Former Military Governor of old Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd) has stirred further controversy on the redeployment of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Umar said the EFCC Chairman should quit the job because his appointment was irregular in the first place.
He said although Ribadu would deliver on any task assigned to him, his low level experience needs the guidance of an honest leader.
“I am sorry to say that such environment was most lacking when Nuhu was prematurely appointed as Chairman of EFCC on the insistence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; definitely due to their common geographical extraction”, he added.
The former Military Governor made this assertion while fielding questions from newsmen in Kaduna in what apparently was his first reaction to the EFCC saga .
Why Ribadu must go
While many say that the decision to post Nuhu Ribadu out is aimed at frustrating the ongoing trial of the President’s former governor colleagues, Umar thinks otherwise, anchoring his belief on the exigencies of the time.
According to him, “Nuhu found himself operating under the tutelage of a most dishonest boss, President Obasanjo. He was under the false impression that Obasanjo was sincere in his fight against corruption. And who would not be deceived considering the saintly image of Obasanjo up to the point of his first election in 1999 and the beautiful rhetorics and declarations he delivered in his inaugural speech in which he promised to restore the years the locust had eaten, to step on toes and have no scared cows in his war against corruption. When therefore Nuhu was appointed, he accepted the challenge with great zeal, some will even say overzealousness
“But very soon, it became apparent to most observers that former President Obasanjo had some other plans for setting up the EFCC and such plans ran counter to the fight against corruption.
“Instead, the EFCC was slanted to fight against the opponents of former President Obasanjo and to also use the institution to cover up Obasanjo’s monumental corruption. I have it on good authority that the EFCC Chairman was troubled and thoroughly embarrassed by Obasanjo’s hypocrisy and double standard. I still cannot understand why Nuhu couldn’t take the honourable path of resignation once he became aware of the President’s antics. I was shocked that the chairman could bear false witness that Obasanjo was not personally corrupt.
He vouched for the integrity of Obasanjo at a time when he had caused to be stolen well over 50 billion dollars through highly inflated contracts, illegal duty waivers and concessions, mismanagement of the Federations Account and scandalous NNPC transactions and a most criminal, opaque privatization of public treasures to his business associates and cronies. When Obasanjo embarked on total genocidal war against his political and business opponents, the EFCC became the most useful and loyal force that was used.
It acquitted itself disregarding all the recognized war conventions. A good example was the corruption advisory list issued on the instruction of President Obasanjo and his party, the PDP which led to the illegal disqualifications of all strong opposition members. It is a measure of the extent of that illegality that many election results are being reversed by tribunals including those of five state governors and still counting”.
Where Ribadu failed
In assessing the EFCC, Umar said although the anti graft body had carried out the anti- corruption war with some measure of seriousness, it does not deserve the credit being showered on it.
Asked if the prosecution of a former Inspector General of Police and former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State and the recovering of over N500 billion from criminals were not laudable achievements, the former Military Governor shot back, beginning with the case of the former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Tafa Balogun.
Umar said the culprit in the case was not Tafa Balogun, but President Obasanjo who he said aided and abetted the former IGP to embezzle the funds.
“I ask you what was the Police Force annual budget for the whole period that Balogun headed the force? How was it possible for the IGP, working directly under the President who declared war against corruption, to embezzle over N17 billion without the knowledge of the same President? Tafa Balogun was used as a scape goat. He served Obasanjo’s purpose which explained his ridiculously light sentence of six months mostly served in hospital and his house.
“The case of the former governors of Bayelsa State and Plateau goes to prove our claim that the EFCC was used to torment the opposition. They were only victims of the Obasanjo-Atiku feud since they remained loyal to the Vice President. Otherwise, how come they were the only two governors targeted in any serious manner in the fight against corruption?
“I ask you why was Bode George not prosecuted by the EFCC? The president prevented this from happening. In fact, even when Nuhu established a prima-facie case against Bode George, the president threw back the report on the pretext that the EFCC was not specific in identifying individual culprits. The EFCC Chairman was forced to exonerate Bode George by ridiculously claiming that Bode was only a Board Chairman and not the Chief Executive of NPA and could therefore not be held responsible for any contract fraud, as if he is unaware of the powers of the board in contract awards which of course are higher than that of the management.”
Speaking on the monies recovered from those found guilty, Umar said it is yet uncertain how much has been retrieved. He, however, called on the EFCC to expose those from whom such monies have been recovered, saying he is reluctant to praise the anti-graft agency.
He referred to the CNPP’s allegation that over N2 trillion perished under Obasanjo’s watch and wondered what the N500 billion recovered by the anti-graft body means to Nigerians.
Obasanjo’s hypocrisy, Ribadu’s gain
Umar’s response to the question on the coincidence of Ribadu’s redeployment and the prosecution of former governors? He said Ribadu’s appointment was irregular in the first place going by the Act which set up the EFCC. Quoting from the Act, the former military governor said: “the Act provides for a Chairman and Chief Executive and Board members representing the security services.
“The representative of the Police must be of the rank of an AIG. But when Nuhu was appointed, he was only an AC, meaning he was too junior in rank and therefore expected to attended many police and other professional courses if he is to remain in police service. The NIPPS happened to be a requirement for promotion to the top echelon of the security services. So, the exigencies of the police service require Nuhu to proceed on course. Please do a check on the seniority of Nuhu in the police.
It is Obasanjo that catapulted him to the rank of AIG over his mates and some of his superiors so as to unduly exaggerate the achievements of EFCC under him in its war against corruption. It is all part of Obasanjo’s dishonesty and hypocrisy. He decided to decorate his generals after being routed in a war. He surrendered to corruption, but he still has to publish another book on His Command.”
Why Obasanjo’s policies must be reversed
People also see the removal of Nuhu Ribadu as one more evidence that Yar’Adua is intent on reversing all the policies of Obasanjo’s administration. Could this not be true?
To answer the question, Umar went down memory lane, enunciating some of the policies of the Obasanjo administration. In his estimation, Yar’Adua’s government in incapable of reversing all the policies of that administration.
“But there is real and urgent need to reverse all those bad policies and they are so many. You must remember that the main reason Obasanjo was elected in 1999, against all odds, was to pull this country back from the brink. It was expected that with his saintly image which has since been debunked, he would restore the years that the locust had eaten.
He would reverse the rot. Luck played into his hand. The nation witnessed an unprecedented rise in its finance, thanks to the high rise in oil revenue. It was like God had blessed us with manna from heaven. What did our messiah do? He decided to restructure the nation on a very weak and shaky foundation. Our social, political and economic structure has been built on cronyism, nepotism and greed.
His policies have encouraged primitive and criminal appropriation of public wealth by a few to the detriment of the many. Obasanjo’s policies have pauperized majority of Nigerians. Over 70 percent of the people have fallen below poverty line while less than two percent of the population controls over 60 percent of our nation’s wealth. He has pushed the nation further on the precipice. It is therefore in the best interest of the nation that such policies are reversed.”
– The Sun