The Truth Has To Be Said Always

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed that’s all who ever have. – Margaret Mead

Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. Albert Einstein

The two quotes above are favourites of mine among many others, at least as far as the emancipation of my people, Nigerians, are concerned. They are part of my email signature. And I fully believe in those words of wise people who have helped shaped the world we live in.

When writers write, it is invariably because they are taking positions on issues that they feel they must, therefore there is an element of bias in everything they write about. At the same time, it is in their subconscious that they are appealing to at least two different views – one for and one against. This is a fact of life. Some people will agree with your thinking and position and some will not. This is an occupational hazard of sorts. This is further compounded by the reality that some people will be venomous and abusive in their condemnation of the position you have taken. At the most dangerous, this can even lead to threats on your life – again, this is typically Nigerian politics and mentality.

It is not uncommon, as most fellow writers will agree, to find their email inboxes full of negative feedbacks, as well as rejoinders casting aspersions on their sincerity of purpose, intentions and positions, thus having to defend oneself every time. In some cases, wiser writers will refrain from doing this, because they do no want to get entangled with pettiness, name-calling, mud-slinging and other nastiness associated with people always looking for a fight.

As Lord Winston Churchill was quoted to have said, “When arguments are prolonged and well thought out, men of mediocrity and of low intelligence are apt to be rude”. This is very true indeed.

During the course of writing by many writers on issues affecting Nigeria, especially now that technology has graced us with the Internet, and there are many publications on line, what we have seen are at variance with reality and normalcy. A lot of the writers are used to this. When we write on issues we feel should be considered to take Nigeria forward, what we get is negative feedback from people who purport to be more patriotic than us. Fortunately for me, I get more positive feedback than negative, and these I really appreciate, since such encourages me and let me know that I am not always writing nonsense.

Some will write rejoinders or comments to say what you have written are not new. Sure, corruption is not new in Nigeria or indeed in the world, but should we, because of this fact stop writing about it? Corruption has been in the world since the beginning of time, and it will never go away, but some countries in the world have managed to keep it to a manageable level, not totally eliminating it, because they recognise the futility in taking this course of eliminative action, and thereby progressing as a nation. It is also not new that there are so many things wrong with our society as it is currently operated.

It is however very discouraging when people assume that everybody who writes about Nigerian issues are either part of the problem, are insincere or are banging their heads against the wall, because they feel Nigeria can never change. It is also wrong to assume that every writer is writing because of their own selfish interest. Genuine and open-minded patriots should be able to discern from the articles, those writers who are answering to a script or faceless sponsorship and those who are desperate to see a change in Nigeria through their writing and taking sincere positions on issues affecting the lives of Nigerians all over the world, not just Nigeria.

I am not in doubt that many of the articles I have written have struck very hard on some eyes or ears and sensibilities. This is the way it is intended to impact, because I am not in any other position right now to force change on Nigeria. One needs to be in a position to do that, politically or otherwise, which in itself means absolutely nothing nor does it assure a panacea to all the problems we have. We can only try our genuine best. Many have disagreed with my positions on several issues, and kindly offered alternatives or advice about facts, figures and actions. Yet, there are others who have not taken kindly to my positions on issues only because they felt uncomfortable with the position, or are beclouded by partisanship. All well and good, as long as they do not rain vituperations and insults on me. My take on this is that criticism is good, but it must be constructive and reflect a balanced view. Our people who have access to the Internet are too impatient and fail to carefully take a lot of things into consideration before mounting attacks on writers.

I am tempted to pay tribute to many eminent writers whose articles I have read and found to be very hard-hitting and constructive, and have addressed issues afflicting our dear country, Nigeria, but mere space precludes my mentioning their names. Some are paid journalists and some are not. Suffice it to say, some of these writers constitute the best brains and articulation that I have ever come across and they continue to be an inspiration to many Nigerians. Of course, you may not always agree with them, but they always make their points succinctly and sincerely. Kudos. For readers of our articles, please bear in mind that it is not easy to sit down and write about any topic. Some of us are not paid for these articles which we put in a lot of effort to research and write up. I write out of interest and the love of my country and concern for my people. And sometimes, out of frustration for things I am not in a position to change or can change. If at all I have an ulterior motive, that motive is to ensure that I and my family return to live in a better Nigeria as soon as possible, and ensure others around me are in a position to do the same. I do not ask to get paid or recognised by any media for publishing my articles. I just love writing on issues and as long as I get such articles across to readers who appreciate what I have written, whether positively or negatively, then I am satisfied with myself and my conscience.

What many people do not realise is that because we keep writing on a daily basis about the ills of Nigeria on the pages of newspapers and on the world-wide web, we are gradually getting across to our leaders and politicians. Believe me, several of them are reading our articles and are heeding the subtle and not-so subtle warnings being expressed in the writings. I may have made several enemies with my writings; I don’t really care, because I believe in writing and saying the truth. I do not pander to our politicians when it comes to survival and the progress of my people and myself, for that matter. Nevertheless, gratifyingly, I know I have also made more friends than enemies. These are the people who stand on the side of truth and progress.

I used to worry that despite the thousands of articles that we publish, we are not getting through to these minority clique of people holding a whole nation of 120 or 150 million people ransom because of their greed and selfishness. I now know otherwise, although the results will not immediately manifest themselves, because the forces of darkness and retrogression are very powerful and working to maintain their deadly stranglehold on the nation. Mind you, people of conscience, journalists, writers, authors, poets, intelligentsia, academicians, etc have been doing all they can to take Nigeria out of the doldrums for decades without much visible results, but we must not relent on our efforts. As I have written before, only the people of Nigeria can save Nigeria. Our destiny is in our own hands and we are of course the architect of our own destiny, so they say.

The truth has to be said always, no matter whose ox is gored. That is how we should take the matter of Nigeria and tackle its ills. The perpetrator of its ills have to be exposed all the time we have access to the facts, engaging in constructive criticism and debate and analysed conclusively to offer solutions. Forget about my name, religion or tribe, read and digest the content and ask yourself if I am telling the truth or addressing the point. That way, we can move forward without fear of any man. Only God do we fear.

Readers have been asking me why I have not written anything about the EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu issue. My reply is that it is no use. Not because the Presidency will do what it wants to do, but because of the many things I have read and other unconfirmed rumours flying all over the place. You can see it will be very difficult to take a strong position when you have statements like the following:

As a policeman, still attached to the Nigeria Police, he could be sent on any course by his superiors.

Chairman of the EFCC is only answerable to the President.

Ribadu is being removed due to the intrigues of several ex-Governors facing investigation or prosecution.

Ribadu is being removed to pave way for the probe of ex-President Obasanjo’s administration.

Ex-Governor Ibori and Attorney-General Aondoaaka are personally behind the plot to remove Ribadu.

Some ex-Northern Governors are particularly involved in his removal.

Ribadu was actually recommended for the job by ex-VP Atiku, so he has been very ungrateful to Atiku, biting the finger that fed him.

Ribadu was actually recommended for the job by ex-Attorney-General Kanu Agabi.

(These last two statements are conflicting, aren’t they? That is what I mean)

And then just a few of the titles of many Internet rejoinders and comments:

“Ribadu exit is a blessing”; “COLONEL UMAR ON RIBADU”; “Ribadu and Umar”;

“Ride on Ribadu! Nigerians everywhere will support you”; “Why They Are After Me Nuhu Ribadu”; “Maybe We All Need To Go To NIPSS in Kuru, Jos”;

“How Nuhu Ribadu Let Nigeria Down”; “Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On the Removal of EFCC Chairman”

“Maurice Iwu should go to Kuru not Ribadu”; “Ribadu can go to hell”

“Goodbye Ribadu, Good Riddance”; “A bungled move to shunt Ribadu aside makes his position stronger”; “Nuhu Ribadu; The anti-corruption cop who cowered”

“Ribadu’s Exit Controversy – Much Ado About nothing”

Sadly, what we find on the reports and hundreds of articles written about this issue are half-truths and rumours, support for and against Ribadu. This is normal; so what else can I say? The Internet and newspapers these days have allowed us very healthy discourse exposing our biases and variant positions on issues. The man himself has gone to see the President and he came out smiling, not grim-faced like a man facing a guillotine. The Presidency and the Inspector General of Police were reticent in telling us the real reason behind their actions, and truth be said, unless you are in the inner caucus of the powers that be in Nigeria today, it is unlikely that we shall ever know the truth, like many other intrigues in Nigeria of today. All we pedestrians have to rely on are rumours and conjectures. And on the back of this new development are suspicious statements and acts of officials, especially, from Attorney General Aondoaaka, that seem to convey the impression that the Yar’Adua Administration may no longer be forthcoming and enthusiastic on the war against corruption.

One thing for sure is that Ribadu has contributed to, if not initiated, a massive improvement in Nigerians’ perspective of their leaders and corruption. It has been a Herculean task. His life has been under threat almost all the time from corrupt politicians, 419ers and drug barons. He must be recognised and commended by ordinary Nigerians for that, whether he was used by Obasanjo or not to pursue political enemies. He has shown conclusively that corruption can be tackled effectively in Nigeria, even if some of the ways he went about doing this is not acceptable to people who are fond of bringing up the “rule of law” issue and with many detractors placing lots of barriers in his way. His commitment to this cause has been recognised internationally too. The timing of his posting is also very wrong.

On the other hand, in a country of 120 – 150 million people, it is hard to say that Nuhu Ribadu is the only one who can do the job. In fact it is preposterous and utterly denigrating to assume that. I have no doubt in my mind that probably hundreds of people can do that job even more effectively and efficiently than Mr Ribadu, but this fact, is a mere speculation and assumption at the moment. He has laid down the gauntlet. The problem is, if we do not have the right replacement, which will even do better than him, then we are again in trouble and God save Nigerians. We got it right first time with Ribadu, no matter what his imperfections, mistakes, excesses and overzealousness are, afterall nobody is perfect, and we must get it right the second time.

In my own view, it is the way in which the whole thing has been handled that is my concern. On the face of it, this ordinarily should not attract the public interest, or suspicion, or condemnation that Ribadu is being sent on a course. After all, AIG Ribadu is a career officer who, by the rules explained by his professional boss, qualifies to proceed on a course to enhance his career. And as the Editorial of The Guardian Newspaper (Tuesday 08 January 2008) posited “He is, in his present duty post, not just another senior cop; and, in the peculiar circumstances of our corruption-ridden country, he is not just another public officer heading just another government agency. No. Nuhu Ribadu, as the government’s anti-financial and economic crimes point man is, by public perception, Nigeria‘s No. 1 warrior against corruption in our country. Furthermore, he heads the nation’s most challenged, and, we dare say, most active, anti-corruption agency for the simple reason that the financial and economic dimension – and damage – of corruption in this land supersedes by far other effects of this evil”.

Furthermore, The Guardian said, “The widespread interest in the removal of the pioneering EFCC boss from ‘active duty’ clearly shows that Nigerians desire a persistent, effective war against corruption. Second, it appears that, backed by political will, an agency of government can deliver on its mandate. The EFCC under Ribadu has proved that this can be done.

Third, corruption in all its manifestations and the nature and methods to confront it, entail great personal risks. Mallam Ribadu and his courageous team have, in truth gored the oxen of many men of power, means and influence. Did they make some mistakes? Certainly, yes. Were they overzealous? Sometimes. But the bottom line: Ribadu and his team achieved results unprecedented in the history of the fight against corruption in this country”.
Like him or hate him, the majority of Nigerians have spoken for him. All those corrupt ex-Governors must be having a laugh right now. And even the current ones whose times for accountability are yet to come after their tenure.

I do not need to comment anymore on this issue. All has been said.

Let us always stand on the side of truth.

Written by
Akintokunbo A Adejumo
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1 comment
  • Toks,

    May I use this medium to commend you on both your past and present articles. Never for once, have I any course to disagree with your views on any of the ones which have been opportuned to read. Is it about the “People in Disporal”, “The Garrison Commander of politics in Ibadan” or the “Rejuvenating Nigeria’s Collapsed educational system” Dont forget majority of those who are well off prefer to lavish & spray money at Owanbe than to give something positive back to the community that made them.

    My brother the truth has to be said always.

    I give Kudos to you on all the points raised and i must say am well impressed about the way you dealt with the issue on Ribadu. It is true that everybody is entitle to their own opinion, but one thing for sure is. Never in the history of Nigeria on curruption has anybody achieved what RIBADU has achieved.

    The records are there and who cares whether this people are Political enemies, the bottom line is if they are found to be guilty of siphonig the states money then they should face the music.