by Hauwa Gambo
There have been mixed reactions since it was announced that former anti-corruption czar and presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Malam Nuhu Ribadu will be joining the government of his former arch-rival, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, as head of the 17-member Task Force on Petroleum revenue.
The announcement of the board was made by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and it is reported that his appointment was made by Diezani Alison-Madueke the minister – a report confirmed about 15 minutes ago by the minister’s Twitter handle (“I have appointed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to head petroleum taskforce”). Mr. Ribadu is presently on a long-term United Nations mission to Afghanistan.
However, his party, the ACN, has now distanced itself officially from his acceptance of this appointment.
“The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has reiterated its long-standing position barring members of the party from accepting appointments from the PDP-led Federal Government,” the party said in a statement signed by Lai Mohammed, it’s national publicity secretary. “As a political party, we wish to reiterate our position barring any member of our party from taking any appointment whatsoever from the PDP-led Federal Government. Any member of our party who takes such an appointment does so in his personal capacity.’
The party insists that the federation government has not shown any sincerity in securing policy input from “well-meaning” Nigerians.
“For instance, on the vexed issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, it is on record that our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, responded with patriotic and constructive suggestions during a meeting between the President in Abuja. At the end of that meeting, President Jonathan promised to further consult with us before taking any further step in respect of the matter.
“To our amazement, and true to the deceptive nature of this Administration, we all woke up on January 1st, 2012, to learn that the government has unilaterally removed subsidy from petrol. How then can we, in good conscience, work with such an Administration?”
It will be recalled that there had been mixed reactions when Mr. Ribadu had returned in January 2011 to Nigeria as the ACN’s national flag-bearer, after similar pressure. That, as many remember, didn’t end well.