Nuhu Ribadu: A Tactless Political Nomad…By Emmanuel Ariyo
The different political gladiators within Adamawa state have been busy strategising on how to gain the upper hand ahead of the gubernatorial election coming up soon. Much of the buzz seems to be coming from politicians within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who recently recovered the governorship seat the party lost due to the defection of the former governor from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC). This recovery was made possible via the impeachment of former Governor Nyako by the PDP dominated house of assembly on the 15th of July 2014.
Since the impeachment of the erstwhile Governor of the state Admiral Murtala Nyako, there have been a lot of permutations and speculations regarding the political future of state. While all the Local Governments’ Chairmen and Council Development Centre Administrators who decamped with Nyako to the APC, have since returned to the PDP, pledging their loyalty to the Acting Governor Umaru Fintiri. The Acting Governor has also in return showered the returnee Chairmen with gift of Toyota SUVs. A move seen by political watchers as aiming to buy some grassroots support in preparation for the coming governorship election, which he obviously appears interested to contest in contrary to popular expectation. Other aspirants like General Buba Marwa, Senator Girei, Engr Marcus Gundiri, Barr Awwal Tukur and former Presidential aide Ahmed Gulak have also not been left out in the political manoeuvrings. Buba Marwa has in the past weeks being getting voice affirmation from PDP delegates from the different senatorial zones of the state ahead of party primaries. Others have also been reported to be making necessary consultations with relevant stakeholders within the state.
However, the biggest media buzz in the recent weeks has been the rumoured defection of the erstwhile Chairman of the EFCC; the former presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011 elections and a current chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from his current party to the PDP in Adamawa state. What started out as a mere story in the realm of conjecture has since taken on a life of its own. In fact if emanating reports are anything to go by this move is as good as done, already very official. The defection by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is getting a lot of hype and attention because it comes to many political observers as quite a big surprise. The surprise element in this move as got much to do with its suddenness, and also the perceived image of the man at the centre of the developing political drama in Adamawa state. Nigerians who see Ribadu as one of the few good men in Nigerian politics keeping the flag of opposition high and flying are asking why he would contemplate such a move at the very moment. The story in town indicates that some of his powerful friends within the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hierarchy hatched the idea of poaching Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from the All Progressive Congress to fly the party’s flag in the forth coming gubernatorial election in Adamawa State. Contrary to the expectation of many Nigerians and my humble self alike Ribadu could not dare resist this tempting offer, even if it strips him of his invincibility.
Ever since this story made headlines I have followed with keen interest several PR efforts aimed at dousing the disappointment and obviously bad taste accompanying this latest political move by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. His media team has cited the need to answer a clarion call from his people has the reason for his current political adventure or misadventure as some would love to put it. Some youths whose opinion on national issues I have developed admiration for overtime have also conveniently claimed that, as long as the main actor in the unravelling political drama in Adamawa remains Retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu, the former action Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), he can afford to engage in whatever form of political somersaults he so desires, and their shall be no consequences. In fact some in the same school of thoughts have said since in their view, the APC and the PDP remains the same without any difference, Ribadu should waste no time in displaying to the world without ambiguity his chameleonic abilities. In short for those in support of his defection, their presumed “end” justifies the means. Is this the best type of bravery and courage our politics can offer in these challenging times?
The stark truth be told, Ribadu’s defection has depleted his honour in the eyes of many of his admirers and ironically even among those we easily refer to as “thieves”, a gang whose membership he has knowingly or unknowingly secured from this day. It is my humble view that a man does not become a thief only when he is caught stealing physically, if a man repeatedly shows that he has absolutely no qualms taking over the reward of the sweat and hard work of another man without his consent, he has got the heart of a thief. If there was any doubt before now, it has now become crystal clear that the man Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is not only desperately ambitious; he is also easily given to opportunism. For if that wasn’t the case, which issues does he have with his now former party the All Progressive Congress (APC) that weren’t there before or as a matter of fact gradually being solved. It must be that, he either did not see these problems earlier or chose not to see them, yes, because APC was as then the party in power in Adamawa state. A very perfect script for an opportunistic man who desperately craves for power at all cost. Ribadu has by his action, made people like Gen.Marwa and Engr Marcus Gundiri very honourable, because they openly admitted their displeasure with the arrangement in Adamawa APC and eventually left even when power was still firmly with the APC in the state. If indeed Ribadu had any genuine grouse that was his time to do the honourable thing. But he couldn’t dare. Whatever excuses are being offered at the moment to justify his action against the party are simply after thoughts, which will further damage him and not the APC if he continues to fly the same kite.
If Mallam Nuhu Ribadu had any moral right before now to deceive the public about his admiration for internal democracy, by now he must realise that his hypocrisy in that regard is not just common knowledge but as become a matter of fact. His recent action has shown that he has absolutely no regard for political party internal democracy that recognises the inalienable right of party members to choose within them those they want to represent them. It is common place in a democracy for associate members to look within for leadership. So on what basis is our dear friend Nuhu Ribadu gate crashing the PDP gubernatorial primaries in the eleventh hour? It is certainly not on the concept of internal democracy, evidences available suggests that the bravado being displayed by Ribadu is powered by the seemingly inevitable imposition that is about to be by powers that be from the national level of the party. This is even more corroborated by the evident display of disapproval from the local chapter of the party to the entry of a man who they do not consider a part of them physically or in spirit. A man who has spent the better part of the last three and a half years summarising the PDP has vomit that should be avoided by all and sundry but in a sudden volte-face now rushes the same vomit like Indomie. Is that what answering the people’s clarion call about or satisfying blind ambition? What is Political leadership about if Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will not be the change he wants ordinary Nigerians to be, if at every moment of temptation he recants? If a man of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu’s status crumbles at the offer of Political juice, does he still have a right to tell a hungry Nigerian not to sell his votes to feed his stomach?
If one hour is described as very long a time in politics, even with all the powerful assurance that he is said to have gotten towards his aspiration, what if he does not get the PDP ticket at the end of the day? What if he gets it, and a repeat scenario of what happened to his father Alhaji Ahmadu Ribadu when he suffered a shock defeat to a relatively unknown candidate in the 1979 gubernatorial election of Old Gongola state, after he secured the NPN ticket against all odds occurs again? Even if by mother luck Nuhu Ribadu gets the PDP ticket and eventually wins the election, will he meet up with the expectation of those that are optimistic about this grand “man know man” arrangement that has propped him up among “political wolves”. Considering that it was the same type of arrangement that brought in the former Governor Murtala Nyako back in 2007. On all of these unknowns, time shall surely tell.
For a man who goes about with a very high sense of entitlement, I want to admonish Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to understand that he has so far neither been the most competent, nor the most popular in the political contest that he has been involved in. Most of his ascendance has been due to providence, and he should be grateful rather than feeling self entitled. He was co-opted into the then ACN and eventually made its Presidential candidate in 2011 without any structure. In fact he came alone. Now he has left the emergent bigger APC to go into the PDP without any structure and followers again, gathering no moss. I think Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as a politician should worry about this un-encouraging reality. Politics and political leadership is more about the leader, the people and the ability to persuade them. Whatever technical competence and energy he relies on can never replace this necessity. To be precise I am of the opinion that Mallam Nuhu Ribadu more than any other person, is the one that needs to work on his personality and people management not those he and his aides easily try to blame for his woes. Thank God we still have individual exceptions that were before Nuhu Ribadu and are still standing even now that he is fallen on the way side. If not for these few last men standing, I imagine what Nigerian democracy would be like today, possibly similar to Egypt’s democracy under Hosni Mubarak. Pray, God forbid!
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