`Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.’ – Daniel O’Connell.
“Governor Tinubu’s criminal case is of international dimension.” -Nuhu Ribadu, EFCC Chairman quoted by Vanguard of September 28, 2006.
“…..Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not escape justice but would be made to face the full wrath of the law.” -Nuhu Ribadu, EFCC Chairman in February 2007
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu in his hey days as the all powerful chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was all in all. During his tenure in that position, for the Nigerian politicians, the fear of Ribadu was the beginning of wisdom. No one was beyond his reach except the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. His net was big, strong and wide as it reached all corners and crannies of Nigeria. Any politician that still had any ambition, or was praying to be able to spend stolen wealth in peace had to contend with Ribadu, the precocious Mallam and law enforcement officer from the hills of Adamawa. The Advance Fee Fraud exponents in and out of the government slept with only one eyes closed.
In the public space, Ribadu’s reputation ricocheted as it soared towards the heavens. He became very popular among the press. He became beloved by Nigerians. International community courted him. He was everybody’s man and man to everybody. He developed a quantum of credibility. He made people believe that Nigeria could be cleansed. He gave hopes to a new generation. He created inspiration for the possibilities of a new Nigeria, that given the right person, things could be done bravely, courageously and correctly. This is despite the fact that some believed he was acting out the Obasanjo’s script to hound and haunt his (Obasanjo’s) political enemies. But Nigerians saw beyond that. They had confidence in Ribadu and what he was trying to do.
Then Ribadu betrayed Nigeria and Nigerians. While it could be conveniently posited that those who steal from the commonwealth are traitors to the Nigerian people, a group to which Bola Tinubu reportedly belongs, the innate weakness of Ribadu made him a prey to be feasted upon by the wolf. In this treacherous face-off between Tinubu and Ribadu, none of them is innocent. They are both complicit and guilty of treachery, not just against themselves, but against the country and its peoples. Tinubu had a public trust and he betrayed it with his now universally acknowledged chronic acquisitive tendencies. Ribadu also had a public trust to bring the likes of Tinubu to account, he betrayed it by failing to do so. It set the pace for a vicious circle of treachery by both Tinubu and Ribadu, first against Nigeria and its peoples and then against each other. And so the echoes of treachery, elicited a macabre cacophony to which Tinubu and Ribadu have provided and are still providing a macabre dance.
When Ribadu told the world that Tinubu’s crimes are of “international dimension” in 2006, he was telling Nigerians to tarry a little and that they would soon be “briefed” of the details. In February 2007, Ribadu told Nigerians “…..Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not escape justice but would be made to face the full wrath of the law.” But the details never came. The reason for this became obvious to all when Ribadu emerged as a staunch member of the Tinubu owned Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN). How Ribadu allowed himself to be hoodwinked by someone like Tinubu could be mystifying but should not be a mystery to those who understood the human nature. What this underscored is that Ribadu, a natural opportunist has fallen prey to a born-again opportunist in Tinubu. This monumental backsliding by Ribadu to congregating with Tinubu, whom he had earlier described to Nigerians as having been involved in international corruption is the first in the series of going back to his vomit.
The first leg of Ribadu’s treachery to Nigeria was in not pursuing Tinubu’s case, among others, to its conclusion. It was rumoured that he actually handed all the files of the criminal investigation to Tinubu. The veracity of this claim could not be established. But even then, if this rumour was not true as we assumed, the attitudes of both Tinubu and Ribadu lent credence to it. Objective Nigerians were flabbergasted to see Tinubu and Ribadu becoming “good buddies” as American would call it. Tinubu became Ribadu’s man and Ribadu became Tinubu’s man. Wherever you see Tinubu, Ribadu would be in tow. The ACN propaganda machine picked up the gauntlet from there. They praised Ribadu as a ‘patriot’ who gave everything to clean up Nigeria. From within the ranks of Tinubu’s machine, a book was even commissioned to record for History the exploits of the anti – corruption czar.
Before Nigerians knew what was going on, Ribadu became the presidential flag bearer of the ACN. Then came the second leg of Tinubu’s own treachery against Nigeria and Ribadu, his (Tinubu’s) first act of treachery being the reported looting of Lagos State treasury. At a reported 2.00am meeting in Lagos with President Goodluck Jonathan, Tinubu allegedly reached an agreement to stab Ribadu’s back in the 2011 presidential elections. The result of that alleged deal was reflected in the votes received by President Jonathan- 2,718,417 while Ribadu got 1,369,943 in entire Southwest. Jonathan’s votes almost doubled that of Ribadu whose party’s stronghold was the Southwest. Ribadu got to know of this betrayal and took it with equanimity and aplomb.
Battered, bloodied and bamboozled by Tinubu’s perfidy, Ribadu took to international advocacy against corruption to occupy himself and got busy. Wandering from one country’s capital to the other, he savoured the little credibility left of his reputation, reveling in the international goodwill. He eventually got broke, tired and abandoned. Flustered, fluffy but not finished, he toddled tipsily to Nigeria and got rescued by Jonathan who gave him an assignment to lead the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force Committee. It was under the supervision of iron lady of corruption, Madam Diezani Alison- Madueke. His acceptance of this task shocked a lot of Nigerians who did not know the true state and conditions of Ribadu.
Ribadu himself had no qualms about accepting the job being a card carrying member of ACN then. He had been put in that condition of anomie by the antics of Tinubu and his choristers through treachery. At that point, Tinubu had used him up and dumped him. He had become an important nobody in the set up of the party which has now metamorphosed into APC. Now, Jonathan was giving him a lifeline and he had no choice but to accept. At this point, principle meant nothing anymore. Though, not that it meant anything before then, otherwise, he would not have fallen prey to the Tinubu wolves pack and allowed himself to be mercilessly feasted upon to the point that there was no bone left of his crumpled credibility. He took the job and did it creditably. At least, that was the public assessment of it, even if he was eventually rubbished as a result of his report that stepped on some toes in the Federal Government that gave out the job to him in the first place.
Tinubu and his gang of “holier than thou” hypocrites in the APC did not like that Ribadu took the job. But they could not make any real noise about it since they had abandoned him in the first place. Some of them in the APC felt that Ribadu needed a job and “had to survive.” But Ribadu became more and more isolated by the Boudillon clique on his return from that assignment. Ribadu stoically went about his “misfortunes” quietly, pretending to be “part of the crowd” in the APC. And all of a sudden, Nyako, who had recently joined the ranks of APC from the PDP was going to be impeached. He had to be saved. APC leadership could not send Abubakar Atiku the former Vice – President who is from Adamawa to save one of their own. It was suggested that he had no clout in that state to do such an assignment. The APC leadership had to turn to Ribadu who also could not stop the train of impeachment.
Ribadu’s experience in Adamawa was reminiscent of that of Dick Cheney in the year 2000AD. Cheney was appointed the head of committee to search for the Vice – Presidential candidate for George W. Bush but ended up “finding” himself. Ribadu was sent to save Nyako’s governorship. But he was made to believe that he too could be governor. The PDP pressured him and encouraged him to “cross carpet.” He did not have any qualms about taking the opportunity as a natural opportunist, after all he has been betrayed, battered, bloodied, bamboozled and abandoned by Tinubu, the born-again opportunist and his gang in the APC before. As soon as it became public that he has dumped the APC for PDP, all hell was let loose as the “once upon a time” darling of the APC becomes a villain to be mercilessly but hypocritically vilified. And so the echoes of treachery ring on.