Ribadu Remains The Only Saint That Led Anti-Corruption EFCC
If you want to hang a dog, you give it a bad name. We have a way of rubbishing our heroes in Africa. Some of you may be too young to remember why Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown or why Patrice Lumumba was humiliated to death. If Mandela was not blessed with long life, he could have gone the way most of his comrades did in South Africa. In Nigeria, looters have a way of soiling good people either with big sticks or carrots. Nuhu Ribadu got both into oblivion.
If you do not understand why looters were after the life of Nuhu Ribadu as the head of EFCC, Economic and Financial Crime Commission then, you cannot hide your hypocrisy any longer. After Ribadu was haunted, chased, demoted and almost assassinated; Tinubu rubbished him as a Presidential candidate. We wondered out loud about the sins he had committed other than being dedicated to his job. In Nigeria, like most other African countries, dedication is a sin!
Since this man left EFCC, we have not had a credible and dedicated enemy of corruption as vigorous, dynamic and incorrigible as Ribadu. The worst critics he had claimed he was an attack dog set against Obasanjo’s enemies. He challenged them to name any head of state that has ever given so much power to anti-corruption Czar to go after his friends, his ethnic group or hired international auditor to probe his government’s agency.
We do not know the details of the current allegations against the present Head of EFCC Magu but we had the same types of allegation against every head of EFCC after Ribadu. Some of us might have wondered if Ribadu was crazy in a country where most normal people are corrupt. So much so, they will confess that they are waiting for their time to loot like others. Nigeria had many honest people like Prof. Fabian Osuji and Dr. Adenike Grange humiliated for their naïvety.
The same Nigerians taught Obasanjo how to steal. Yes you read that right. This man was a Head of State under the military that almost went bankrupt after he left with little money in banks. If he was a looter, he could have run out of the Country to enjoy his foreign money before Abacha grabbed him and almost killed him in prison for his big mouth against that dictator. When he finally left prison after Abacha’s death, guess who sponsored him to run as a civilian President?
These were boys under him when he was the military head of state that had acquired money by looting in the various offices they headed. OBJ was so naïve, he wondered how they got so rich while he got so poor! He was so obsessed with what he accomplished as military head of state, he could not see “CMS Straight”. Yet people hated him and called him all kinds of names.
In his second coming, he promised himself not to be poor and naïve again. He probably stole Nigeria blind too. But he did accomplish a great deal better than some before and all after him. This is not the place to list his success and failure but a place to point out that we lump good, mediocre and average accomplishments together out of greed, selfishness, ethnicity and pure hypocrisy. Nigerians find it difficult to agree on sound judgment on reputable leaders.
It is one of the reasons we keep on getting bad leaders that play into our prejudices. It does not matter how corrupt or mediocre a leader is, his ethnic base will support him. They are ready to vote for him again and again, even if he does not deserve or earn our votes. Some African leaders have gone further and grab power after losing elections refusing to concede to the opposition, others die on the throne. They know their ethnic group will back them.
Buhari is now the leader of Nigeria. While those that voted for him even admitted to his weakness, he is strong on anti-corruption and security. In spite of all his effort, some are still lamenting on the loss of power by their kinsmen. Buhari came into power because he has a reputation against corruption and bringing people to justice. The distractors will never admit to his strength or the awareness against corruption since Ribadu or Bihari taming of Boko Haram.
Ribadu is now a spent force, brought down by the same people he fought against and that almost assassinate him. He was brought to his knees, made to retract his vouch indictment of the high and the mighty by dangling death and Presidential Candidate in his face. He lost all the credibility he championed. He became meek and gentle and lost his fangs.
Humiliation of dedicated men and women that are ready to stand up and fight for their country is not the right way to reward those we should encourage to aspire higher. Our youths need heroes to look up to and emulate in high places. If all they see are vagabonds looting treasury to aggrandize one another, buying awards all over the globe, praised by the community and people they spray money on; we are losing generation of good young men and women.
There are people giving up and calling most African countries lost cause. Some of these are the same generation that crippled most countries after being fed with scholarships and grants all their lives. Instead of making their countries better places than they met them, they become selfish, steal everything they can and desert their countries to become second class citizens, mercenaries and educated contributors to places they are not appreciated, only tolerated.
Many have become economic refugees that cannot afford to live a simple decent life in their own countries with the amount of money they can take back home. The older ones that enjoy free medical treatment abroad know how much it costs to get that treatment at home. If you are not filthy rich like those that fly out for medical checkup or headache, you better stay put where you are and enjoy your retirement with medical benefits.
It boils down to the fact that we do not appreciate dedicated people that are willing to give it all to their countries. People used to be so conscientious that they proclaim openly that they are ready and willing to die for their country. More people are willing to die crossing the sea and desert than to die for their country today. We must raise and encourage those struggling wherever they are for the cause of Africa and for economic justice.
Be it Nuru Ribadu, Professor Fabian Osuji or Dr. Adenike Grange, the youths need someone to look up to and be like them. They must be praised and celebrated but not as looters.
By Farouk Martins Aresa