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
Some will write rejoinders or comments to say what you have written are not new. Sure, corruption is not new in
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
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
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,
What many people do not realise is that because we keep writing on a daily basis about the ills of
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
The truth has to be said always, no matter whose ox is gored. That is how we should take the matter of
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
“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
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
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,
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.