RETIRED: RIBADU'S GOOD OR BAD DEAL
It has been pronounced and chanted on the hills that Nuhu Ribadu, Obasanjo's anti-graft boss, is well liked in the courts of President Jonathan. In fact, there were no pretences that the government wanted to bring him back and find ways of making use of him again, perhaps, for what he appears to know best how to do.
Now, the latest is that he has been restored with his rank of AIG and promptly retired. That is to say that he has been made victorious over those who wanted him down for his over-charging pattern of fighting graft or wielding the battle axe.
In one specific case, he has triumphed over James Ibori, the man who was believed to have hounded him out of EFCC, Nigeria and much craved national reckoning. And Ibori is now on the run.
Ha! You can see how the table turns. A short while ago, Ribadu was running. Then suddenly, Ibori, the man who caused him to run, is now on the run. What a twist?
However how this will be viewed, what matters now is how Ribadu will handle his successes now that he has become wiser than he was before his fall. At least, he has added three more years to his very rewarding life and should be wiser.
Let us get to what should be his challenges now: One strong lesson he must have learnt is that every endeavour demands moderation or responsibility. Another is that no matter how an individual appears to be strong, he is still human, vulnerable and extinguishable. Yet another is that as it is in the case of a nation so complex and struggling for cohesion, excesses in matters of dealing with individuals and groups can be elaborated, bloated out of control and exploited for divisive actions. The last, but not the least, is that the era of 'zombie' or 'carry go' may have since ended with our democracy journeying into its second decade. But I am not saying that our police force has been extinguished.
No doubt, so many persons and groups, for reasons known to many but never voiced, will tell you that Ribadu approached the anti-graft war with zeal and disregard to personal comfort and safety.
On account of this, they had cheered and urged the cop to further move without regard for anything called order and due process.
To be fair to these Nigerians, the damage that corruption has done to the country has been so much that many have even wished instant death by public execution as the remedy. Indeed, corruption has eaten so deep into the country that you can hardly come across any establishment, public or private, which is not battling to hold its values against some dug-in habits of pilfering and plundering. It was against the background of the devastation of corruption that one scholar has asked for addition of 'morality' as one other of Nigeria 's factor of production, because according to him, the other four will always come to nil if not anchored on 'morality' of actions and intents.
So, when so many had argued that Ribadu had been lawless, vengeful and high-handed, on behalf of Obasanjo, one respondent to a question I once posed retorted, 'is there any person arrested and tried by Ribadu who can claim he was not corrupt?' In other words, while the respondent admitted that the trend of arrests and prosecution presented the picture of vengeance against political opponents of OBJ, yet, that did not remove the fact that those arrested and tried had cases to answer. And that is even if other known plunderers were left out.
Yes, that was a strong argument but it also did not remove the necessity for Ribadu to be lawful, even handed, less political and less theatrical. For instance, why, in the name of whatever motivated Ribadu, would he pull in state Assembly members into EFCC offices where he ordered them to impeach their governors?
Remember the cases of Plateau State legislators who were chased around Plateau State like rabbits. In one case, they were holed inside a court premises in Jos while EFCC men surrounded the premises. Even elder statesman, Solomon Lar, had to hang in with the harangued law makers for succour of some minutes. Yet, these men were not actually the targets of EFCC but had been wanted to be compelled to impeach the governor, Joshua Dariye.
By these actions, wasn't Ribadu's EFCC a threat to democracy rather than an amplifier of due process and orderliness, which we needed for our democracy to survive and thrive?
Well, what is important now is that Ribadu, whether he returns to EFCC or gets appointed into another office may have understood that you do not wield the axe to chase away a mosquito perched on our cheek. If you do, you commit murder instead of simply blowing off the pest. An over kill!
You do not boast on national television that you would arrest your father to be seen to be performing and courageous. If you do, you are just reducing the entire enterprise to mere child-like tantrums and theatrics.
The future is a newer and better chance.