NO one can take away Nuhu Ribadu’s genuine sense of outrage against corruption in Nigeria. He fought with tremendous passion, as the anti-corruption Czar at the EFCC, under the Obasanjo administration.
But unfortunately, passion is never enough, in the complex issues associated with societal development. Far more useful is intellect and a measured attitude to build lasting institutions and the ability to sustain work in a methodical manner.
These are Nuhu Ribadu’s deficiencies. They are in fact the reason why it became easy, in the long run, to isolate him and eliminate his effectiveness.
Nuhu did a lot that was very remarkable in the anti-corruption struggle and he was a darling, particularly of the intellectual and media nomenclatura in Southern Nigeria. They lionized him and he soaked up the adulations.
But bluster and emotional outburst leave gaping holes in the activities of the individual. Ribadu exposed his frailties last week in a London court, where he appeared in the Ibori assets seizure case. Under cross examination, Ribadu told the court that neither he nor the EFCC had an investigation file, notes of calls, meetings, briefings or records detailing the offer of alleged bribes between him (Nuhu) and James Ibori, said to have offered Nuhu $15million bribe.
Ribadu said the only notes he had were “personal notes”, which got lost while being persecuted after his removal as EFCC chief! Was that the way the EFCC was run? Can such a serious allegation of bribes be so sloppily handled? Ribadu was a senior police officer, for crying out loud! With hindsight, especially for those who see only a hero in Ribadu, there were too many inconsistencies that made sustenance of the heroic narrative very difficult.
Ribadu owes us all a more sustained explanation of the way he seemed willing to be an instrument of fighting Obasanjo’s political enemies (he had told interviewers on AIT on May 29, 2006, that Obasanjo was a “Saint”!).
The same Obasanjo’s government that he then described to American Ambassador, Robin Sanders in December 2007, as being far more corrupt than Abacha’s. Adding that Obasanjo only knew how to cover his steps and deceive the international community. Ribadu indicted Madame Patience Jonathan of money laundering in 2006 and returned in 2010 to deny his 2006 position.
He listed corrupt governors as including then governors Jonathan and Bola Tinubu, but returned to become a Tinubu sidekick! Clearly, emotions are not enough and Ribadu possesses anti-corruption emotions in abundance; but they never could trump intellect and in that department, he seemed to have always been rather deficient!