Exit Ribadu? Commentary By Wole Soyinka

By Professor Wole Soyinka 

I can only hope that Benazir Bhutto’s followers will forgive me for saying this, but the news of Nuhu Ribadu’s removal from the anti-corruption Nigerian organization known as the EFCC will have, in all likelihood, a far more devastating impact on the psyche of the Nigerian nation than the deadly event that now threatens to further destabilize the tortured nation known as Pakistan, through the assassination of her democratic front runner, Benazir Bhutto. Let me pause here to express my sincere condolences to the people of Pakistan. 

What is at stake for us in Nigeria is not much different however: the restoration and consolidation of democracy, not in any sentimental or rhetorical sense, but as a lived reality that restores dignity to the people of any nation and guarantees their day to day security. The precarious socio-political condition into which the Pakistani people have been thrown  echoes, in both parallel and divergent directions, the blow dealt to the Nigerian nation by the ‘assassination’ of the head of an organization that commenced the process of restoring dignity to a people whose nation has become a byword for the most breath-taking scam in high-places, for endemic corruption, a contempt for accountability and transparency and the abuse of national resources in the pursuit of personal and party power consolidation. 

At every opportunity, we have stressed the obvious but ignored fact that the liberalization of political space is contingent upon the moral cleansing of such space. Thus the need to identify and contain – including by punitive means – individuals and organizations that operate on the open nexus easily summed up as: power derives from corruption which in turn fuels and guarantees power.  The battle against corruption therefore goes beyond the walling out of illegal economic advantages. Corruption is the very bedrock of political illegitimacy. The tree of democracy cannot thrive on the compost of corruption.


This obvious attempt at crippling one of the two anti-corruption crusade agencies of the nation, unarguably aggressive and result oriented on an unprecedented scale must therefore be read as an assault on the very bastion of democracy. Again, I refer to my earlier indications: that the riddle of most of the political murders in the nation will be solved when the anti-corruption project has attained its ultimate goal of unearthing the hidden.  Let me refer yet again to the notorious case where a presiding judge on a politically motivated murder case threatened early to withdraw from the case. Soon after, he withdrew from the case altogether – the pressure, he openly announced, coming from the most unexpected quarters, had made his task impossible. That judge noted down details of monetary inducements that were offered to make him grant bail to a high-profile suspect. The upward spiral of that political suspect since his ‘acquittal’ says much about the umbilical cord that trails from material to political corruption. 

The ruling party of Nigeria, the PDP has proved yet again that there is no reformist agenda possible within its ranks. The presidential incumbent bears the primary and ultimate responsibility for this grotesque reversal of the nation’s frustrated push towards possible redemption, but it is the ruling party itself, the PDP, that continues to suffocate the nation in its folds of corruption, negating every attempt to rid her of this incubus, since that party has exhibited itself, again and again, as the very quagmire of corruption, nurtured on corruption, sustained by corruption and dependent on corruption for its very survival.  

Let all sophistry be abandoned – the removal of Nuhu Ribadu is not about the removal of one individual. We are talking about signals, portents for future conduct, about the erosion of credibility, abandonment of principle, all of which of course transcends any individual. The timing, when viewed with the recent call to re-open the case-files of unsolved political murders, will be regarded as a coincidence only by starry-eyed innocents from space – good luck to them. Those of us who have the slightest knowledge of behind-the-scenes manipulations since the trail of detection moved ever closer to the very apex of governance under the past regime, know that the nation was being brought closer and closer to the dismantling of one of the most sinister and corrupt governance machines that this nation has ever confronted – including even the incontinent reign of Sanni Abacha.  

Ribadu’s removal is therefore not an individual predicament. The situation here does not permit of the familiar cliche of any one individual being less than an institution or agency – no, that is not the issue! The issue is that an effective agency has been tampered with, unnecessarily, but with transparent motivations that constitute an assault on the corporate integrity of the nation. The trust of the nation has been abused – that is the issue. Instead of reinforcing the autonomy of an organization that is clearly dedicated to probity and political integrity, notice has been sent to all four corners of the nation, and to the international community that, at the slightest threat to the hegemony of corrupt rule, the credibility of even the most laudable institutions will be eroded. 

Is this the last word? Is Nuhu Ribadu yet another sacrificial lamb on the altar of success and promise of more and more success?  If so, the nation has indeed been brought to an abysmal low. Confusion has been deliberately and liberally sown. The reign of vanishing files, denied directives and ambiguous legal advices has begun where dubious Attorney-Generals fill the vacuum created by high level movements of personnel in multiple directions where those in the most sensitive and knowledgable places vanish into the bureaucratic maze, with hardly a trace of the rewards of their long dedicated industry.  Technical extensions of cut-and-dried prosecutions will now lengthen into eternity and of course – oblivion.  

What a dismal, contemptuous New Year gift to the nation! Again, I lament with the democratic people of Pakistan but, even in the midst of your grief, spare a moment of pity for that land of eternal missed opportunities and blighted hopes, that clay-footed giant sibling on a continent to your West, known as – Nigeria.


15 responses to “Exit Ribadu? Commentary By Wole Soyinka

  1. Democracy can neither be attained nor sustained in a state of political illegitimacy.

    Mr. Nuhu Ribadu has been removed to scuttle the prosecution of the daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the other criminal suspects who were sponsors of the presidential campaign of Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua and were also the employers of the political thugs and other criminals who rigged the last April polls in Nigeria.

    The cookie is crumbling.

  2. Shamefully, Nigeria is a place where nobody is actually decieved because everyone knows what is going on, but no one openly admits – for obvious reason. But for those who are observing from outside the country, the more you look, the less you see.

    Wole Soyinka has said a little about the ongoings in Nigeria. I said little because the situation in Nigeria is too much for any individual to utter or totally analize. A thief like Yar’ Adua who have been incubated in the coven of corruption, the first thing he did, after being swearing in as a drudge President, was to make a false declaration of assets that which was a frantic attempt to lunder his image. However, we were never decieved, because he bore the draconian mark of curruption, even as the flag-bearer of the PDP, which is a citadel of decadence. In Nigeria,here are men of proven integrity such as Gani Fawehinme, Wole Soyinka, Tam David West, Prof. Nimi Briggs etc. Non of these men would have accepted a stolen mandate. Yar’ Adua and his accomplices disemfranchised the elctorate and stole the people’s mandate in order to parpetuate their cleptomania and curruption, which ofcourse, can only be sustained by currpt means as is being demonstrated in the phantom training assignment to which they are about to send Ribadu, despite the stipulations of the Law that expressly make the EFCC Chairman only answerable to the National Assembly, and also set down specific circumstances under which he can be remove by the president’s recommendations to the National Assembly. Also consideration the elongation of his tenure which temporarily places him outside the direct jurisdiction of the Police.
    Secondly, no well meaning president will condon a currupt Attorney General such as Aondoaka or what ever his name may.
    Lets us see what they will do from here. If they succeed in removing Ribadu, the next thing they’d do is the get Ibori released on bail and distroy the files that contain the criminal charges against ex-governor and politicians.

    God will punish all of them, thunder will fire them. Nigeria is God’s own country, and no individual or group of persons can bind us in this web of corruption.

  3. Dodlas Dod-Man thank you for your write up.I have been writing about the corruption in Nigeria for some time now. People like you have been doing that but some ass lickers feel that it is the right for some psychopathic thief’s who masquerade as political leaders(my ass) to loot and subjugate its citizens to object poverty and oblivion. What a pity.
    Some are even happy that Ribadu is sent on a spurious course, did I hear demoted? In the first place the action or Yar Adua or the IG of police obeying the orders of Yar Adua is illegal. The office of the chairman of EfCC is answerable to the parliament ,but they now used a phantom reason to pushed the poor man just to pleased Ibori and other corrupt political rascals .We are watching what will happen .
    God bless Nigeria Amen

  4. It’s too early to know why. Let’s see if Yar’ Aadua will choose the way of his predecessor , who chose earthly riches instead of honor, integrity and God. I dey sidon look.

  5. I have not forgotten that Ribadu’s FECC was used to blackmail minority house of assembly members sometimes at night to impeach errant governors Alams and plateau state that I can rember.
    It was not that lpng not to mention his list of unfit political candidates. I do not hold brief for sleaze but justice should be blind and the next chairman may indeed be blind. Ribadu is not the only human that can occupy that position. Let us build our society on process instead of personality. I hope my hero Soyinka Understands that too. My humble contribution. I did not forget the constitutional and human rights abuse of the process and period. I want all thieves in jail, but it must be transparent and seem to be fair without the colouration of CHOICE.

  6. Am still not sure how folks out here are putting up sentiments in a rather pure admin
    istrative wacky, Ribadu is not a guy who belives in the new mantra of Umaru, RULE OF
    LAW, her eis a guy who is biased and double-mouthed that even his bootlicker would a
    gree with fight! Double standared all over the place. For instance, The 2 senate rep
    orts on PTDF exonorated Adenuga of any below the belt deal, Yet Ribadu is just willin
    g to do OBJ stuffs, here was a man , i mean Adenuga who had paid for his license 8mon
    ths before the PTDF money was placed, yet Ribadu would want me to belive it was the s
    ame money that was used in paying for the Glo SNC licence, can somebody see what am s
    eeing here? Even when PNB paribas issued a statement, which i thought was independ
    ently verified by me? I mean , the removal or forced leave of this arrogant guy is a
    Good radiance to Bad rubbish, i mean ARRANT NONSENSE!!!

  7. I will like to say that the current happenings vis avis the removal of Ribadu should not be looked upon as business as usual in Nigeria. Until we build a system which is not dependent on individuals in Nigeria, we shall get no where. What of if Ribadu had died, does that mean there can not be another person among the 140 million Nigerians to do the job? I do not want to comment on his style but we Nigerians including the learned professionals are the reason why Nigeria is like this. Many leraned men have served in the despotic governments. IBB assembled a group of high profile Nigerians but never provided a system Nigeria can depend on. How does the EFCC operate? Is it transparent? Has Ribadu built a system that can be accessed and operated by any other individual who occupies the post? Most Nigerians leaders always leave a place worse than how they met it. I do hope Ribadu is not the hard disc of EFCC that is non transferable. If that is the case, then we have not started fighting corruption. This is not to say that Ribadu as an individual has not done a good job. He has high profiled fighting corruption which is a mantra in our society. Thank you Ribadu!!!. I will plead with Prof to use his vantage position to dissuade Nigerians and the world that in Nigeria we are capable of seeking out persons who can do jobs assigned to them just like Ribadu did 4 years ago when called upon. Let us separate individuals from institutions in our quest to salvage Nigeria.

  8. Emeka Aneke (Wiltshire)

    I’ve always had this niggling doubt about Yar’Adua; being someone whom, though might not have corruptly enriched himself but has benefited from such i.e being propelled to power from the proceeds of ill-gotten wealth. This begs the question, “What’s the difference? Stealing or being in receipt of stolen goods is crime by any definition. Of course, if someone that I’m not totally convinced about his source of wealth offers me $1 billions, I will be asking questions. You bet!

    Yar’Adua seems to think that he’s doing a good job in covering his tracks but let him bear in mind that Nigerians are no longer as naive as they were when his elder brother suddenly became enormously wealthy after serving as the Nigeria’s 2nd-in-Command for just 3 yrs.

    Ribadu was probably slightly too subservient to Obasanjo and may have pursued his boss’s – OBJ – percieved enemies with vigour but who could do such precarious job better than Ribadu? Nobody! I hope Mr President proves me wrong.

    I can now see that the likes of Buhari will always be sidelined and even rigged out at elections by any means possible, as they would certainly be giving people with skeletons in their cupboards some sleepless nights.

    Without a doubt, I smell a rat here.

  9. Be it a reality or a rumour, it depicts a signal that the evil tools in power have again shown us what they are really up to. We masses know quite well that they are into all these just for their selfish interest to close their wardrobe of corruption. We all know that they are deceiving us. Let us wait and see where they are heading to , since we dont have the power to persuade the political garrsion in control.

  10. I have read and I am looking forward to read more from those who are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

    Until we sack the notorious People’s Democratic Party (PDP), corruption will continue to be the order of the day in Nigeria.

    Are there no Jerry Rawlings in the Nigerian Armed Forces?

  11. prof soyinka as eloquent as ever.a man that understands the workings of the nation .it is also quite apt that there are parallels between nigeria and pakistan.the assasination of bhutto is certainly akin to the the destruction of transparency and probity in nigeria.what amazes me is the blatant manner in which these things are done with no regard to the national interest,as if there are no repercussions.sorry to disappoint you but there are .the general psyche of the populace is always a reflection of the government in power.so don’t complain about the level of crime as the perpetrators take their cue from the armed robbers with the pen.don’t complain about the demands from the niger delta because they see no improvement for their lot.don’t complain about the decline in our educational system ,the elite do not use it anyway and those that managed to get through cannot find a job.notwithstanding the fact that we have a prestigeous institution in kuru that selfless efficient competent people get sent to for reorientation.all this is comical if it were’nt for the tragic consequences that will emanate from it.anyone with abit of sense can see where this is heading.with illegal bunkering arms dealing lack of nationhood i just wonder if the balkans may ring a bell.for our sake i hope not been through biafra and have the tee shirt to prove it.but somehow i’m not sure.may the lord guide us through this malaise before it is too late.

  12. Harrison Iyamanbhor

    tongolo: Sorry to disappoint you. There never was nor will there be a Jerry Rawlings in the Nigerian Armed Forces. For those in the Forces now, they either lack the intelligence or the courage and sincerity of JJ.

    However, Military Coup is no longer popular in Africa. I was expecting you’d suggest a mass revolution to flush out the entire rotten system.

    I agree with Emeka Aneke (above). Yar’Adua is tarred with the same brush as those who financed his electioneering with embezzled State funds.

    In fact, President Yar’Adua is only trying to save his own skin by manipulating the removal of Ribadu.

  13. It beats my imagination how we Nigerians react to issues that concern us. We were the same people including my most respected Prof Soyinka that accused Ribadu of selective corruption fighting sometime ago. Now he has been asked to go on a course and we are shouting again that that is the wrong signal. Please let us not forget that Ribadu is a police officer and until he resigns as such he is subject to the rules guiding police training. In Nigeria, it appears that playing to the gallery has become a entreenched in our constitution. Lets take a look back. Ribadu has been promoted from Asst Com Police to Ast Inspector General without undergoing neccessary courses. Haba, his next rank is Deputy Inspector General which he is most certain to get to if he continues in the police force. He would have made history as the first police officer to get to that rank without doing the courses. We keep shouting about doing things right but will not take the right actions. How can we get to our desired stage without taking actions that may affect individuals. Come to think of it, don’t we think that even those that have been prosecuted by EFCC are waxing stronger in the society? For instance, Alams has been recieved by his community with a thanksgiving in a church with a pastor praying for him and causing his enemies. Please les us move Nigeria forward even if we are crawling. Lets Ribadu move on like all other Nigerians. I am sure there are other police officers who can also do the job.

  14. Ribadu’s removal is sad for Nigeria and will tarnish Nigeria’s image abroad. It is just another cover up by the IGP to send Ribadu to a course he is just fulfilling the wishes of the corrupt Nigerian officials, ex-governors and those who looted Nigeria’s wealth. The main aim is to kill him and that is why they are sending him to Kuru. In Kuru he will be exposed to all sort of dangers. It will be easier for them to kill him there either by food poisoning or drink he will not be with his security guards in Kuru. This reminds us of how they killed IDIAGBON, who was another tough Nigerian just like RIBADU. For safety reasons it is better for Ribadu to leave Nigeria now, if not they will kill him one way or the other. This thieves in Nigeria are dirty and dangerous they are capable of doing anything and walk away free there is nobody who can protect him in Nigeria the police they themselves are the assassins who carry out all the dirty jobs. The corrupt govt officials, ex-governors, all the thieves who looted Nigeria’s wealth, are afraid that Ribadu in the future will still rise again to probe all of them. Fellow Nigerians please take note the hidden agenda here is to KILL RIBADU. YOU PEOPLE SHOULD THINK WHY HE MUST GO TO KURU. THAT IS WHERE THEY WILL


    Emans Holland

  15. Aminu Hayatu. Sanusi

    All of you that have commented on behalf of Soyinka are tribalist and stupid social critics who don’t have your own personal opinions but that of a ruthless cultist and a bigotorist. shame on all of you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s