not for him the vocation of perpetual opposition of any government in power. Not for him the crass partisanship and politics of destruction that has characterized the rudderless and inept Nigerian opposition. And certainly not for him the lure of playing the King of Opposition by virtue of his position as leader and presidential candidate of Nigeria's main opposition party, ACN. Like Jonathan, he rose above partisanship and the loss of election to place the love of country above party and personal ambition. Service is his currency in politics, and honor is his creed.

And for the professional agitators mourning their loss of Ribadu to the Jonathan administration, I would say to them to rise above partisanship and show some patriotism by placing service to country over and above service party or ethnicity. And it is why former US Defense Secretary Mr. Robert Gates, a Republican and former President GW Bush’s appointee, became a holdover for the Democratic President Obama's administration. So also is Ben Bernanke, Chairman of US Federal Reserve Bank, former Utah State governor and Republican presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, who became Obama's Ambassador to China, and many others.

The type of politics of personal destruction, which is the stock in trade mainly of the opposition in Nigeria is, to say the least, unfortunate and deplorable. Turning political opponents into mortal enemies for losing elections is not a mark of political maturity. It is a shame that they are calling a known patriot like Nuhu Ribadu with an unmatched and unblemished record of public service to his country names for accepting to serve in the Jonathan administration. Pathetic. He is not serving Jonathan but his country, not under military, but democratically elected government, and has absolutely no apologies or regrets for doing so. Ribadu has held himself up as the role model for politics of service without bitterness.

Welcome on board Ribadu. Nigerians are looking up to you to make a difference and restore public confidence to public institutions. The NNPC is a good place to start but it shall not be the end. This is wishing you God's speed. At a time others are saying nay, you said yes. That is the power of yes.

Franklin Otorofani is an attorney and public affairs analyst.

mudiagaone@yahoo.com


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