LESSONS FROM RIBADU
Evidently there are more that happen behind the curtains of Nigeria's political space than the public knows. The players are unwilling to let outsiders peep into their game. The more you look the less you see and even when you see, there are no guarantees that your interpretation is accurate. That's why the Englishman says 'all that glitters is not gold', a saying the bombastic pastor Kris Okotie would have expressed thus: 'all articles that are resplendent are not truly auriferous'.
There are more in political circles than meets the eye, which is why we may never get to know the currents running through Nuhu Ribadu's imminent return from self exile and possible return to the presidency. If whispers from the seat of power are anything to go by, Ribadu may emerge in more powerful regalia than he wore in the past.
Those are the intractable mysteries that come with politics. This same man was running for cover, virtually hiding like a fugitive, briefly sneaking into the country in an apparent decoy that caught the then brand new Inspector General of police, Ogbonnaya Onovo, napping. He had come to pay condolemces to the late irrepressible Gani Fawehinmi.
He was hounded out of the country allegedly by victims of his anti corruption fight during his tenure as helmsman at Economic and Financial Crime Commission[EFCC]. Ribadu had alleged that former Governor of Delta State James Ibori was at the head of a powerful group close to the Presidency, bent on settling scores with him. The cross fire raged in the media between Ribadu and Ibori with each calling the other to step into his territory for a fight. Ribadu kept daring Ibori to step into London and prove his manhood, just as Ibori, well entrenched in Nigeria kept putting it back to Ribadu to come home and face the long hands of the law.
Is it not strange that Ribadu the hangman could also die? If there is any lesson to be learnt in his impending return reportedly billed for this weekend, it is that the hunter can also be hunted. Ribadu had a swagger and a messianic demeanor that saw him breeding down on 'corrupt' public officers. They were more doomed if Baba OBJ did not like their face or you had any remote link with Atiku Abubakar who did not think that Baba should entrench himself and enjoy his God-given power to the fullest even if it meant elongating his tenure or, why not, getting an indefinite tenure. Ask DSP, erstwhile Governor-General of the Ijaw nation how his own country officials urged the London metropolitan police to keep him behind bars even when the people had no need or use for him. Ask him how he was impeached at the behest of Baba and the instrumentality of Ribadu's EFCC. But Alams would rather have a sound sleep or do something else with his time than talk about Obasanjo whom he confesses to have no respect for.
Such disposition is borne out of things the man knows but would not say, things he would rather bear than bare. Baba and Ribadu were men of force who did not understand civil language or procedure, which was why a man like Governor Dariye could be impeached with minority members of the state Assembly. By the way what has happened to the money intercepted with the former Plateau Governor?
Ribadu was the man to be dreaded. He was the czar who did not brook any criticsm or listen to voices blabbibng about the selective method of his anti corruption crusade, a procudure that made the body a willing tool in the hands of the President Obasanjo. In the hey days of 2007 gubernatorial contest, Obasanjo had gone for a Peoples Democratic Party campaign in Ondo where Segun Mimiko was running against his anointed candidate Olusegun Agagu. Baba , ever so blunt and brash, told the crowd that Mimiko was a stubborn person who had rebuffed all entrities not to run against Agagu.
He admonished them not to waste their votes on the man because on return to Abuja he would unleash Ribadu's EFCC on the stubborn man. He tried without success, a move that would only have equaled the record of Governor T.A Orji who won election from Ribadu's detention. Yes, this same Ribadu. There must be something they know that we do not. If only they would tell us. Thank God for the courts. Men of force never reckon with the law but the later never fails to prevail. That's why Agagu is Governor today in spite of manipulations that turned a winner to an initial loser.
Tables have turned again. Providence has smiled on Ribadu again. He has recovered all he lost, rank, pay , prestige and all. But I expect that, like the legendry Chinua Achebe would say, he ought to know where the rain began beating him, so he would know when it stops. His is a lesson to all men of power. It is transient. Certainly Nuhu Ribadu knows that by now. So should all men of power. And many men of power hardly get a second chance like Ribadu.
This chance, for the erstwhile anti corruption fighter, is one to make you sober and reflective. If, as we hear, President Goodluck Jonathan intends to give him some responsibilities then Ribadu has a golden chance to chart a new course. An adage tells the kite to watch as the fowl is dissected and know that the dissecting knife lies in wait for it. Today James Ibori is the fugitive. Yesterday Ribadu was. Tomorrow it could be anybody. And when tomorrow comes villains of yesterday could turn heroes.