HOW ACN SOLD RIBADU TO PRESIDENT GOODLUCK

By Obinna Akukwe
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By Obinna Akukwe

2/29/2012 10:53:43 PM -

During the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo, three Nigerians so much distinguished themselves that they got local and international commendations. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Professor Dora Akunyili and Professor Charles Soludo. Ribadu headed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC), Dora headed National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC) while Soludo was the Governor of Central Bankwho supervised the consolidation of Nigerian banks.

Ribadu brought a lot of passion and zeal to his management of EFCC. The fear of Ribadu was the beginning of wisdom. This fear was so much that the only way to avoid Ribadu's dragnet was to constantly grovel before then President Olusegun Obasanjo and shower the Ota majesty with merited and unmerited loyalty. Since Ribadu left the place, corruption has swallowed the anti-graft commission.

Immediately Obasanjo handed over to his godson Yar'adua, the problems of Ribadu started. He was hounded and disgraced under the gleeful supervision of the strongman of Niger Delta and embattled former governor , James Ibori. Nuhu Ribadu was subsequently dismissed from the corrupt Nigerian Police for insubordination.

The emergence of President Goodluck following the death of Yaradua brought reprieve for self exiled Ribadu , who was granted pardon , reinstated into the Nigerian Police and retired. In the ensuing political electioneering season of 2015 Ribadu dusted his resume and joined the Action Congress of Nigeria, Nigeria's leading opposition party and assemblage of progressives. The ACN adopted Ribadu as their presidential candidate for the 2015 presidential election.

The order of elections was deliberately schewed to allow the ruling party have a feel of the voting trends to allow for quick restrategizing. Therefore the National Assembly election were to come first. The National Assembly election was favourable to the ACN in theSouth West due to the fact that the fractured ruling PDP embroiled with bitter infighting weren't able to effectively deploy their rigging machine. The campaign strategists of President Goodluck advised him to quickly move to the South West and seal a pact with the ACN or else his Presidential dream is jeopardized. Thus two days after the National Assembly election , President Goodluck flew to Lagos for a pact with Bola Tinubu and other leaders of the ACN. Tinubu, the national leader of the ACN was the negotiator in chief with President Goodluck. Part of the pact was that the wounded PDP will dismantle all their rigging machineries in the South West including the INEC software wizardly, the security apparatus and other forces of coercion which is the hallmark of the ruling party. In exchange for the dismantling of this electoral perversion machinery, the ACN will tactically withdraw support for the Ribadu Presidency project. The Tinubu calculations was that Ribadu could be sacrificed to prevent a rampaging PDP from the South West. The Presidency had to part with pocket money to the tune of billions of naira for which each state governor was allegedly given One billions naira as betrayal allowance. The only ACN state where Ribadu won was Osun , where the incumbent governor, Raul Aregbesola, kicked against the sale of Ribadu and against party orders decided to mobilize support for his presidential candidate.

The ACN leadership in response to the pact, refused to campaign for Ribadu Presidency. They refused to mobilize both funds and supporters for the Ribadu project while their counterpart PDP was campaigning for President Goodluck. The sweeping of the South West votes by the PDP was the result of the negligence. President Goodluck garnered 2,718,417 votes while ACN got 1,369,943 and CPC 321,609. The South West votes were the true reflection of how a party sacrificed its presidential candidate on the altar of expediency. This action secured the ACN a rigging free election for the rest of the South West . The PDP used the recent electoral malfeasance in Kogi and Adamawa States to remind the ACN that the gentleman's agreement and trade by barter entered during the presidential election is over and the ruling party will not condone any encroachment on their political birthright.

The ACN has not been particularly receptive to politicians of northern extraction . The former Vice President under Atiku Abubakar ran to the ACN in the hey days of his battles with Obasanjo and by the time he was tossed around by the party leadership he had no option than to return back to the PDP on another failed presidential project, this time around swallowed by incumbent President Goodluck. Nuhu Ribadu could not have become President under the circumstances but if the ACN had campaigned for him as expected, including release of logistics, including the never ending security votes, the ACN would have got at least 5 million votes around the country while the PDP vote would have reduced, occasioning a run off. Secondly, the PDP would not have been able to get the mandatory 25% votes in 2/3 states of the federation. A run off would have ensued and the ACN could negotiate a major role in government in exchange for their votes.

Mallam Ribadu, betrayed and abandoned had to retreat to his village in Adamawa to enable him understudy the dog eat dog dynamics of Nigerian politics.

The ACN had no moral right to accuse Ribadu of betrayal or abandoning progressive ideals because they had earlier sold him to President Goodluck. Nigeria's ever smiling President had just untied the treasure he purchased from the ACN and sent the highly prized stock to the corruption battlefields of Nigeria to test whether this once feared anti graft czar still have all the teeth associated with him. In the prevailing circumstances, the acceptance to serve as head of the Presidential Task Force on Petroleum Revenue is a breath of fresh air for an anti- graft progressive who was suffocated by the bullish permutations of Nigeria's politics.

Obinna Akukwe.
Financial/IT consultant

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Obinna Akukwe.

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