There Goes Nuhu, Here Comes Ribadu By Sabella Abidde
Finally, it has happened: Nuhu Ribadu has left the All Progressives Congress! According to a reporton Monday, August 18, “Mallam Nuhu Ribadu justified his defection from the opposing APC to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, saying the APC was not better than the PDP.” Through his spokesman, Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Ribadu went further: “In Nigeria, especially in politics, you can’t say that this is an exclusive party for the people who are thieves or this is for good people.” In essence, there are no saints or sinners or the redeemable. All are destined for the purgatory! Oh, Ribadu!
Even if there was no difference between the two major parties, why didn’t he remain to make a difference, to move the party from the lowlands to the highland; sanitise it and drain it of its excesses? He ought to have remained to make the APC what it should have been: Mould it in the images of liberal-progressive parties in Europe and elsewhere but with cogent Nigerian sensibilities. Perhaps, he didn’t have the stomach for drawn-battles and didn’t believe in the APC’s methods and agenda. May be he didn’t get along with Bola Tinubu. Who knows? Or, could it be that he had his own private agenda and ambition all along?
However, defection is not new, and neither is it a bad political step to take. But to do so, a politician must have very good reasons, personal or ideological, but nothing flimsy or nonsensical. One may also defect if prevailing conditions make such a step inevitable. Why Femi Fani-Kayode defected is no great mystery. The people know him, and they know why. No one was surprised. When a politician defects two or more times within two election cycles, one begins to wonder why and begins to question his or her integrity and principles. But, who is Nuhu Ribadu? Does anyone really know?
No one wants to be an Aminu Kano, a Tafawa Balewa, an M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu, an Nnamdi Azikiwe or an Obafemi Awolowo. No one wants to stay put in his or her party to contemplate solution to our problems and challenges. No one! All they want to do is self-service, remain in power or the corridor of power and steal and or engage in sharing the people’s wealth. Politics is no longer about serving the people; but about economic gains and self-glory.
In today’s Nigeria political climate, you don’t know who to trust, and who to believe. Politicians change position and change parties as if trust, respect and dignity have no place in our political space. Perhaps, because the vast majority of our politicians have no other sources of income – others feeding off the state and fleecing the public – they fear being in political wilderness, they fear being in the opposition and the day the content of their bank account will dry out. This is not only sad and unfortunate, it is regrettable. All you political prostitutes, whose turn is it to defect to the PDP, or to the APC? Next…next…next!
Oh, in the next couple of weeks and months, expect Ribadu to come out swinging against some of his former colleagues and party, and to begin praising members of his new party. He is going to tell you that his defection was not about power and ambition. He will tell you that President Goodluck Jonathan is the best president Nigeria has ever had. But more than that, that Jonathan is the best thing since apples and bushmeat and slice bread. And should he, Ribadu, run into a stone wall in terms of his ambition, he will briefly retire from politics. That is Nuhu Ribadu for you: he comes and he goes. The goings and comings of an unpredictable politician!
Travel note and reflections about Nigeria
I arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja an hour or so before my 11am departure time on Monday, August 4, 2014. More than three hours later, I and other travellers, destined for Lagos, were still at the departure lounge, waiting. We were waiting for Arik Air – Flight 732. It was not until 2:30pm or thereabout before we were asked to get ready for boarding. No explanation was given for their tardiness, and no apology was rendered for their unprofessional conduct. But of course, this was not the first time Arik Air had infuriated me and other customers. And so even if God or any other deity instructed me, I will never fly that airline again. Never!
At about noon, a fellow I was chatting with nudged me and said, “That is Alamieyeseigha.” He was of course referring to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, the self-styled Governor-General of the Ijaw nation. But before I could take a proper look, the fellow he was pointing to had made the corner and out of my view. Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha is one of the few Ijaw personalities I have wanted to chat with, to find out what happened to the people’s money when he was governor. Also, how could he have got governance wrong? It is because of men and women like him that the Ijaw nation is where it is today: Vastly underdeveloped and annoyingly unstable.
That is that for the digression. Now back to the airport gists. If the Nigerian government would allow me, I’d like to donate 500 rolls of tissue papers to the MMIA, and another 500 to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Here is why: When nature called at the airport in Abuja, there were no wiping papers. I postponed it. And after checking in my luggage at the Delta Airlines counter in Lagos, nature called again. Again, there was no wiping paper. In the end, I had to pay an attendant N400 for a few squares of sheets. What image would such deficits leave in the minds of tourists from China, New Zealand, the Bahamas or Norway? Two international airports that rake in billions of naira every year cannot afford tissue papers and hand towels? What a shame!
I know this and millions of Nigerians know it too: There is severe shortage of basic human needs in Nigeria. By this, I mean there is shortage of potable water, quality education and health care, security, clean environment, electricity and other basic infrastructure. These are some of the things that make life enjoyable and meaningful. But as bad as things are, the vast majority of Nigerians living in exile tend to miss home. They miss Nigeria. There is something about this country of ours that makes us long for it. What is the pull? What’s so attractive about Nigeria that makes Nigerians miss their country so much?
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
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