Enough Of This Ribadu Blackmail!

Nigerians are a strange breed of people. The present needless altercation for and against the posting of Nuhu Ribadu, the erstwhile chairman of EFCC proves that nothing would eventually change in the country because her citizens reserve tremendous capacity to allow themselves to be robbed, duped and fooled and combines this with a matchless capacity to take up their oppressors battles. Make no mistake about it, the battle to spin so much horrible propaganda so that Ribadu would retain his job is Olusegun Obasanjo’s job and Ribadu’s triumph through the determined and orchestrated propaganda of his organized spin doctors will only benefit Obasanjo and the colony of economic predators with whom he wrecked this country for eight years and for whom Ribadu has undisguisedly owed his job. To start with, I had never for one day, especially as the dirty and reckless political manipulations that tailspinned into the political charade of April 2007 was bizarrely executed, believed that the select-and-kill and pejorative acts Ribadu is doing amounts to any anti-corruption war. The pervasive nature of corruption in the entire country presently bails me out in this entrenched skepticism. I never believed in the antics of the self-celebrated do-gooders that ringed the Obasanjo misrule and the unmanageable wrecks they left in their bloody trail and the monumental wealth they lifted from that business while we had mere propaganda and placebos as results bear me out. I had never believed that any worthy impression could be made from the loud, noisy and warped self-glorifications that marked Ribadu’s sojourn in EFCC. I never believe that anything could be achieved from a dictated onslaught against political opponents of the very well head of corruption and which leaves out his choice cronies, lap dogs, sires, bed mates, commissioned pastors and subalterns even with overwhelming cases of corruption stalking them like malignant shadows.

But in the midst of these doubts, I would not fail to doff my hat for the dexterity of Ribadu and his well-fed circuit of blackmailers to manipulate the sentiments of Nigerians to give him favorable ratings and build in him the hope that someday, very soon, corruption would cease to happen in Nigeria in the most classical case of constructing a fool’s paradise that has so far failed to trap me. Ribadu has been able to do this with his profound passion for publicity, rabid deployment of blackmail and his maniacal cavorting of the limelight in ways that have never been seen in Nigeria and in the history of anti-corruption crusades anywhere in the world. The impression is that blackmail and a self-fending acumen can suffice for a war on graft and we are obliging Ribadu to the extent that we are donning him in a toga of indispensability. Again, he drew generously from the average Nigerian’s frustration with the unabating nature of corruption and faint hope that something must be done. In this, Nigerians scanned desperately for mere pittance to celebrate and Ribadu generously tapped into this to transmute into a frankesitan, an un-tame able monster that was far weighted above the law! He knew what he wanted so he stole in so many subjective and value-laden definitions of anti-corruption that one would be tempted to define corruption as an act committed by any other person than Olusegun Obasanjo and his menservants.

This fooled him and his well-recruited propagandists to believe he was the measuring rod to what is right and wrong and for him was sewn a robe large enough to contain the country’s choice institutions and laws; a robe broad enough to contain a thick poach of somersaults, double-talk, grandstanding, reversals and tolerance to indiscretions that suited his warped mindset. A robe wide enough to tolerate his putative insouciance to anything or anybody Obasanjo does not like, to trample on the laws and pre-ordinances with impetuous impunity and mask such brazen recklessness as a fight against corruption- fight against corruption indeed. This robe is being even widened to include the many acts of corruption that are now trailing him as he prepares for life in sheol after gloriously serving Obasanjo and his co-raiders. Armed with this borderless fiat, Ribadu treated the anti-corruption war to the most horrible, unseemly and abhorrent manipulations. He swerved from double speak to equivocation. He thrived in boundless illegality and outlawry and deigned himself a god that came in the likeness of man. A confounded nation watched the countless somersaults, self-reversals, cancellations and wavering pronouncements that attended his anti-corruption battles. He employed brazen illegal means and blackmail to get governors that refuse to dance to Obasanjo’s wild political music out of office. Adopting a standard format that Olusegun Obasanjo was spotless, he went about foraging for his enemies to kill and desperately shoveling his many sins in a grave of dubiety and fraud that will certainly be exhumed once this choice attack dog is eased out of the way. As the worst pests recklessly ravaged this country under Obasanjo, Ribadu went on an invention spree to explain away their untouchability. When Obasanjo was buying shares in companies, he said that amounted to conflict of interest. When Obasanjo’s yet-unexplained stupendous wealth was assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians and when his corruptive tendencies swarmed all sectors of the country’s life, Ribadu proclaimed him a saint that was incapable of sinning.

He never stopped there as he exported his hocus pocus to international spheres when he made a very embarrassing case for the retention of a World Bank President, caught in an act of corruption on the reasoning that he was favorably disposed to the political hatchet job he was doing for Obasanjo in Nigeria. When Obasanjo’s many hirelings were caught dipping their hands in the cookies’ jar, Ribadu would quickly rush in with exoneration, even when such was unsolicited. Thus, Andy Uba, Bode George, the South West PDP governors, Anenih, Mantu, Nasir El Rufai, and the closet fawners and courtiers that made a great feast of the Obasanjo presidency became untouchable czars of a new order that lacked definition and standard. Today, so many scandals dog Obasanjo, his immediate family members, Femi Fani Kayode, El Rufai, and so many attack dogs of that era yet not a whimpering had been heard from Ribadu except occasionally mouthing platitudes against former governors, as a way of remaining relevant after failing woefully to prosecute them several months after they left power.

Even when Saminu Turaki recently confessed that Obasanjo and his cronies like Andy Uba made him to devote N10billion of his state fund to the third term, Ribadu never allowed him to finish before he dismissed the allegation even without a minimum scrutiny. When the nation rose up to protest the last gale of asset stripping that saw our refineries and choice national assets handed over to Obasanjo’s cahoots, Ribadu stuck out his neck, in deference to his cultic service to Obasanjo, to tell a distraught nation that there was nothing wrong with such corrupt sale of our national patrimonies to favoured cronies. We are today witnessing the monumental financial scandals that made Obasanjo’s regime, where Ribadu was a choice knight, the most reckless and most corrupt in the history of the country, yet we had a saint that came from the world yonder to save us from ourselves presiding over an anti-corruption war. Can we go on with the whimsical donation of oil blocs to presidential courtiers, the forcing of political opponents to give up their equity to choice hirelings, the bizarre Iyabo-Obasanjo 419 case that cost the country its power plants? It would be interesting to know what the thinking of the only man that can fight corruption in Nigeria, a great friend and companion to the perpetrators of these hefty crimes, under whose nose these unseemly deals were brokered, was on these. On governors that sing Obasanjo’s chorus, Ribadu waxed deaf and dumb to their indiscretions and waited in tow to rebuff any allegation against Obasanjo, even when the later had vacated Aso Rock. When the PTDF scandal broke, Ribadu did everything to screen off Obasanjo, who was found to have engaged in the most deadly raid of that fund and presented a wishy washy report that was aimed at arriving at a pre-determined result of Atiku’s culpability. With Obasanjo, Ribadu excelled in covering the many malfeasance and putrid mess the man committed so much so that most Nigerians doubted where his loyalty was located; between Nigeria and Obasanjo. He left no one in doubt where it was when the then Ken Nnamani-led Senate wanted to extricate him from the obnoxious apron string of Obasanjo. In his characteristic brash manner, he told the National Assembly that he is only answerable to the President and not the National Assembly. It is strange that he is anchoring his present blackmail, in an effort to retain his job, on the illegality of the President to remove him from a job that was created solely for him. What a crime fighter!

Because Obasanjo and cronies presided over the sordid mess the oil ministry, NEPA, NPA, the Railway, NITEL, the ministries and other federal parastatals became; the very institutions the World Bank identified as perpetrating over 85 per cent of the nation’s entire corruption index, Ribadu never deigned it appropriate to subject these to the barest scrutiny except where they point to the indictment of Obasanjo’s political enemies. In this quaint fight against corruption, the scourge mutated into an octopus that today ravages all sectors of the country’s polity. Caught in the vortex of his double-facedness, Ribadu now located corruption in the activities of the state governments as this affords him the leverage to pick all those governors that expressed their manhood as the disguised dictatorship of Obasanjo lasted. The federal government under Obasanjo, which appropriated over 53 per cent of all federal allocations and totally controlled a much larger unaccounted revenue from sundry sources, became a saintly enclave that was incapable of sinning.

Then, his decision to become the hunting dog to the PDP en route the macabre charade of April provided a horrible topping that would have earned Ribadu the boot. He worked to the satisfaction of his master who primed him for higher roles and to prepare him for that, he was rewarded with unearned promotions. Like Nasir El Rufai, Dora Akunyili, Femi Fani Kayode, Akin Osuntokun, and the many other courtiers who were employed for mean roles during this era, he was urged to prepare himself for loftier roles. The rest is now history and the failure of that dream meant that Ribadu must do so much to retain his job, which he had been doing by recruiting a retinue of press hands, contractors and lawyers to fight his battle on the jejune and watery propaganda that he is welded to the EFCC and that he is the only Nigerian that can fight corruption, even with the sordid warts that he drags around! He used this tactics any time his many scruples were called to question. We were almost being goaded to accept the farce that if Ribadu ceases to be, Nigeria will cease to be. The most damning of blackmails was employed to achieve this end and the Nigerian crisis Obasanjo created came in handy to drive this fallacy home. Employing very contradictory logics and countless illogic, Ribadu made himself Nigeria and caused his many propagandists to threaten fire and brimstone anytime he was demanded to reign in his many scruples.

This made Ribadu to loose the opportunity to avoid being thrown out the way he was even when it was obvious that pouring new wine in old wineskin, which his retention would have amounted to, is not the best way to advance a fight. As his end at EFCC dawned, he became more desperate to blackmail and please at the same time but his tactics failed him at the very last moment. Methinks that even if Ribadu was sincere in what he did under Obasanjo, he needs to leave for someone else to try. Now that tales of sudden house gifts in Dubai and buying up of government houses in Abuja is spewing out, we need to examine the corruption fighter to know we have not handed the destiny of our country to a besotted hatchet dog that cannot resist the urge to dip his hands into the till. We need to open up the EFCC under Ribadu to ensure that crooks have not taken us for a ride while some people that should know, try to make him a tin god. Alozie Ogugbuaja is there if we need an incorruptible police officer to bank on. We certainly don’t need anything near Ribadu because he had succeeded in compromising our fight against corruption and our perception of what is right or wrong.

Written by
Peter Claver Oparah
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