Nuhu Ribadu And The Oriki Of The Internet By Pius Adesanmi
October 2010 or thereabouts, Sonala Olumhense, Moses Ochonu, Farooq Kperogi, yours truly, and other members of the NVS Editorial Board interviewed many of the candidates running for President in 2011.
We interviewed Dele Momodu. We interviewed General Muhammadu Buhari. We interviewed Bukola Saraki who was eyeing the Presidency at the time. Plans to interview Atiku Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan fell through because of scheduling issues on the part of their aides and staff. Then we interviewed Ogbeni Nuhu Ribadu!
For each interview, we set preconditions. No vetting of our questions. And, of course, we would not tolerate the Nigerian nonsense of no-go areas. If you agreed to be interviewed by the people I listed above, it means you understood perfectly that you were not going to treat them the way you treat Nigerian journalists.
It also means that you would also have to leave your nonsensical Nigerian big man mentality at the door as your interviewers were not going to recognize it. To this day, I still suspect that Philip Adekunle’s inability to secure interview slots with Goodluck Jonathan and Atiku Abubakar has everything to do with our stringent “conditionalities”. As for Ibrahim Babangida, none of us was prepared to interview him anyway.
To be fair to those who agreed to our terms, none of them made any attempt to try and use magomago to secure our questions via expo. For our part, we cast aside whatever we thought personally of each candidate and prepared for a thorough professional exchange for they were very brave indeed to subject themselves to our grilling. Bukola Saraki and Dele Momodu were the best prepared.
Ogbeni Nuhu Ribadu was doing great until we got to the part where he had run his mouth against Bola Tinubu, Patience Jonathan, Goodluck Jonathan, and other political characters he had described as corrupt. We wanted to know why all those corrupt characters were suddenly no longer corrupt. The man entered into frenzied contortions and denials. He was frothing in spasms, overreaching himself, belabouring himself to unsay things he had said.
Like a typical Nigerian politician, the man who is the only Nigerian alive to have rejected a cash bribe of $15 million dollars and consequently earned the right to shine in our firmament like an Archangel, became a moral midget, struggling pitiably against the unforgiving memory of Google and the internet.
How on earth could this brilliant Nigerian, one of our best technocrats, not know the first line in the oriki of the internet? Does the oriki of the internet not describe her as she who never forgets?
For us, his interviewers, it was painful, very painful seeing him reduce himself so pathetically because of political expediency.
From that day on, he never stopped trying to rewrite the oriki of the internet. He never stopped trying to make whole egg-words that had fallen off his tongue and shattered. Were he a Yoruba man, I would have sent him the proverb – the word is an egg. He never stopped trying to beautify Tinubu, Goodluck, and Patience Jonathan.
Every corrupt character he tried to beautify fashioned out a way to use and dump him. Tinubu who embellished his Chicago certificate and Goodluck Jonathan who was never able to justify his UNIPORT PhD were playing Ludo with a man who had had fellowships in Oxford and Harvard and beating him badly. Yet, the man was too far gone in political expediency to notice anything.
Political expediency predictably ruined him in Adamawa.
Now he is back flying all sorts of kites preparatory to returning to APC. He is also back in full readiness to fight corruption. The same corruption he said did not exist under Goodluck Jonathan when he was seeking the PDP ticket in Adamawa now suddenly existed after all and his now ready to join hands with Professor Itse Sagay and the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption.
Of course, Professor Sagay and PACAC can have no better ally in their assignment than Nuhu Ribadu. I agree that they need him. I agree that he can still serve his fatherland enormously by helping that committee.
However, I must warn Professor Sagay to be mindful of the fact that should political expediency require him to do so between now and 2019, Nuhu Ribadu is perfectly capable of saying that he has never ever met Itse Sagay in his life. He is perfectly capable of saying that claims that he recently addressed PACAC are nothing but a figment of the imagination of the enemies of progress.
Political expediency is Nuhu Ribadu’s middle name, his albatross. When he is in that mode, he never remembers the oriki of the internet: she who never forgets.
A final word of advice to this Nigerian. Your great weakness notwithstanding, you still rank among one our best. You still have a lot to give Nigeria. I’ll take your expertise, rooted in cosmopolitan and 21st century ethos any day. I am in fact not one to rule out the possibility of the Presidency for you some Monday for sure.
But it is time for you to start regaining the ground you lost to political expediency. There is ample time for you to repair the damage. You need not start gyrating strategically towards APC. No! Not again, Nuhu. Haba! Is it not a disgrace that with somebody like you in PDP, caterwaulers like Ayo Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode even became the face of the opposition until they were degoatified into silence on account of their Dasuki heist?
Nuhu, you returned $15 million dollars, and charlatans who stole billions of naira are in the same room with you and even became representative voices of your party? Haba! You have a historic responsibility to stay in that party, recreate it by gathering new patriotic brooms around you. Transform it into a viable opposition to APC and President Buhari and you would have contributed immensely to the growth of democracy in your fatherland.
Many of the errors of the rendering we are witnessing with the Buhari Presidency are attributable to the absence of an opposition worthy of that name. In President Buhari’s shoes, I’d misbehave if all the opposition I had in a democracy came in the shape of risible caterwaulers like Ayo Fayose and Femi Fani-Kayode. But I’d sit up quickly and work for Nigeria if I heard Nuhu Ribadu’s name.
Nuhu, you have this jejune idea that you can only help Nigeria from the side of power and that is why you keep doing joro jara joro from party to party, doing incalculable damage to your brand. It’s time to stop. Remain in PDP and build it. PACAC is non-partisan. Nobody says you must be in APC to work with them.
I wish you the best.