Mallam Nuhu Ribadu Has no Faith in Prophet Mohammed or Allah 

It has become obvious that the history of Nigeria cannot be completely written without the mention of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). When this institution (EFCC) was signed into law, the belief to everyone was that it would bring succor to the common-man because money meant to elevate living standards of Nigerians would be judiciously utilized. How then can you talk about this important institution in the lives of Nigerians without the mention of its chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. No doubt corruption is the antithesis of Nigeria's democracy, so courage and faith are the key words Ribadu needed to radically reduce this most dreaded disease in Nigeria. It's a           shame that, Ribadu, like his former boss, Chief Obasanjo,(OBJ) missed the great opportunity to write his name in "gold" in African history. 

When the media quoted Ribadu as a man ready to die for Nigeria in the course of fighting this magnanimous war against corruption, the thought of courage and faith crossed our minds. Why would anyone doubt Ribadu when he beats his chest frequently that he knows how to cleanse the nation of corruption? To have faith, is to believe or trust in your creator, Almighty God and His son Jesus Christ. But to the Muslims, which Ribadu is, after God, is Prophet Mohammed. Faith can be buttressed from the teachings of the Holy Bible which says, "He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord." This is a powerful part of the scripture Ribadu and many others are not privilege to know. Imagine when you lend to the Lord, what is it on this planet earth and in Heaven do you need that God would not give you? Is it protection, or your needs, just name it. Inshort, every person with wisdom want to be a creditor to God because of the embarrassing reward associated with it. Perhaps, if Ribadu had known this fact, he would have damned the consequences of crossing the path of his boss (Chief Obasanjo) and carry out his assigned duties of reducing corruption which is a direct assistance to poor Nigerians. There are many ways to give to the poor, and this is one of it. Indeed, when you give to the poor, you don't see God standing there to witness your kindness, but because you believe, there comes your faith and your huge reward. If Ribadu knew this but refused not to cross the path of his bosses: first was OBJ and now is President Yar'Adua, for certain reasons, then the question is; what are his problems? His wife didn't marry and bore children for him because he is the chairman of EFCC. Ribadu is not seen as the average Nigerian with complex who thinks that only their position in office and being affluent can make them pose for their concubines and wives. Suffice it to say, that Ribadu should not get sleep when Nigerians die of hunger on a daily basis in a country that is blessed abundantly. 

One school of thought feels that Ribadu does not want to investigate the cronies of his bosses ÔÇścause he is contended with being a local champion in Nigeria. Another group of tink-tank feels that, if he had done a good job without any exception to the laws of corruption, chances are that he could get more paying job(s) abroad like some of his counterparts who got better job offers at the World bank or else where across the globe as well as leave a sound legacy for his generation. 

It's palpable that Ribadu did not understand the role his commission was meant to play in the lives of Nigerians. Perhaps, with his education and exposure, he did not know that the debit to his monthly income was not charged to OBJ's business empire but to the nation's resources. Imagine how people perish daily in Nigeria due to bad roads and most of the money meant for road construction was last seen on paper, and thereafter the money vanished into the bank accounts of the untouchable(s) yet Ribadu is comfortable with that. The revelations of Alhaji Atiku during the OBJ/Atiku saga have been swept under the carpet. We would continue to go on and on because instances abound where Ribadu turned his eyes in the opposite direction of massive corruption. What about the glaring financial profligacy that took place in NPA few years ago? But for Bode George, the NPA chieftain who filled a legal suit for his supposedly libel, the recent revelations, would have eluded Nigerians if Bello, the guy who represented EFCC was not there to tell some of the heart-breaking and half-baked stories. Furthermore, you want to ask that if Ribadu is a trained lawyer and Police officer, does it mean he doesn't have people trained in finance in his team? Whereas the Elders Forum in Delta State is telling us that the embezzlement in Delta State under Chief Ibori's leadership is more than 150bn naira, Ribadu is telling us of a peanut of 9bn naira against Ibori. Does it look like Ribadu knows what he is doing? Though you don't want to jump to bias conclusion, but it's interesting to know the facts. The reality is that, on a monthly average, billions of naira was disbursed to Delta State for a period of 8 years during Ibori's tenure. On this note, you're inclined to tilt towards the figures of the Elders Forum, give or take 3% margin of error. In effect, the 9bn quoted by EFCC against Ibori can be disingenuous to Nigerians. On the other hand, just after Ibori left office, we were told that, Ibori was questioned by EFCC and his travel passport was under EFCC lock-and-key. But how the same Ibori traveled to America and elsewhere remains a secret to presidency and EFCC. Of course Nigerians don't have the right to know even when a different picture was painted earlier to the public. When Ibori was recently arrested, we were told that EFCC had been looking for him as if EFCC did not know that Ibori had been moving freely in and out of the gates of Aso Rock. Oh yes, it's a coincidence that, Ibori was only arrested when Ribadu's current boss traveled outside the country, and the plea-bargain chorus is waiting to be executed in a bid to continue to cheat on poor Nigerians.  

Ribadu told law makers in Nigeria recently that, "I challenge all of us to take the lead in changing our country. History will judge us harshly if we fail." What an irony. Does Ribadu not know that his ex-uniform counterparts (military men) he exempted from investigation are still manipulating the polity of the nation till today with their ill-gotten wealth? Or it is a secret to him that the greed and unaccountability of those military men pauperize Nigerians and yet they're living in opulence and causing political instability. Here was a man (Ribadu) given all the tools to fight corruption, he decided to make exceptions against the Act that set-up EFCC, and yet had the effrontery to tell law makers that, "law makers in several countries have been in the vanguard of positive change of their societies. You should not be an exception." Ribadu has not asked himself why he decided to make exceptions to his investigations. Apparently, he does not have the courage and desired faith to do the job. Initially, we thought he had too many cases to deal with at a time and would soon catch-up, but it turns out that, the nation's path to reduce corruption under Ribadu is still very far-away. This writer could be the most disappointed person across the globe on Ribadu's performance especially as the first chairman of this commission. With all sincerity, this is a simple job to uplift the poor and make life more meaningful to mankind in Nigeria. There is danger in Ribadu setting this pace, because the next person to take over this leadership would begin with a dilemma. 

It's still a surprise to many people that Ribadu has not adequately addressed the nation's myriad corruption cases. Indeed, his fight has only reverberated in certain quarters. Ribadu ought to have put in herculean effort, instead of his miniature style. If the founders of democracy thought of Executive, Judiciary, and Legislature, what is wrong with Nigeria modifying her own democracy to include EFCC as the 4th arm of government in order to bump up living conditions of the masses in Nigeria? 

Tosan Okotie lives in Texas, United States 

December 27, 2007