My Fear For Nuhu Ribadu


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My Fear For Nuhu Ribadu




Abdallah Shaibu




November 5, 2006



The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is in the eye of the storm for his dual role in the fight against corruption by the Obasanjo administration. Obasanjo is not believed to be sincere in his war against corruption. This has sometimes put Nuhu Ribadu between the Devil and the Red Sea. State’s institutions are being used to witch-hunt perceived enemies. There are ample of proofs to support this assertion, but this does not come within the ambit of this discussion.

Nuhu Ribadu who would not pause at the slightest opportunity to label other people as corrupt, has not been able to see any trace of corruption in President Obasanjo or his close associates. In fact, he defends Obasanjo on allegation of corruption whenever he has the chance to do so. On one occasion that I can not remember vividly, Ribadu stated in very clear terms that President Obasanjo is not corrupt. It is difficult to accept Nuhu’s verdict on Obasanjo since he has not investigated him. Even if he has, the verdict would still be prone to contention because Nuhu and his Commission can not be an impartial umpire.
President Obasanjo is bundled with series of corruption charges that he has not reasonably defended. His agent, i.e. Nuhu Ribadu should throw more light on these issues to exonerate Obasanjo. Some of the recurring allegations against Obasanjo are, among others, the following. Who owns Ajaokuta Steel Mills, Jos Steel Rolling Mills, Delta Steel Complex and National Iron Ore Mining Company Itakpe? Who bought out the shares of Akeem Bello-Osagie thereby becoming the largest shareholder in United Bank for Africa? Who was the largest shareholder in Zenith Bank and First Interstate Bank before the merger into Unity Bank? Who is the owner of Obanaja Cement factory?
Who owns majority shares in Virgin Nigeria? Why does the airline enjoy special facilities at the international wing of our airports at a pittance? Why does Virgin Nigeria not pay both parking and landing fees and at the same time purchase aviation fuel at a discount? Who are the true owners of Arik Air? Why was the bidding for the assets of the comatose Nigeria Airways not transparent?
Who are the true owners of Transcorp? What is President Obasanjo’s level of commitment in the multi-national corporation? Why was NITEL given to Transcorp at the sum of $750 million when Globacom bidded $1.2 billion for the same property? What about Eleme Petrochemicals and Osogbo Machine Tools?
What is the source of fund used to rehabilitate Obasanjo’s farm that now rake in N30 million per month when the farm has been lying fallow prior to the 1999 election that brought in Obasanjo as President? What is the source of funds for his farm investments in the six states of the Federation? How did Obasanjo acquire the Beach Land Estate in Lagos?
Is it ethical for a sitting President to launch his library pet project cajoling government contractors and government parastatals to donate into the fund?
What deal does President Obasanjo have with the owners of Mittal of India that led to the hurried manner in which Oil Block 246 was granted to the Indian conglomerate?
Since Nuhu Ribadu has been holding briefs for the President, he can as well provide answers to the afore-mentioned questions to clear his principal’s name from allegations of corruption.
According to Nuhu Ribadu, he is not only hated by corrupt Nigerians which his Commission purports to fight but also by his kinsmen. He eluded to this fact in the recent interview he, along with Nasir el-Rufai, granted The Nation newspaper. We all know that there is no hiding place for a golden fish. The minimum expectation is that since Ribadu is hated by everyone even by his own kinsmen, he should find succor in Obasanjo on whose back he rides to unleash terror on innocent citizens. That is the crux of the matter, and it forms the basis of my fear for Nuhu Ribadu.
President Obasanjo is well known for his use-and-dump-attitude. He can sacrifice anyone at the slightest chance no matter how valuable that person had been to him. T Y Danjma, Tafa Balogun, Fola Adeola, Otunba Fasawe, Sunday Awoniyi, Solomon Lar, Atiku Abubakar, Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, Marc Wabara, Late Sunday Afolabi etc were all in the good books of Mr. President at one time. If after using Ribadu, Obasanjo drops him as he did to the afore-mentioned, Ribadu should count himself the luckiest person on planet earth.
My premonition is that Ribadu, in the course of his duty, might have stumbled on some damaging materials on Baba and in his naivety informs Oga on how best to quash it. If this ever happens, then Ribadu’s matter is closed. He has known too much about a man who is not prepared to trust anyone. He is just living on borrowed time.
To compound the whole matter, no one will ever suspect Baba if Ribadu drops dead. The likely suspects will be the 419ners, State Governors and other politicians because of the obstacles he has created for these people. Vice President Atiku may even be a suspect because of the PTDF saga. Let me quickly add here the Atiku Abubakar, Turakin Adamawa, is a true democrat who would not hurt a fly to realize his political ambitions. His antecedents will speak for him.       
However, Baba is a retired general who has fought wars in many fronts. The life of a useless cop does not mean much to him. His antecedents will buttress this assertion. The late Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige was murdered in the heat of his misunderstanding with Omisore. Nigerians were made to believe that Omisore was responsible. Chief Funso Williams was assassinated and again we were made to hold politicians responsible. Grapevine has it that as Chairman of NPA, Williams stumbled on some facts which were enough reason to get him eliminated. Also, Chief Ige would have constituted a nuisance in the 2003 presidential election if he were to be alive. The fact of the matter is that Ribadu is trading with professionals who know when to strike so that they won’t be suspects. A word is enough for the wise.  
Not quite long ago, an alarm was raised that plans are being hatched by Atiku loyalists to eliminate some aides of the President. Ribadu’s name was not on the target list. Something keeps on telling me that the ground is being prepared to actualize a heinous act by the same group raising the alarm.
As the saying goes, ‘he who rides on the back of a tiger eventually ends up in the belly of the tiger’.


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