In the face of all the twists and turns in Nigeria’s democratic journey, the electorate still remains the greatest losers, as they are but pawns in the hands of a corrupt political leadership in a troubled nation, why? Ohia Isreal has the answer
These quotes gleaned from worried Nigerians since 2011 will suffice: “The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been in government for over a decade now, but our people have gained nothing for it. Naturally, Nigerians feel angry and cheated. Our people are justifiably disappointed, especially when you realize that the PDP administration has earned far more money than any administration in the history of our country. Let’s register to ensure we vote the PDP out of power come April!” (Facebook January 21, 2011)
“Dear Friends, what happened at the PDP Convention today is good for our democracy. It has exposed the internal contradictions that characterise the PDP. The governors and other chieftains have demonstrated courage and damned the ‘PDP-or-nothing’ myth that has loosely held the party together for so long. ‘Change, when it comes, cracks everything open’. Change is in the air! The APC leads the way and welcomes like minds. Together, under visionary, compassionate, courageous and patriotic leadership, we can save Nigeria! Have a great week. (Facebook August 31, 2013)”
“Nigeria’s failures traceable to PDP, says Ribadu. Presidential aspirant of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has said the problems of the country are traceable to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Another Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and APC chieftain, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has taken a swipe at the country’s leadership by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), insisting that change was needed. Speaking to newsmen in Katsina yesterday when he paid condolence visit to Governor Shehu Shema over the death of his father, Ribadu said ruling PDP had failed in all ramifications and said that APC would ensure justice and fairness.”
The above statements were statements credited to Nuhu Ribadu who soared high while he was an anti-graft czar. But events of the past weeks have shown that morality is not a name among Nigerian politicians and elites alike.
For weeks it was speculated that Nuhu Ribadu will join the PDP in order to contest for the Adamawa 0CTOBER 11, governorship elections. It finally became a reality last week when the news was broken in the media that Nuhu Ribadu has joined the party and also has picked the PDP form for the Adamawa governorship election come October 11, 2014.
Meanwhile, the questions on the lips of Nigerians and even international community are: Why will a calibre of a person such as Nuhu Ribadu descend to the party which he cajoled, called all sorts of names and even described as the nation’s house of corruption?
In a report earlier done on August 3, 2014 by online news media, Premium Times, titled: Adamawa Election: Inside the PDP’s Big, the medium said; “As preparation for the forthcoming governorship election in Adamawa intensifies, the two major political parties – the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], and the All Progressives Congress [APC] – are wooing a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC,] Nuhu Ribadu, to run for governor on their platforms.
Although Mr. Ribadu is a member of the APC, the paper learnt that the ruling PDP and some interest groups in his native Adamawa State have stepped up lobby to win the former anti-graft chief over to the ruling party. This newspaper learnt authoritatively that President Goodluck Jonathan, through one of his closest aides, Hassan Tukur, has made overtures to Mr. Ribadu to cross over to the ruling party.
The National Chairman of the party, Ahmed Muazu, as well as a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Aliyu Modibbo, who are long-time friends of the former EFCC chairman, are also said to be pestering Mr. Ribadu to dump the APC.
Top PDP sources also told this newspaper that the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Akin Osuntokun; and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode (who recently defected to the ruling party) might also be enlisted to pressure the anti-corruption activist to join the PDP.
The PDP wants Ribadu, this newspaper understands, as a way of weakening the APC in Adamawa and isolating former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a political juggernaut who recently defected to the opposition party. Almost immediately after Mr. Nyako’s impeachment, the fortunes of the APC nosedived dramatically in the state. Virtually all elected and appointed officials in the state, who had joined the former governor to defect to the opposition party last year, returned to the PDP.
From commissioners to local government chairmen and to councillors, almost all officials have pledged loyalty to Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri while also announcing their defection to the PDP. The paper also noted that Mr. Nyako now out of the way, Mr. Ribadu became the most formidable candidate the APC can present in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, but various sources suggested former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is a leader of the party in the state, is not a fan of the former EFCC chairman and that both men are finding it difficult working together.
“As you know Ribadu once wrote a report indicting Turaki for corruption,” an official of the Adamawa State chapter of the APC told this newspaper. “Both men are yet to forget that episode and it is unlikely that Ribadu will be comfortable working with the former VP in the same party.”
However, the paper said that the Elders’ Factor it was gathered will be an undoing to him, as the paper said; another side to the unfolding drama is what a source described as “overwhelming pressure from some notable individuals and elites from Adamawa and beyond.
“Some of these individuals, who have been agitating for Mr. Ribadu to jettison his presidential ambition and vie for Adamawa governorship instead, have now added a caveat to their pledge of support by asking him to declare under the PDP which they see as a more formidable platform in the current equation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the issue of waiver is one of the things that might work against Nuhu Ribadu as there have been ripples over whether he will get a waiver. As it is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Adamawa chapter, Phineas Elisha, has called on the party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, not to listen to the agitations of some people against the planned decampment of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, into the party.
Elisha said: “I remember we were in Bauchi in 2011when the incumbent National Chairman was aspiring to contest for primaries for the Presidential ticket of the party. He mobilized for an alleged imposition of the incumbent president as presidential candidate of the PDP. The same scenario is playing out now.
“But when we went to Eagle Square, nobody protested against the imposition of the party’s presidential candidate in 2011.The convention was held as Mr President emerged the candidate and won the general election”
He said the national chairman of PDP should not be crucified for repeating the same scenario which played out in 2011 as one who had aspired for the presidency of the country on the platform of the ruling PDP despite the fact that there were many presidential aspirants then.
Ribadu after joining the PDP had on August 16 written a letter of waiver to the PDP National chairman which he said would enable him to contest for elective office. “I wish to humbly write to apply for a clearance/ waiver to enable me aspire for position on the platform of this great party. As a fresher in the party, I have duly obtained my membership, paid required dues. I hereby tender photocopies, including my voter’s card for your necessary action,” the letter reads.
But Ribadu’s waiver request has split the National Working Committee of the party and created a wedge between the Adamawa State chapter and the National Secretariat. While the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, through an emissary, asked the state chapter of the party to request for a waiver for Ribadu, the Adamawa State chapter is demanding a written request to it by the National Secretariat for waiver for Ribadu.
According to sources, the state Chairman, Chief Joel Madaki, convened an emergency session of the State Executive Committee (SEC) where it was decided that it would not recommend any aspirant for a waiver – in line with Section 8(a and b) of the PDP Constitution. The state chapter insists that if there must be a waiver, such waiver should cover Gen. Marwa and Mr. Gundiri to create a level-playing field for all.
Although the SEC acknowledged Ribadu’s letter to join PDP, it insisted on substantial compliance with the PDP Constitution. It alleged that it had it on records that someone collected a membership card for Ribadu, contrary to the laid down regulations of the party. A source in Adamawa PDP said: “We got a verbal message from the National Secretariat of PDP to make a formal request for a waiver for Ribadu but we said we cannot recommend. We can only submit list of members seeking waiver.
“We have written the National Secretariat of PDP to make its request formal instead of verbal in order to put the precedent that they are trying to lay in a good perspective for posterity. “There are conditions for waiver which Ribadu is yet to meet. If we are truly a democratic party, we must abide by the party’s constitution. It appears some forces in the Presidency have decided to override due process. Even at that, there must be some elements of justice.
“We have also maintained that the case for a waiver cannot be limited to Ribadu alone, if we want to be fair to all. The same gesture ought to be extended to Marwa and Gundiri in order to be fair and just to all.”
Also speaking, the State PDP Secretary, Mr. A.T. Shehu, said: “We got a directive from the National Secretariat to send a list of aspirants who have applied for waiver. We have forwarded the name of three of the aspirants to the National Secretariat. They are Ribadu, Marwa, and Gundiri.
“Section 8 subsections (a and b) of the PDP Constitution as amended does not empower a state chapter to grant waiver, it is the prerogative of the National Secretariat. There is even no provision for us to recommend or reject request for waiver.
“Already, members of the NWC are divided over the waiver requested. A source said: “So far, the National Chairman of PDP has not tabled any request before the NWC for waiver for Ribadu or any aspirant in Adamawa State. He has also not informed any member of the committee. “Ideally, we ought to grant Ribadu a waiver before he can obtain the party’s governorship nomination form. Therefore, the issue of waiver is still a one-man business which is known to only Mu’azu.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Maybe Muazu may bring his proposal for this waiver on Monday to the NWC. “We will consider any request on merit. We are determined to reclaim Adamawa State; we will not fritter away this opportunity at all.
“I hope we will not be repeating the same mistake in Osun State where the party’s governorship candidate was already pre-determined. “Some of us in the NWC are worried because this waiver syndrome may becloud our commitment to free and fair primaries for the 2015 polls.”
As at press time, it was learnt that there had been pressure on the presidency by some influential Nigerians and businessmen to concede the ticket to Ribadu. Another source added: “The party has a major challenge at hand on this waiver palaver.”
More so, PDP stalwarts in Adamawa are threatening to work against the party if Ribadu is finally given the ticket to fly the party’s ticket. As gathered, the battle over who succeeds former Governor Murata Nyako who was impeached by the Adamwa State House of Assembly has taken a deeper dimension with the defection of former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Ribadu’s defection has further polarized the Adamawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as some stakeholders have vowed to work against the interest of the party following the development. A PDP source in Adamawa said that the party stalwarts in the state, including the acting governor, Umaru Fintiri, former special adviser to the president on political matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, and a party chieftain in the state, Dr Panny Boga, who was in the forefront of the fight against the maladministration of impeached governor of the state, Murtala Nyako, “have vowed to work against the interest of the party in the state should their past efforts and hard work to keep the party intact in the face of deliberate moves by some former PDP members to destroy the party and reduce it to rumbles during the reign of Nyako be jettisoned.”
The source, who was at a meeting in Yola recently which lasted till the early hours of Sunday, said tensions were raised among party faithful as active members wondered why Ribadu worked with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to frustrate the impeachment process of Nyako by members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly “in addition to the garbage of insults and vicissitudes he poured on the PDP, now to suddenly become a bride as against those that fought to keep the party afloat in the face of extreme difficulties.”
Ribadu’s defection to the PDP aimed at contesting the governorship seat under the platform of the party was said to have been spearheaded by the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, in collaboration with the Principal Private Secretary to President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Hassan Tukur, a native of Adamawa State.
While Muazu and Tukur are allegedly misleading the president about the true position in the state, the support for Ribadu is, however, believed to have hit the rock, as a majority of the party elders in the state may have made their point to Jonathan on the negative impact Ribadu’s candidature would have on the fortunes of the party in the governorship election in the state as well as the 2015 presidential election.
The source at the meeting said “The National Chairman of the party has a choice to make and the choice is simple, Ribadu or the party’s victory. The Osun outing of the PDP is still fresh and must be noted that it has a long way in affecting the 2015 presidential election.
“This was how we fought in 2007 and the ticket was eventually given to Murtala Nyako, who was a member of the ANPP then and we are all witnesses to the eventual result. What is the difference between what happened in 2007 and now with regards to Nyako and now Ribadu? Can’t our leaders ever see the handwriting on the wall and learn?” he queried.
Meanwhile, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has explained why he left the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also denied disparaging the APC and Governors Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano).
Ribadu was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the parties that fused to form the APC. In a letter to APC Chairman in Bako Ward in Adamawa State, he said he would forever be thankful to the opposition party for admitting him into its fold as a member.
The letter, dated August 14, 2014, reads: “I wish to forward my membership withdrawal with the All Progressives Congress (APC) from this day, Monday, 30th of July 2014.
“It has indeed been a great pleasure working and being associated with the party, APC. I am forever thankful for all the support accorded me while I was a member.”
On his Facebook page, Ribadu opened up to his friends on why he joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He also denied insinuations that he attacked APC, Amaechi and Kwankwaso. He said: “I know how difficult it may be for you to come to terms with my defection to another party. But I must assure you that it’s a carefully considered decision for which I do not wish to hurt anyone’s feeling. I’ll not embark on a needless animosity with my good friends, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic affiliations. “Let me make it known that I did not issue a statement disparaging APC and its members, including Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Kwankwaso…
“These were clearly fabricated, expected backlash, by mischievous characters interested in misleading the public and drawing a picture of non-existent feuds between me and my good friends. “My defection shouldn’t be seen as an initiation of political antagonism with my good friends in another party. I still hold them in high esteem, and even where there are marked differences, I believe there are decorous and honourable ways of resolving them. “So, kindly disregard any statement said to be by me attacking the personality of any politician since my defection. I’ll never allow myself to be drawn into such disrespectful exchange. As for my next step in this political struggle, this would be made known in due time. For now, I wish to assure you that my defection is in pursuit of a good cause and never out of any selfish interests as portrayed by a section.
“Thanks for bearing with me on this decision, and for those who have been in solidarity with my struggles and still giving me the benefits of the doubt, I’m most grateful. I’ll never let you down on this new path. Thank you!”
However, there has been condemnation against Ribadu since he joined the party, as his former party, the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed disappointment over the statement allegedly made by the former EFCC boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu against the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi.
In a Statement issued on Wednesday, the APC said the decision taken by Ribadu to buy governorship form under the PDP is a political suicide.
Ribadu, according to reports which he denied yesterday in a post on his Facebook Fanpage, in trying to justify his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), demonised the APC and its leaders, describing Governor Amaechi as someone who “is hungry for power and does not know how to go about it, except with money.”
Responding to the statement, the Rivers APC said “Ribadu’s outburst is very unfortunate and borne out of ignorance of what the antecedents of Amaechi are. It is on record that during the days of Chief Rufus Ada George as Governor of Rivers State, he offered Amaechi appointment as one of his Commissioners but Amechi declined and instead nominated his cousin, Sir Celestine Omehia, whom George appointed as the Commissioner for Education.
“This does not in any way indicate somebody who is hungry for power. While Amaechi, like Ribadu, has exercised his constitutional right to seek election as Governor, his feats, which he rightfully attributes to the grace of God, conclusively prove that he never sought office due to hunger for power but, rather, in order to render service and make the society a better place.
APC reminded Ribadu that he had described his new found party, PDP, as a den of thieves.
The party said “This is in direct contrast to the conduct of Mallam Ribadu, who after being the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in 2011, has now stooped so low to buy PDP guber form to contest the governorship of Adamawa State thereby committing a political suicide and if we still know PDP very well, Ribadu will surely regret this unwise step in a matter of few weeks. And to think that this is the same PDP which Ribadu once described as a den of thieves! So between Amaechi and Ribadu, who should rightly be accused of being hungry for power? Obviously, it is Ribadu, who has just confirmed his position in the league of political prostitutes!”
The party wished Ribadu well in what it referred to as “his latest political gamble”, and warned him to leave Amaechi and APC alone, adding that he should preoccupy himself with how to survive among the sharks and wolves that he decided to join after abusing them to high heavens.
APC urged not be dismayed or discouraged by the unprincipled step of Ribadu and his likes but unite and seek solution on how to save our nation from the pains and shame that PDP Government has brought to the nation through the looting of Nigeria’s common patrimony with impunity and turning corruption into an institution and not disparagement of Governor Amaechi or any other progressive leader of the nation. “The PDP Government has destroyed all facets of our nationhood – our education sector is in shambles together with our Health Sector so any sound mind joining or promoting such a party like PDP that have brought so much misery and poverty to our nation is totally out of tune from reality,” the party added.
“Nigerians are aware that the joining of Governor Amaechi and other former PDP Governors to APC have not only brought vibrancy but made APC as a better alternative to the evil that PDP represents.”
Will Ribadu get the shock of his life; it is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, this paper learnt that the leadership of the PDP and the Presidency may be planning a shocker for the former EFCC boss. “Investigations by paper showed that the Presidency and the national leadership of the party had perfected plans not to give special treatment to Ribadu among other governorship aspirants,” the report said.
It added that Ribadu, from findings would be asked to be ready to take part in the party’s primaries like any other aspirant. “It was learnt that the party and the Presidency were planning to just use his influence and his integrity to curry favour both locally and internationally because of the perceived inability of the government to fight corruption in the country.”
“This perception, it was gathered, has affecting the rating of the government, especially before the international community.” A Presidency source said “Let him come and join us. He has said on many occasions that PDP is a corrupt party full of corrupt people. Let him come and be part of us. We will welcome him.”
It was also learnt that the party is not planning to hold any special meeting of its National Executive Committee in order to give Ribadu and other defectors the much needed waivers.”