Nuhu Ribadu And His 40 ‘riba dun’ Cars -By Festus Adedayo

Filed under: Life And People |

Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, stunned those who believed that he was immune from the malady of the time and the natural inclination of the Nigerian politician to play the fool. At an occasion in Yola last week dedicated to the inauguration of 40 vehicles purchased by him and donated on behalf of his support group, Black Cap Revolutionary Movement, for the mobilisation of voters in Adamawa for, according to him, President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign, Ribadu waxed lyrical at his newfound shamelessness. He even predicted that the president would get a double of the votes cast for him in Adamawa State Ribadu said he was committed to mobilizing his home state of Adamawa and its people, alongside other stakeholders, so as to ensure that Buhari wins in the state. Which is a legitimate aspiration?

The vehicles Mr Ribadu donated to Atiku’s campaign

“Adamawa is 100 per cent for Buhari; we will make sure Buhari is re-elected, because he deserves it. Let’s help Buhari so that he can continue to work for Nigeria,” Ribadu had said. Ribadu is currently the Director of Field Operation of Presidential Campaign Council of Buhari/Osinbajo.Don’t get me wrong. Ribadu has a legitimate right to align with whoever he desires in the presidential election and the right of alignment with whoever he is persuaded could fulfill his aspiration as a Nigerian. Since leaving the Police Force, Ribadu has tried his hands on politics, oscillating from aspiring to be the president of Nigeria and later perching as low as seeking the governorship slot of same Adamawa State. What Ribadu is not permitted to to display this blandish politician’s affiliation and yet go away with the public image he effortlessly garnered while he was in the saddle as a widely-feared EFCC czar as a cousin of angel Gabriel. The two positions and impressions are diametrically opposed. You will recall that the fear of Roibadu was the beginning of wisdom while he held sway in office. Even when widespread accusations trailed him as being an anvil in the vindictive hands of Olusegun Obasanjo who was allegedly using EFCC to harangue his political enemies, Ribadu towered high in his resplendent moral babanriga as a cop with a purpose who subscribed to the tenets of purity and purification of the Augean stable. What we are witnessing now is a total deconstruction of that effigy which Nigerians hung on the lintels of their homes as the avatar of cleanliness.

For, how can Ribadu explain how he came about the funds with which he purchased the 40 cars? What job does he do since leaving the Police Force? How much is his gratuity and pension combined worth, to be able to finance the cost of purchase of 40 brand new vehicles? It also goes to the fundament of the ills that plague us as people, especially one that afflicts our electoral system. What sieve is being held to the campaign purses of political office aspirants and what is the ceiling? How does the system ensure that impure money does not filter into campaign funds of political parties? The other day, a gubernatorial candidate of one of the political parties in Oyo state stunned the world in an indecorous and incongruous  display of 100 cars, dead to its negative effect on the psyche of a populace that is disturbed by acute lack and abject poverty. Aside the moral angle to all this, how much does each of the cars cost? Who donated them, if Ribadu and the other fellow didn’t? How much was spent on them? What is the implication for post-election if this was done by a surrogate? Would this not give the surrogate undue advantage into the public till post-election? Can’t impure money be laundered through this channel?

By the way, riba, a Yoruba word for bribe and its expression in its not too dissimilar rendering as riba dun, (bribe is sweet) an inflection of Nuhu’s surname, may be jutting out somewhere in this transaction, unless policeman Ribadu acquits self in the court of the Nigerian public that held him like some matador who changed the face of corruption in Nigeria. Can we have an idea of how these 40 cars came into legitimate being? How does Nuhu marry his towering image as a no-nonsense anti-corruption czar with this demeaning image as a politician who is ready to lick the sore-encrusted feet of politicians so as to be shoveled into political positions?

This brings on board the germane question: What exactly does Ribadu want? What drives him? Was he merely an anti-corruption fluke or an impostor lucky enough not to be deconstructed while in office? Is  this the process of the beginning of his deconstruction? It reminds me once again of an imperishable quote that hangs on my mind like a talisman on the neck of a Hindu The moment Ribadu left EFCC and began to aspire for political offices, the quote crept on my mind and has refused to exchange its tenancy ever since. It is one which says that the moment a man sets his eyes on an ambition, a rottenness begins in him. It tells me that this may just be the beginning of a decay in the persona of Ribadu which has just begun to tug at the nose of the world with its rebarbative disturbance.