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IBB: Between Nuhu Ribadu and Femi Fani-Kayode




Paul Mamza




March 9, 2005       

Nigeria is a crux of insomnia because serious national issues are sometimes treated with insidiousness. Littered by residual apocryphal lurch, resolves for character moulding becomes a twisting whittle for upbraid. Nothing illustrates this, than the IBB’s attempted travails in politics under the Obasanjo’s era. Searching for possibilities of constrictions against threatening power-blocs the government deploys various means available to out – stage what remains of this threat. The President himself would not say it but the apparatus representing him have echoed it and echoes they say are good signals. What is sometimes amusing is the lack  luster mannerism of approach at targeting the target. I respect Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu for his past records of insurmountable professionalism; more so, in a hard-knell of security detailing which requires precision of conduct and accuracy of evidence- building. Nuhu Ribadu as National Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Chief Dora Akunyili as Director – General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would make rational feat in combating financial crimes and sub-standard supplies under an administration of rationality where such organs are given full independence or unalloyed moral support of the government of the day.

But when Nuhu Ribadu was quoted by the Press in an event under the aegis of Patriots Club of Nigeria in far away Johannesburg, South Africa that “He, IBB, is so crafty. Nowhere will you see his name as the owner of a property or the holder of a bank account abroad. But that does not mean he will escape. Never, never again in Nigeria will someone like him come to rule the country. It is too late for people like that. The world has changed”, I felt very sad, for two reasons: one; he has diffused the earlier wide-scale skepticism about the alleged deals of IBB, whose burden proof lie in his hands and two; he has shown an outrageous interest in nailing a perceived enemy through partisanship by concluding that IBB or someone like him will never, never rule Nigeria again without practically saying why, at least from his admittance of lack of proof.

Ribadu’s assertions raise a lot of unresolved answers, infact by omission draw unnecessary sympathy even for the convicted: a tale of putting the cart before the horse. One may say that it is not news to assert that a Nigerian leader has stolen money, what will make news is a Nigerian leader that has not stolen public funds. That an intellectual judgment is required to ascertain the frightening wheezes that has a missing link in the deliberate confusions been synthesized to divert attentions from present realities of moral justifications. Even the present operators attest to the fact that presently the situation can be worse that before. However, politics in Nigeria, unlike what Ribadu wants us to believe is not about rationality at least from the adopted misdirected issues of swooping leadership indifference. Like the present IBB contentions, it was late Alhaji Wada Nas while reminding Ribadu on the need to tender a deserve of respect for Chief Joshua Dariye of Plateau state, went beyond borders that whether Nuhu Ribadu will follow President Obasanjo to Otta farm after his tenure in Aso Rock, because late Nas felt of certain briskly disposed approaches that are incomprehensible and personalised.

The contradictions in Ribadu’s statement not withstanding, the ammunitions that provides power in the contemporary power game is not rationalisations but money and rigging ability as exemplified by the 2003 elections. Unless the situation changes, by the present Nigerian standard, IBB is the most powerful man in the Nigerian political waters, it does not matter whether one likes his face or not. On the issue of indictment of IBB, it is either the Presidency felt an attempt along that line will force the falling of rumbles in the ranks of power contentions or that IBB knows something about Nigeria that Nigerians don’t know, in that case turning at the end as a hero of a sort.

Whatever, Ribadu recent statement will raise more posers to the genuinety of government claims now and in the past, if at all the statement is correctly reported as said. An affirmative approval will uphold what Chief Femi  Fani-Kayode said earlier on, that he had the approval of the content of his letter of the presidency in responding to Colonel Abubakar Umar’s letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo on the state of the nation. Like Ribadu, Kayode said in his letter that “Abubakar Umar is nothing but a fake: an un-motivated and destructive fake. Again he is a man who is desperately seeking relevance and cannot get over the fact that he and the small group (apparently referring to IBB group) that he holds brief for, will NEVER SMELL POWER IN NIGERIA AGAIN (emphasis mine)”. Both Ribadu’s recent submissions and Fani - Kayode’s past assertions are correlative and similar in rhyme except that it was tendered at different occasions of circumstances. The only clear difference is that while Fani-Kayode’s was uncouth, crude and gutter – imposed, Ribadu’s was tactless form of refined violence in a political search for an adversary. If wishes are horses Ribadu’s and Fani-Kayode’s sent errands can work, but politics is not simple arithmetic. When Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (then in the National Assembly) disclosed an outrageous colossus sum as his war chest to out-stage the then Alhaji Mala Kachalla of Borno state as Governor, Governor Kachalla even with incumbency factor of power and control of resources had his entire body sandwiched in the sand dunes of defeat even before the main event and had to wag his head into an alien party that was surely linked to lack of success and the Senator was already sitting on the throne before the official announcement. Similarly in Kwara state, Chief Olusola Saraki had barricaded his erstwhile pal in politics, Alhaji Mohammed Lawal in a tense fight of effecting ‘up Lawal’ to ‘down Lawal’ in a muscle-pulling contest which saw his own son Chief Bukola Saraki emerging as Chief executive of Kwara state and so on. If these antecedents are anything to follow, then Nuhu Ribadu and Femi Fani-Kayode should just hold their nerves for politics to take its’ course but pray this time that a genuine fashion will be sought which all indices had consistently shown that Nigeria state is not a vast rationality Island neither is it an umpire of ubiquitous interventions. Except IBB himself provide a truce to the already truculent Inkling coming out prematurely and with the massive international support he enjoys, I already foresaw his presence around Aso Rock – the seat of power. This is a reality that Nigerians must live with for now. Nuhu Ribadu and Femi Fani-Kayode should stop running guns along the itinerary of gun running. If the option of politics failed, IBB had an option of politicizing politics and the present day politicians know it.  Just watch out.

The Mild Drama at Wadata Plaza

2nd March, 2005 meeting of National Executive Council of P.D.P ushered in Chief Tony Anenih as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of party and Colonel Ahmadu Ali as the National Chairman. Ali promised to bring his experience as a medical doctor to “diagnose the problems of the party before prescriptions”. Good talks. The President while congratulating Ali said, “he is popularly known as Ali-Must-Go but now Ali has come and Ali must stay”. The inauguration came as a confirmation to earlier protest by a group within the P.D.P that the P.D.P is planning to militarised its leadership. Action speaks louder than voice. Welcome on board, Colonel Ahmadu Ali.


Mamza writes from Ahmadu Bello  University, Zaria 


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