Date Published: 10/31/09
EFCC: Enough Of This Amusing Diversions By Ribadu And Waziri By Senior Fyneface
It was very insulting on the sensibilities of Nigerians for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the erstwhile former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ascribe super star role to himself in bringing Chief Bode George to face the law of the land.
His comment on the recent landmark court sentence of Bode George and five others on the NPA scam to a jail term was definite in tilting the glory to his ‘eagle eye investigations.’
Before scrambling for the glory in the matter, there are many questions Ribadu should answer. When did he investigate George? Why did he not arraign him immediately? Why did he take the report to Federal Executive Council meeting, and not directly to court? Why did he not shout the way he did when he was persecuted by the “new Pharoah who knew not Joseph” when Obasanjo threw out the report and constituted a panel to investigate the case? Why did Ribadu not cry out loud when the Obasanjo’s panel which he cooperated with cleared Bode George of all wrong doings in the NPA scam?
How long can we continue to deceive ourselves as a people? A situation where mediocrity rides over sincerity and serious -mindedness can no longer be accepted in this country because we cannot continue on an indefinite deceit of ourselves as a people. There has to be a paradigm shift.
It is even on record (media reports) that there were several occasions including a public function at the Obafemi Awolowo University and at the Yar’adua Women Centre in Abuja during the reign of Gen Obasanjo where Ribadu viciously explained and defended Bode George’s involvement in the NPA scam.
So who is the real Nuhu Ribadu? Is it this one on exile who want the whole world to see him as the only upright and sincere official of the Obasanjo administration that was determined to wipe out corruption from Nigeria? Or the one that packaged fictitious charges and investigation reports against opponents of the former president and anybody who ever dreamt of contesting the April 2007 presidential election against Obasanjo’s failed attempt to run for a third term? Haba! Let’s call a spade a spade.
The point has to be made and straight also that no single credit should be ascribed to Ribadu as the he failed woefully to perform his duties as mandated by the EFCC Act against the expectations of the Nigerian masses who were solidly supported his trumpeted campaign.
In the first instance, Bode George et’al were not convicted based on Ribadu’s claimed eagle eye investigative report. This thing has to be put in proper context and place the glory where it rightly belongs- the court especially the honest judge, and the current leadership of the EFCC that garnered the will power to cooperate with request from the court without first seeking clearance from the President as was the case during Ribadu’s tenure as the commission’s boss.
But for Bode George’s stupidity or rather too much wisdom in dragging the News and Tell magazines to court for digging out and publishing Ribadu’s buried investigative report and his fallout with Obasanjo, he would have been as free as air based on Ribadu’s compromise with his now not-relevant benefactor.
It is very unfortunate that in this country, people want to be perceived as heroes even when they are convinced that they are outright villains against the genuine corporate interests of us all.
Let’s look at it: Ribadu submitted his indictment of Bode George to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The question here is: which court is FEC? It would have even been better he submitted the investigative report to the Inspector General of Police rather than taken it to Obasanjo his benefactor. This was an outright contradiction because when he wanted to arraign the former governors (the one he widely trumpeted) he did not go to FEC?
Equally, when Ribadu wanted to arraign the former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, he did not first submit his investigative report to the Federal Executive Council? When he whisked Rotimi Amaechi as the then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly on frivoulus charges, did he go to FEC first? When he arraigned some 419ers did Ribadu submit his findings first to FEC?
It was a big moral question which bothers on credibility, integrity and genuineness of intention. And the unfolding revelation flooding the internet about Ribadu selective application of prosecution processes directly contradicts his claims that as the EFCC chairman, he was free from political (especially Obasanjo’s) manipulations in addition to his own inordinate ambitions. I’m sorry but this is the truth.
Why was it that he arraigned some persons in Obasanjo’s FEC and certain others in courts of law? And now he wants everybody to believe that he
Truth be told, Ribadu as the former EFCC chairman was more of a politician of the PDP stock than an anti graft czar on a mission to sanitise the system. So he should not claim what he did not do. If he had carried out his assignment without prejudice, he would have been a very great hero of our land. But he allowed his relationship with Obasanjo and members of the administration’s economic team compromised his integrity and bias in the entire anti-graft campaign.
Another interesting aspect of Ribadu’s comment was that he glaringly failed for obvious reasons to do the right thing- ascribe the glory to EFCC as an agency and congratulate Waziri as the current overseer of the organisation.
It’s time Ribadu advise himself to cut short this self- glorifying mentality because some of us who have been sympathetic with the way he was treated may become frigid. He is a young and vibrant Nigeria who has so much to still contribute in the development of this nation and should not just plunder the current goodwill he enjoys just because he thinks he is on a vendetta.
With all sincerity of purpose, Farida Waziri IS more deserving of accolades for the successful prosecution of the NPA case. The sensible thing Ribadu would have done was to congratulate his successor for achieving this feat.
It was sheer arrogance for Ribadu to keep saying (until this Bode George sentence) that after he left office, the EFCC went to sleep. And that he left office just because corruption was fighting back. The later assertion is right but for the simple reason that he failed to separate himself and his assignment from partisan politics. This is the truth.
And Farida Waziri’s was blunt and frank in addressing such claims in her interview with Pointblanknews in New York. Her words: “I don’t think so. I have done much better than Ribadu. I am not grandstanding, not going to the pages of newspaper to shout, I am not going to pick people before looking for evidence to charge them, its about the rule of law its not about grandstanding.
“Some Nigerians who are not so educated they want to see drama, they want to see people in handcuffs being dragged, they want to see people foaming in the mouth screaming blue murder, it doesn’t work like that. My standards are perfect and in line with international standards. You can’t judge me on the standard of Nuhu Ribadu.
“How many convictions did he have, three convictions based on plea bargaining. You know plea bargaining is not part of the Nigerian law. But I know that half bread is better than nothing, I also said instead of someone who looted the treasury to walk away with the money and enjoy it, because the judicial process is slow, I said yes lets take part of it. You steal your country’s money and you use part of that crime/fraud money to negotiate your soft landing. But then he had only three convictions and they were based on plea bargaining for five years. I have had much more than him in two years.”
It’s time to move on and I believe this nation is making good progress though the current magnitude may fall short of our expectations as a people because of years of cumulative misbehaviour of past leaders and even the current gang in government.
SENIOR FYNEFACE, 11 ELELEWON STREET GRA II, PORT HARCOURT ( firstname.lastname@example.org)