Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nigeria's former corruption czar, Nuhu Ribadu, was publicly demoted yesterday by Nigeria's Police Service Commission. In reality, news of his demotion hit the newsstands almost a month earlier with quoted sources claiming that Ribadu's upcoming demotion was due to his rapid rise through the ranks of the police force and because

"Ribadu has stepped on toes; many officers in the Nigeria Police cannot tolerate his arrogance and confrontational nature. They believed he is so full of himself as he hardly pays compliments to his colleagues and seniors". [sic]
Ribadu who was once head of the Economic Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) and under whose leadership the EFCC recovered over N600 billion in stolen public funds, has now gone from a rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (apparently, the number two position) to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner. Ordinarily, the demotion of any police officer would not be something to think about for more than a few seconds. But, this is Nigeria and with many things in Nigeria, one must think critically in order to get a grasp of the issues involved. This is one such political incident.

Many will remember that Ribadu was removed from the EFCC and sent to Kuru for 'training' 8 months ago. At the time, Inspector General Mike Okiri and others explained that every police officer of the rank of Assistant Inspector General must go through the training course and suggested that it was merely a temporary transfer. Many Nigerians argued that Ribadu's 'temporary' transfer was simply a way to get rid of the EFCC chief. These fears were clearly correct because during this 'temporary' tansfer, Ribadu was initially replaced by an acting chief. Furthermore, despite the fact that Ribadu was never publicly removed from his post, a new head, Mrs Farida Waziri, was instituted for the Commission.

It was clear from the beginning of President Yar'Adua's administration that Ribadu's days were numbered. The Attorney General, Michael Aondoakaa, publicly criticized and even deliberately interfered in EFCC investigations. The public squabble between Ribadu and Aondoakaa is now of epic proportion. But this is not about Aondoakaa. Not yet., as that is a story for another day. This is about Yardy. How can a President hailed for his committment to being "fair and transparent" sit back and watch the unfair treatment and public humiliation of an individual who, while not being perfect, did his job to the best of his ability in the name of the nation? How can a President who espouses the importance of the 'rule of law' sit back and watch an officer who is now criticized for his many rapid promotions (promotions which were apparently justified based solely on the unprecendented amount that his organization retrieved from corrupt officials and individuals) be transferred from his office under the rouse of 'training', be replaced without officially removing him from his position and then demoted for nothing other than stepping on a few toes while doing a good job? And, I can't help but ask the obvious, but if Ribadu should never have been Assistant Inspector General in the first place, and if everyone knew he would simply demoted, why send him to Kuru for training, in the first place, wasting time and money? And now, Mike Okiro has announced that Ribadu was not eligible (due to the new demoted rank) to take the training course at Kuru, but that he would not ask Ribadu to leave.

Some will argue that my focus on the President in this instance is unnecessary. Maybe they are right, after all, this President has made it clear that he will not interfere in matters outside his office as he made clear in the Ettehgate situation and many others. However, this is a President that has publicly and continuously committed himself to the rule of law, due process and anti corruption, as such, matters involving the EFCC and its former head are clearly under his territory and above all, he is the President of the federation, he has no choice but to get his hands dirty. The least he could have done to appease 'the gods that be' is stress the importance of offering Ribadu a chance to resign from the police force once his training is completed. That way, Ribadu is removed from the police force (which is what certain interests likely want) and everyone can continue with their lives, Ribadu included. Instead, there is this catty engagement and the obvious appearance of revenge against an individual who did the job he was charged to do.

Yes, punishment for a job well done is increasingly a Nigerian trademark. I hate to say it, but, I am seeing the signs everywhere. Ribadu was alegedly offered and he refused a $15 million bribe by Ibori to stop the EFCC investigation against him. I wonder if he is now second guessing that decision. Because, for all his work against corruption, Ribadu is yet to be properly recognized in his own country, the World Bank had to do it, honoring the man with an award for outstanding public service. Instead, we Nigerians are committed to the erasal of the hard work done for the nation in its anti corruption crusade. It seems doing a good job will only bring embarrasment and shame.

For all the criticism, I must say that Ribadu did his job. We might have expected him to do much more and to investigate a wider spectrum of people, I raise this to reflect the incessant questions about whether Ribadu protected OBJ's friends. Despite this, I stress that the recovery of N600 billion under his watch was no small feat and will even go as far as claiming that it was unprecedented. In fact, one could actually make the argument that once the EFCC began to investigate those with ties to OBJ, Ibori, OBJ's daughter Obasanjo-Bello, the plug was pulled and the 'wahala' (trouble) began for Nigeria's corruption czar.

And, now, it has become clear that Nigeria's State Security Services (SSS) stormed Kuru in an attempt to arrest Ribadu for 'questioning'. I am no expert on issues involving the SSS, but if they have chosen to approach their fellow officer and national servant in this manner, I strongly advise Ribadu to go talk to whoever wants him interrogated, answer their questions, move your family out of their country and at the end of your course, resign and leave as well, because Nigeria is indeed not a country for brave men. Or women, so the new head of the EFCC should take serious notes and recognize that this could be her in a few years if she does her job right.

Read here for the reactions of hundreds of Nigerians to news of Ribadu's demotion.

Hattip to Rethots, who requested my thoughts on this matter and challenged me to focus on an issue I admittedly ignored. Thank you for the challenge, my brother.

Further Reading:
- Ibori, The EFCC & The Future of Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Crusade
- Ribadu's Removal
- Calls For Aondoakaa's Removal Increase
- Sabotage: Aondoakaa vs. Ribadu Et. Al.
- Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007
- Political Soap Operas: Nigerian Style
- An EFCC Revival?

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Anonymous said...

When I read the post to thsi point of "Punishment for a job well done". I felt you have said spoken my mind. How are we going to have a corruption free society if we are not ready to step on toes?

Another blogger blogged abt this http://visionofthefuture.blogspot.com/2008/08/ribaduism-and-ribadu-blues.html

Anonymous said...

For the very first time (in my blog life) 'm posting a comment without reading the post. But then, only someone (Solomonsydelle) who can inspire my thots could have pulled that act.

Now my comment is that, the moment i read this incidence in the e-punch; the first thing i did was to mail you Solomonsydelle for your comment. Why? You may ask. 'cos i hard already posted my comment (not necessarily of this particular post but, the incidence) in an earlier post you put up. http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2008/01/ribadus-removal.html?showComment=1199929200000#c2736088442591611296 and as i write, i still stand by the content of that post then.

Now, let me go read this post.....

Anonymous said...

Solomonsydelle, now i just finished reading and as i guessed earlier; i will not change my comment from what i offered in your earlier post http://www.nigeriancuriosity.com/2008/01/ribadus-removal.html only, i will add

...while, it is not impossible that it could be "PUNISHMENT FOR A JOB WELL DONE" i think we should try detach ourselves from this situation and reassess it from the 3rd side of the coin.

Be that as it may, with respect to his removal, i will agree points-on with you that "The least he could have done to appease 'the gods that be' is stress the importance of offering Ribadu a chance to resign from the police force once his training is completed." that way he (Ribadu) would have been given a soft landing.

But then, a STAR will always shine, no matter what.

Anonymous said...

How the world sees it http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/204246fc-64cb-11dd-af61-0000779fd18c.html

Jinta said...

i was one of those who critisised Ribadu for his apparently selective choices of officials he railed in for corruption. boy, am i slapping myself now?

let's be real - we need to see yardy for what he is - an inept, incompetent and spineless figure-head installed to protect the ibori's and other thieves.

the current state of affairs reminds me of another inept head - shagari - who said he went upstairs to pray when his fellow thieves started counting stolen money in his, yes, his living room! shagari was a teacher as well. what is it about these teachers and their lack of connection with reality when everyone steals around them? show me your friends...

about ribadu specifically, the AG and his friends will never be satisfied until they completely humiliate him. what they do not know is that they humiliate ALL nigerians including themselves, but as they say, what they want to eat is preventing them from seeing clearly

I feel obj miscalculated with the efcc - he did not expect ribadu to do a good job. now they've got it right - waziri has started chasing people who steal N1m, rather than those who steal N5b

finally, were we to follow the logical sequence, okiro himself should be demoted since he reportedly got a 'double' promotion to AIG. besides, he also 'overtook' a more senior officer in onovo when he became ig.

Anonymous said...

I so see Rethots point about Ribadu being givin a chance to resign.
The truth is I dot understand "playing politics". I wonder why such a word should even connotes negative meanings. That said, it's so clear that the "power that forced" is at it again "playing politics"!!!

Jinta so put some things in perspective for me

Unknown said...

I feel this was an open and close matter from the begiining. The establishment knew what they were after from the beginning and they have achieved that; pissing on Ribadu. Even though I feel Ribadu wasn't all that Nigerians, the press included, believed him to be, he had his shortfalls. But then, I believe Yar Adua is a spine-less leader who is more interested in getting his friends off the hook, the Iboris &co, than working for a better Nigeria. May his days in office end pretty soon. Can't wait for Nigerians to vote him out of power.

Dojaa said...

While Ribadu DID recover stolen funds there was an element of witch hunting of particular people in the manner he carried out his job....that said it is not relevant who money was recovered from, as long as it was stolen.

Did ribadu rise too quickly thru the ranks? YES!
I can confirm to you that many police officers were complaining about that, their complaints had absolutely nothing to do with national politics. All the people in power whom he frolicked with kept promoting him faster than ABACHA was promoting himself!
Was he supposed to be a deputy commissioner? NO.Probably a tiny bit harsh, so thats were the witch hunting of he himself by the current nincompoops jumps in. Hope you understand.

N.I.M.M.O said...

The Nigeria Police is about the only organization in the world that keeps shooting itself in the foot. All pun intended.

Punishment for doing a good job is a trademark of the NP. Perhaps those who are old enough will remember another brilliant police officer in the mid-eighties called Alozie Ogugbuaja.

I think he was an Asst Superintendent back then and his crime? He stood his ground against some military men who were trying to circumvent the law. Everybody saw him as defending the integrity of the law as well as the Police itself as an institution. Everybody, except the Police top-brass and the military government of Ibrahim Babangida.

(If you knew what the NP was like, you wont even wish for your enemy to join the Police back then. Its marginally better now.)

If I recollect well, he was never sacked or dismissed, he was just suspended and he is probably still on suspension till today 23 years after. Unless he had resigned. Without his due benefits.

The Nigeria Police is used to humiliating its finest officers.

@Doja: Ribadu is not a saint and I don't think he ever claimed to be one. Even if we agree that he did a lot of 'eye service' to be on the good side of his bosses, I think its a perfectly legal career advancement strategy. We all do it.

He did not promote himself. He was promoted by the powers that be, for doing a good job. And in his own case, the results were obvious to the whole world.

The Police Service was wrong. He should be decorated, not demoted. The least President UMYA(wn) can do now is to overrule them.

@Jinta: Don't you get a feeling of de javu from this whole thing? Like we've been through this before?

In 1979, Obasanjo handed over to an inept, unassuming President Shagari who was reading and praying while his party men robbed the country blind.

In 2007, Obasanjo handed over to UMYAwn who is busy following the 'rule of law' and his vice president, Goodnight (sorry) Goodluck Jonathan!

Obasanjo always comes out smelling like roses. Smart guy!


@ Standtall: Thank you so much for pointing me to Lolade's blog. I read his perspective and couldn't help but respect what he had to say.

@ Rethots: Again, I thank you for your message on this story. I won't lie, I have been working on another post with similar undertones - punishment for a job well done etc. So addressing this story was just up my alley. Nevertheless, I see your point and that of others that Ribadu's meteoric rise up the ranks could be questionable, however, as I noted in the post, under his lead, the Commission recovered N600 billion, and for that the man deserved to be promoted and in fact every member of his staff should have received a P505 and a new house in some suburb in Abuja the way they used to dash those things to the Super Eagles when they did the country proud!

I am glad you agree with my point that they should have offered Ribadu a chance to exit quietly but your point clarifies exactly why they wouldn't - "a STAR will always shine, no matter what." When one looks at it that way, it is easier to understand why there is such a calculated effort to diminish Ribadu's accomplishments (no matter what we think of them).

Thank you so much for launching this conversation.

@ Oz: Thank you for sharing this link. I am glad that the FT hit the issues as strongly as they did. It is sometimes difficult for me to be as straightforward as a large, foreign publication such as FT. We Nigerian political bloggers walk an extremely thin line. I sometimes wonder if Nigeria will ever be a place where honest and frank discussion on the issues will be appreciated and encouraged. Until then, I will try to discuss the issues I can at this website and encourage others to join in the conversation to the extent that they can.

@ Uncle Jintus:"i was one of those who critisised Ribadu for his apparently selective choices of officials he railed in for corruption. boy, am i slapping myself now?"

Hahahaha! Sorry, I am trying to picture this. No, but I understand what you are saying. I believe that we all had our questions about Ribadu and the EFCC. Personally, all I cared about was that he was doing his job and I believed that the precedent was what was important. In due time, either himself or replacements would have the ability to really go after others that have taken a lot more from the people.

But, whatever precedent was set by Ribadu, the recent actions, performed under the watch of President Umar Yar'Adua, have been clearly and deliberately undone for every Nigerian, and in fact, the World, to see. Unfortunately the message is - do your job and suffer the consequences.

You made too many good points in your comment but specifically, your reference to Okiro's promotions.... I am unfamiliar with that aspect and thank you for bringing it to my attention. But, somehow, i cannot imagine
Okiro being demoted. Something tells me it won't happen. What do you think?

@ Lolade: Thank you so much for swinging by and sharing your thoughts. I can't help but harp upon a specific part of your comment -
"May his days in office end pretty soon. Can't wait for Nigerians to vote him out of power."

I can't help but chuckle at that last line. No disrespect intended to anyone, the Nigerian people included, but do you really see that happening? I mean, really? Considering how Yardy came to power, and what appears to be happening all around him,do we expect to see him 'voted out' of office? If anything, him being voted out would simply be a ploy to put another person into the Presidency while giving the people the impression that their vote counted.

Ah, I just realize, you are new to Nigerian Curiosity and might not be familiar with the conspiracy loving mind I have. i cook them up, spit them out and watch what happens, so let me know your thoughts on this issue. Thanks so much!

@ Doja:"All the people in power whom he frolicked with kept promoting him faster than ABACHA was promoting himself!"

Again, another comment that brought a smile to my face. Thank you so much, my sista.

But, to be serious, I understand the "witch hunt" argument you raise, but as i said earlier to another reader and if I may expatiate, Ribadu was limited in what he could do. His role was to set the precedent and create a situation for those behind him to build upon the successes and catch bigger fish. Do we really think he could have gone after the people he is criticized for not investigating? I mean, honestly? It is this line of thinking that forced me to state within the post that one could argue that once OBJ left office and the EFCC started to look at some of his allies and his daughter, he was sent to the bush in Kuru for training and the rest is history.

As to the promotions, i see your point for sure. That must have caused serious discontent within the ranks. Rethots pointed out to me that the Police Service Commission will only do such promotions for "exceptional performance such as acts of gallantry and bravery and not by doing normal jobs." I guess most people, the Police Force included believe that the recovery of N600 billion is normal, but I don't. Thankfully, my opinion does not count because as I previously mentioned, I think the EFCC staff should be treated like the Super Eagles, lol!

As usual, I appreciate your taking the time to share your opinion. It is always appreciated.

@ N.I.M.M.O.: Ah, thanks for reminding us and in my case introducing me to the story of Ogugbuaja. He, like Ribadu, is simply another in a long line of Nigerians who have stood up and done the right thing, only to suffer for it. I am working on a post that focuses on this issue, and I can't help but feel a serious sense of gloom for Nigeria's children. If all they see are people working hard and suffering negative consequences, then what reason is there for them to grow up into servants of the people?

I don't think the powers that be really understand the consequences of this (ribadu) and other similar situations.

Anyway, I thank you and everyone for sharing their thoughts and allowing me the opportunity to learn some more.

I am still waiting on Beauty, Nigerian Politricks, The AfroBeat, Imnakoya and others to share their opinions on this matter.

Thanks everyone.

Dojaa said...

@solomonsydelle...Ribadu had already been over promoted before he recovered the funds. Anyway who cares all these people are full of sh*#$&t!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Solomonsydelle,

This is an unfortunate turn of events for Nigeria's efforts to fight corruption. If the President washes his hands or looks the other way at this blatant injustice, it's obvious he is also under pressure from powerful entities who want to remain unidentified but would insist on keeping their stolen wealth to boot.

This could effectively erode his credibility and be weakened by the perceived clout of the country's hidden powers. Justice will be hard to implement and the rule of law could be discredited by this development.

I'm sorry to learn that this is what the fate of honest public servants can expect from a country that's so full of promise. :-( --Durano, done!


@ Doja: Really? I didn't know that. I was under the impression that the promotions happened while he was recovering large sums. Will do some digging into that just to make sure that we are factually correct on that issue. Wouldn't want to mislead anyone. thanks for the headsup...

@ Durano: Hey you, so glad to see you around these parts again. Unfortunately, and with all due respect, Yardy is already seen powerless by many. I think you can read some of the comments above to see that. In my opinion, that is extremely dangerous for Nigeria. Yes, it is also dangerous for the President who has a reputation to protect, but it is the people that I worry about.

Nigeria is a nation that has spent most of its existence under military rule and our military remains a powerful institution, as it should be. Imagine the concerns that are raised when there is the perception of weak public officials?

Nevertheless, the fact that doing one's job will not force the President to put a foot down and demand/require better treatment of public servants is frankly, depressing. I try to be as objective as possible and with this situation and other issues I am working on, I am sad to say that Ribadu is simply a small illustration of a larger problem.

Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to join in the conversation. I am off to read your blog and get some education.

TheAfroBeat said...

Thanks for sharing as usual. It is grossly disappointing that this man is being taken to the cleaners for doing the job he was appointed to do (If the appointing authority is dissatisfied with his performance, they do have the right to demote him, but we all know this is not the case). And now he risks "arrest for questioning"...how the mighty fall, and the masses do nothing. Yardy will do nothing in this case, but perhaps if the international community and the press (both local and international) shine the spotlight on this injustice, the plotters behind this manhunt will tread lightly.

Nigerian Drama Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nigerian Drama Queen said...

Cases like his,as well as that of Ngozi Iweala and El-Rufai infuriate me. It is indeed punishment for a job well done.
As a side not, this is probably inappropriate, but Ribadu is kinda sexyyyyyy.LOL

Anonymous said...

Posterity will surely judge all the actors and actress in this show of shame. They may think they are untouchable now, but very soon, they will come to realize that their sin cannot be swept under the carpet. If nothing, this post and manner others permanently stored in the archives of internet will serve as evidence of their evil deeds. Shame to all the thieves and their cohorts.

tobenna said...

If the guy was (over)promoted, then it seems right that he be brought back to his deserved rank. I understand he's not the only one.
He has been given given a few awards during his tenure by Nigerian organisations. He was a one time Silverbird Man of the Year, if my memory serves me right.

This does not take a way the fact that his achievements are not being recognised, but remember that anybody that steps on 'big men' toes does not usually get the deserved recognition, except probably from the press. In some countries, they get shot.

Anonymous said...

What others dont see God will!

guerreiranigeriana said...

...i'm so sick of this fuckery...i think jinta and n.i.m.m.o. have said very nicely what i would have maybe wanted to say...it disappoints me highly though that the average nigerian just keeps it moving...where are the protests that stop the flow of traffic?...where is the loud and disruptive outrage?...have we as human beings around the world become so complacent and docile?...even monks were protesting...what the hell are we doing?!...*leaves frustrated*...

Waffarian said...

All this mystery...hopefully, I'll be able to write the screenplay...it would a serious drama...but who will play Obasanjo? I doubt I will find anybody as ugly as he is...

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