Opinion: Nuhu Ribadu and the audacity of ambition

by Nwokeoma Enyioha

The chairman of Nigeria's Economic and F

He made the anti- corruption international collaborating agencies into branding him as the only nemesis of corruption in Nigeria without whom no gains can be recorded in the fight against corruption.

Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) amuse me when he attributes his nemesis to others. I do not want to recant the story of Ribadu, EFCC and his post-removal travails because a lot has been written and said. What I want to highlight here is that Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu was, is and shall continue to be a victim of the cruel consequences of the audacity of his own ambition. This include his shot at 2011 Presidential election in Nigeria.

Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu was an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) when he was favoured to pioneer the chairmanship of the then newly created EFCC. On tour of duty with him then was another ACP and a Scotland trained investigator, Alhaji Ali Amodu, as deputy chairman and several other foot soldiers singled out to give the Commission the desired strong footing.

Though not an investigator by training, and devoid of any command experience prior to his appointment, Ribadu set out to succeed in his new job by collaborating with international agencies like the FBI to build capacity and operational infrastructure. May I digress a little bit by mentioning that at the inception of the EFCC, global concern about the position of Nigeria on the corruption index was unanimous.

World powers and multinationals feared that a corruption induced implosions in Nigeria shall destabilize not only the West African sub region but also jeopardize huge investments in the oil industry. Therefore, pressure was piled by lobbyists in Washington and London to assist the newly created anti corruption agency in Nigeria to succeed.

Early exposure to these global realities of the time and the inherent futuristic opportunities and possibilities they presented began to shape the thought process of Ribadu. He not only began to imagine how powerful he could become but in reality and with dexterity set out to become Nigeria’s Edgar Hoover. Signs began so early in the life of the EFCC to manifest the ambitious mindset of Ribadu resulting in casualties.

The first principal to be sacrificed on the highway of this new found audacious ambition was his Scotland Yard trained investigator deputy. This thorough bred officer and gentleman that represented and personified the investigative engine room of the infant EFCC must be schemed out and out he was.

Among the initial celebrated cases handled by the EFCC under Ribadu include those of Chief Emmanuel Nwude. Though conviction of the suspects and forfeiture of their assets were hurriedly achieved, how those assets were sold and who bought them rubbished the recorded success. Litigation on post conviction, forfeiture and sale of forfeited assets are still pending in various courts.

The case of Hon. Maurice Ibekwe was not different. What is obvious from these examples is that Ribadu orchestrated controversies, vendetta and blackmail to further his ambition and serve his own pecuniary interests as opposed to that of the nation. He made the anti- corruption international collaborating agencies into branding him as the only nemesis of corruption in Nigeria without whom no gains can be recorded in the fight against corruption.

This emboldened him to go after his boss and IGP in a most celebrated callous escapade. Though one is not holding brief for Mr. Adebayo Mustapha (Tafa) Balogun, but truth must be told of the real motive behind the Ribadu orchestrated damaging therapy on Mr. Balogun. He was the proverbial Goliath that Nuhu needed to kill to position himself for the eventual takeover of the top job. The DIGs under Mr. Tafa Balogun then that included Sir Mike Okiro were pawns whose dossier Nuhu already had and were just bidding time to blackmail out of service with ignominy.

As a victim of his own overblown ego and cult of self righteousness, Ribadu found it difficult at a point in time to pay compliment to the acting IGP Sir. Mike Okiro. Apparently perceiving himself as the only clean man in an unclean institution that provided him the opportunity to be the best he can or could have been further blinded Ribadu to the fact that he was at the EFCC on tour of duty. He therefore saw his ambition crashing like a pack of cards when he was redeployed to NIPPS Kuru and resisted that redeployment with every local and international blackmail at his disposal. A simulated assassination attempt was played as part of the grand design to rescue his shattered ambition and someone must take the blame and responsibility and in this case Mr. Mike Okiro.

Sir Mike Mbama Okiro,  a highly respected and revered officer among the rank and file in the Nigeria Police is never and could never have been nor constituted an albatross on Mr. Nuhu Ribadu as the latter erroneously want the whole world to believe. His choice as acting IGP at the exit of the then IGP was natural and politically expedient for the President, Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria at the point in time.

As one of the DIGs, Sir Okiro knew that the mantle will fall on one of them as is native to the command hierarchical structure of the Police. He did not need to step on the toes of any junior officer to become IGP neither did he need to be marketed for a job he was well prepared and experienced to undertake by forces under the selective investigative low ball of a former EFCC chairman . That Okiro is today the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) is a testimony to the natural truth that “it is not to him that willeth but to God that showeth mercy”.


Read this article in the Sun Newspapers


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