UPDATED: Ribadu’s comment on ‘sinking ship’, tyrannical government rattles presidency

Nuhu Ribadu

Mr. Ribadu fires back  at the presidency, describing Mr. Jonathan as a betrayal and Abati as a discredited, fraudulent spokesperson

A remark by the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, charging the youth to help redeem the “sinking ship” that is Nigeria, has rattled the presidency in a surprising manner, drawing a scathing response that questioned Mr. Ribadu’s stewardship as a corruption fighter and his current political affiliation.

The presidency issued one of its most bellicose statements yet Monday evening as it sought to disparage Mr. Ribadu for his comments about the state of the nation, with his particular reference to the government as tyrannical.

Mr. Ribadu’s comment came on Saturday at a public lecture organized by the Students Representative Council of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria.

In a lengthy address, the former presidential candidate deplored what he called sectional politics being peddled by politicians, and advocated disregard of institutions or individuals who preach against unity of Nigeria arguing that “unless we put our patriotism away from greed and any undemocratic advocacy, our collective struggle to install a popular government will remain a mission impossible.

He repeatedly urged the students to help evolve a new Nigeria by making good use of the social media for political participation and translating their Internet activism into actual real life participation.

“The tragedy of our democracy is that it is one in which the yearnings of the youth are stamped down in order to perpetuate a tyranny of interests,” Mr. Ribadu said.

“Tyranny it is when a certain slim range of people impose their private interests on the majority; tyranny it is when the agents of change are left on the cliffs of unemployment, poverty, insecurity, substandard education and, worse still, policies destroyed by our heritage of corruptions.”

Lastly, he advised the students to “have in mind that we are now in a sinking ship in which we alone understand, and can reestablish, the hydraulics of our statecraft. Let us have in mind that we are all politicians.”

The comments, which also probed issues troubling the nation, drew a ferocious rebuke from the presidency two days later, in which the government labeled Mr. Ribadu an “ethically-challenged hypocrite”.

In a statement late Monday, presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, questioned the former anti-corruption chief’s rationale for turning against a government that welcomed him from a “self-imposed exile” and one which he “willingly served” at a time.

“We find it very sad and utterly deplorable that Nuhu Ribadu has resorted to shameless wolf-crying, the peddling of arrant falsehood and the denigration of the elected government of his fatherland in furtherance of his selfish quest for continued national political relevance after his wholesale rejection by Nigerian voters in 2011,” the statement said.

“There can be no doubt that nothing else but blind ambition for an office for which he is clearly unfit is driving Ribadu to infer that an administration led by a President who welcomed him back to the country after his self-imposed exile, restored his rank in the Nigeria Police to save him from the shame of demotion and converted his dismissal from service to retirement has now become tyrannical and anti-people. We take special note of his ingratitude.”

The presidency seemed far more unsettled by the EFCC’s ex-chairman’s use of the words “sinking ship” and “tyranny”, and the statement issued by Mr. Abati, conveyed that distaste profoundly.

Mr. Abati questioned Mr. Ribadu’s affiliation with the former Lagos state governor, and chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, whom he claimed Mr. Ribadu, as head of the EFCC, dismissed as a crook unfit for holding a public office.

“It is only a shameless man that will turn around and accept to be the political lackey of a man he once openly accused of corruption at various times between 2004 and 2007. Now that he has been used and abused by the undemocratic overlords that reign over the ACN and fearing that he may soon be dumped now that that vehicle is about to be subsumed into the so called All Progressives Congress, Ribadu is desperately seeking fresh relevance.”

In what appears a defense of convicted and latter pardoned former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Mr. Abati also made reference to Mr. Ribadu’s tenure as pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleging that the anti-corruption crusader “orchestrated the impeachment of governors with an illegitimate quorum of legislators who had been threatened by the EFCC under his watch.”

Mr. Alamieyeseigha was impeached by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and subsequently prosecuted and convicted by the EFCC under Mr. Ribadu. He was succeeded as governor by his then deputy, and now president, Goodluck Jonathan. Another governor impeached and prosecuted by Mr. Ribadu led EFCC was Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, who is still facing his corruption charges. Both men are now allies of the presidency with Mr. Alamieyeseigha pardoned by the president; and Mr. Fayose welcomed back into the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

The statement also conveyed a very sour review of Mr. Ribadu’s leadership at the EFCC, accusing the former chairman of violating the rights of those accused of corruption even when they were yet charged.

“If Nuhu Ribadu wants to talk of tyranny then he should talk of the days when he orchestrated the impeachment of governors with an illegitimate quorum of legislators who had been threatened by the EFCC under his watch,” the statement said.

Mr. Ribadu responded to the presidency’s statement by Mr. Abati as “typical of his increasingly desperate personality” that has been exposed as “a fraud of a presidential spokesman who does not have the simplest level of media literacy”.

“It is unfortunate that he stands on crooked crutches of rehashed falsehoods fabricated by corrupt politicians prosecuted by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in his desperate attempt to hold on to his job,” Mr.Ribadu’s spokesperson, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, said.

“It is a huge gaffe for Abati to charge Ribadu of ingratitude as the latter has more valid stand to make similar accusation having been betrayed after his selfless service to the nation in the Petroleum Revenue Task Force committee. The question of who is ethically challenged, however, is left for Nigerians to answer.”

Read the full address by Mr. Ribadu that angered the presidency here.

Read the presidency’s full statement below:

“The Presidency totally rejects the false, hypocritical and self-serving claim by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu at a lecture in Kaduna on Saturday that Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan is a “sinking ship” in which the yearnings of the masses are being neglected by a tyrannical leadership.

“We find it very sad and utterly deplorable that Nuhu Ribadu has resorted to shameless wolf-crying, the peddling of arrant falsehood and the denigration of the elected government of his fatherland in furtherance of his selfish quest for continued national political relevance after his wholesale rejection by Nigerian voters in 2011.

“It is very unfortunate indeed that the once highly respected former EFCC Chairman has now taken to political prostitution and developed a penchant for irresponsible and reckless utterances aimed at improving the electoral fortunes of his new friends and “leader”, who he once famously denounced as a crook who is “not fit to hold public office”.

“There can be no doubt that nothing else but blind ambition for an office for which he is clearly unfit is driving Ribadu to infer that an Administration led by a President who welcomed him back to the country after his self-imposed exile, restored his rank in the Nigeria Police to save him from the shame of demotion and converted his dismissal from service to retirement has now become tyrannical and anti-people. We take special note of his ingratitude.

“If Nuhu Ribadu wants to talk of tyranny then he should talk of the days when he orchestrated the impeachment of governors with an illegitimate quorum of legislators who had been threatened by the EFCC under his watch. It beats the imagination that Nuhu Ribadu, a man who once presided over an EFCC which in 2007 compiled a list of disqualified politicians aspiring for office without a court order or legal backing now has the guts to accuse the man under whom Nigeria has had the most credible elections in this Fourth Republic of being the leader of a “sinking ship”. Can there be a greater tyranny than the tyranny of removing governors via undemocratic means and barring legally entitled persons from contesting elections?

“Nothing else but misguided ambition could have driven Ribadu to urge Nigerian youth to rise up and save the country from an Administration which he willingly served recently, but which he now duplicitously and insincerely claims is “imposing private interests on the majority”.

“It is certainly the height of hypocrisy for Ribadu who built his entire reputation as an anti-corruption crusader by completely disregarding the rule of law and recklessly trampling on the rights of perceived enemies of the government of the day, to now accuse an administration that has consistently upheld the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights of being tyrannical.

“It is only a shameless man that will turn around and accept to be the political lackey of a man he once openly accused of corruption at various times between 2004 and 2007. Now that he has been used and abused by the undemocratic overlords that reign over the ACN and fearing that he may soon be dumped now that that vehicle is about to be subsumed into the so called All Progressives Congress, Ribadu is desperately seeking fresh relevance.

“Ribadu’s descent into a moral abyss since leaving the exalted office of EFCC Chairman, his equally ethically-challenged new friends and his willingness to vituperate against any person or institution he perceives as a challenge to the fulfillment of his unattainable ambitions, have clearly exposed him for what he truly is – a thoroughly unprincipled attention-seeker whose entire career in the public service was built on bootlicking and doing the bidding of the powers of the day without a care for legality which should have been his primary concern as an officer of the law.

“President Jonathan and his Administration will not be distracted from the diligent implementation of the agenda for national transformation by the falsehoods and vituperations of Ribadu and his new friends.

“Far from being tyrannical as Ribadu falsely alleged in Kaduna, President Jonathan will, as he has consistently done since assuming office, continue to strengthen institutions of democratic governance in Nigeria, uphold the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians including the youth, and protect their right to elect leaders in free, fair and credible elections”.


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  • igbiki

    In the end, we will all be able to know who the real prostitute is, Rueben Abati or Nubu Ribadu.

    • jonathan

      Igbiki, did you mean between Goodluck Jonathan/Reuben Abati on one hand and Nuhu Ribadu on the other hand? I am just thinking.

      • igbiki

        Maybe among the three of them, afterall in this case, it takes three to tango.

    • OLA PEDRO

      at least abati did not go swallow his own vomit- in ACN-HAVING TOLD THE WORLD THAT TINUBU WAS THE WORST ROGUE HE SHOULD HAVE LEFT HIM AT THAT-

      • jonathan

        where have you been since mpitikwelu_na_Ola pedro_na_KenMani_na_Mani Kay__na_Mr.peter2000 , you just woke up suddenly to flood the place with your paid posts-we have missed your paid posts. were you on strike because of pay or did you sleep offf afam_na_deri_na_concernednigerian. just dey laf .

      • igbiki

        Abati will swallow more than his own shit when the time comes. Just mark my words.

  • ACTION MAN

    Hmm! This kind of response does not fit Dr. Reuben Abati I used to know. To be honest, I chose him as a mentor during his days in the Guardian for his balanced views. I have since changed my mind since luck shined on him. I have no regrets doing so. I look to Jimmy Disu as a replacement. I am sure he wont go into politics. Even if he does, I only hope he will not play this kind of roles.

    Is this politics? No. Politics should not be about telling lies and casting aspersions on political opponents using ‘big grammar”. Its rather about who is able to convince the masses and move on to provide honest and sincere leadership for the benefit of all. What are we teaching our younger generation.

    If a Governor (Mimiko) could come out to say that he and his friends would have smashed (or snatched) the NGF Ballot Box, then one should not have any doubt these are the kind of breed Lord Luggard referred to in 1926 in his “assessment of Africans”! it is indeed a pity!

    • OLA PEDRO

      Is this the type of person whose comment would rattle the presidency–or is it anoda ribadu–apart from the OBJ ribadu that we all know! ??? (Nigerians are still in a state of shock over Ribadu’s total indifference to how Obasanjo became an overnight billionaire after becoming President.It is therefore not in his place to beam the ACN search-lights which he could not train on OBJ, on Jonathan. That is the greatest level of hypocrisy! Gen. Obasanjo was virtually bankrupt when he came out of jail in 1999 and he had only N20,000 in his account according to records of his assets declaration before the Code of Conduct Bureau. His businesses were in ruin when he was in jail but few months after taking office, Ota Farms transformed to overnight prosperity.. Yet Ribadu saw nothing wrong in finding out how Ota Farms could be making 30 million monthly after Obasanjo became a President.In fact, Ribadu himself has been struck by the same virus of corruption he was trying to destroy. He was wanted by the EFCC to account for how assets of convicts were disposed and the obliteration of records in respect of the sales.)

      • jonathan

        mpitikwelu_na_Ola pedro_na_KenMani_na_Mani Kay__na_Mr.peter2000 , you just woke up suddenly to flood the place with your paid posts-I just dey laf .

      • Sadiq Garba

        We are talking of Nigeria under Jonathan and not the OBJ days.

        • ACTION MAN

          GOD BLESS U Sadiq. I wonder the kind of people we have in this country. If Mpitikwelu’s brother is caught stealing, I am sure he would not say where his brother stole or not and if he had stolen, Mpitikwelu would not be interested in whether the stealing is right or wrong. All he will do is point to his neighbour’s son who stole when Shagari or OBj was in power.

          • ACTION MAN

            sorry this comment is in response to OLA PEDRO, not the most respected Mpitikwelu,

      • ACTION MAN

        I wonder the kind of people we have in this country. If your brother is caught stealing, I am sure you would not say whether he stole or not . And if he indeed stole, you would not be interested in whether the stealing is right or wrong. All you will do is point to your neighbour’s son who stole when Shagari or OBj was in power. I pity you and hope your children will not reason this way.

      • Tobibs

        The name changes from time to time, the posts are consistent…We know what you are, we know who you are…Nigerians are dying everyday from poverty and diseases because of animals like you….God is the ultimate judge

  • Soji Alade

    Reuben Abati, Did you say all these? Given the hellish and
    irrelevant nature of your response to Nuhu Ribadu’s observatory on
    Nigeria, I believe that it is either (i) Ribadu’s global look and observatory remarks on Nigeria is right, correct and on the mark or that (ii) the remarks threatened the unhelpful and unpatriotic agenda of the presidency and President Jonathan, or that Ribadu’s remarks achieved both.Whatever is the case personally for me, your remark is another low point for President Jonathan and your own inglorious service. Elections are already here, so Nigerians expect more abysmal ethical sinking (which shows in your response to Ribadu) from you and the presidency you serve. You have achieved the very opposite of what you set out to achieve. We now pay more attention to the Ribadu remark.

    • OLA PEDRO

      the thoughts of one man riot squad-nigeria of ibos yorubas and fulanis-

  • Lanre

    Abati, our NOISY NEIGHBOR. Apology to ManCity fans

  • we nogo die

    Is it Jonathan that has ordered his lieutenants to be talking like this or they are simply men of lowest caliber. Must you resort to this kind of language simply becos you want to defend your boss? What is media relations decorum here. Is it how to manage someone’s image? Has the presidency descended to a motor park?. Do this people in the presidency think they can live in aso rock forever. What becomes of them after Jonathan had finished his third term. It is not even guaranteed that even if Jonathan is going to be there for life, its only them that can hold forth. Where is jonathans former mouth piece?
    Na wa, ma so mede mede dey sweet for mouth?

    • OLA PEDRO

      He should have used worst language than that what about Tinubu who called Jonathan a drunken sailor fisher man-Nigeria is not owned by the yorubas-in APC–u should have voted for ribadu when he came to the west-u refuse to break up the country because of the mans oil yet would not allow him rule quietly-was it not Jonathan who pardoned Ribadu –now biting the fingers that fed him–

      • jonathan

        ola Pedro_na_afam_na_deri_na_mpitikwelu_na_Ken Mani you don come again. Is this what Oga on top asked you to go and write? Me I just dey ask oooo This has only shown that Oga dey rattled true true!

        • igbiki

          Oga @ the top is higly rattled, thats why he is going after all the governors he could reach.

          Very soon you will see the Profoundly Decadent Party (PDP) suspending APGA, CPC, ACN and ANPP Governors, that is after they would have run out of PDP governors to suspend.

      • Sadiq Garba

        When was Ribadu convicted, for him to have been pardoned by Jonathan.

  • Lanre

    I am very happy to read this. Very good for Ribadu. We warned him not to accept to serve under Jonathan. What has come of it? Nothing. Meanwhile, as you shameless leaders are fighting, Nigeria has the highest school truancy ratio in the world. More children are not going to scholl in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world. You want to know the countries better than us? Mali, Yemen, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ethiopia. That is how low Nigeria has been sunk by useless, directionless, hopeless, redundant, inept, corrupt, bankrupt leadership since Ibrahim Babngida to date. Useless group of people ruling an unfortunate citizenry.

    • OLA PEDRO

      Nigerians are still in a state of shock over Ribadu’s total indifference to how Obasanjo became an overnight billionaire after becoming President.It is therefore not in his place to beam the ACN search-lights which he could not train on OBJ, on Jonathan. That is the greatest level of hypocrisy! Gen. Obasanjo was virtually bankrupt when he came out of jail in 1999 and he had only N20,000 in his account according to records of his assets declaration before the Code of Conduct Bureau. His businesses were in ruin when he was in jail but few months after taking office, Ota Farms transformed to overnight prosperity.. Yet Ribadu saw nothing wrong in finding out how Ota Farms could be making 30 million monthly after Obasanjo became a President.In fact, Ribadu himself has been struck by the same virus of corruption he was trying to destroy. He was wanted by the EFCC to account for how assets of convicts were disposed and the obliteration of records in respect of the sales.

      • jonathan

        mpitikwelu_na_Ola pedro_na_KenMani_na_Mani Kay__na_Mr.peter2000 , you just woke up suddenly to flood the place with your paid posts- why did it take you so late to out of the presidency? Did you sleep off afam_na_deri _na_ola pedro? I just dey laf .

      • Sadiq Garba

        A REMINDER
        We are talking of Nigeria under Jonathan and not the OBJ days.

      • Tobibs

        You’ve got to be well paid to have so much time to reply all these comments critical of your employer…You are a failure

  • Oluwaseyi Akindahunsi

    I have just read the Nuhu Ribadu Essay. I also read President Goodluck Jonathan’s response to the essay thru his media adviser-Reuben Abati. The thoughts about Nigeria in the two essays say a lot about the mindsets of the two gentlemen- Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and President Goodluck Jonathan. Since the content of President Goodluck Jonathan’s response thru Abati is consistent with the Goodluck Jonathan we have come to know after he became president, I am no longer sure if Nigeria the biggest African and black nation deserve to have Mr. Goodluck Jonathan as our president. That Goodluck Jonathan response thru Abati is too revealing of poor mindset in the presidency of the biggest black nation on earth. It is shameful. It is ridiculous. Nigeria and Africa deserve more than this. I think we need more of the frankness, objectivity and projection in Mr. Ribadu’s essay to move Nigeria and indeed Africa forward. let us THINK a bit as black people.

    • OLA PEDRO

      How would OBJ have responded to the unpatriotic comment made by Ribadu-May be gone on to write an article himself abi? Go ask Obama if he writes his speeches-when would u people learn to speak the truth-that a man used his boko haramic thoughts to insult the president and u support such rubbish-where was boko haram in IBB buhari and OBJ where was boko haram in late abacha-

      • jonathan

        mpitikwelu_na_Ola pedro_na_KenMani_na_Mani Kay__na_Mr.peter2000 , you just woke up suddenly to flood the place with your paid posts- Did you sleep off? I just dey laf .

        • Tobibs

          Thank God it’s not just me that identified those fraudulent paid PDP agents…

      • Enemona

        Ola Pedro is Abati himself. Egbon, why dey do like this na. You should face important issues. Na wa for you o?

      • Sadiq Garba

        Boko Haram has turned to a very important campaign tool for the PDP and those in power. I’m beginin to doubt their sincerity in fighting it.

      • Tobibs

        The name changes from time to time, the posts are consistent…We know what you are, we know who you are…Nigerians are dying everyday from poverty and diseases because of animals like you…God is the ultimate judge

  • uduakomiri

    I think politics is like a virus and politicians are completely eaten away by it. Abati the columinist who looked at issues from a very broad logical angle is markedly different to Abati the politician who looks at issues from a narrow heavily distorted and coloured prism where logic and reason barely exist outside the walls of an attack dog whose only motivation is ingratiating his paymasters sick cravings.
    You could see this ailment in politicians not just at home but even in the best of places. The US spy agencies were caught pants down a few days ago. There the politicians, as self-righteous as ever, rather than have a rethink, are baying for the blood of Snowden, the guy who exposed their lies. In the UK, the politicians, rock-faced as ever are putting up a smokescreen of moral superiority in the face of something that would make even the most sick individual hold their hands up and surrender.
    I just think, politics, is a mad, lost soul’s business. Yes!

  • kamal

    Ola pedro, shut up! U r always d foolish one on dis page, wen other r making good observations on national issues u r always carried away by sentimental, sectional n religious intents aim at radiculin one northerner or d other. I bliv u r an illetrate n a foolish fools wit no regards for others. Idoit!

  • Oya make them wash their dirty stuff in the public, we are all ears. After all none is born a saint!

  • umar ardo

    I think Reuben Abati should pause to think first b4 castigating Ribadu on any comments the latter makes against President Jonathan. The reason is simple – Abati does not have all the facts in the political relationship between the two. Does Abati know that it was Ribadu who made Jonathan the President of Nigeria in the first place? I bet he doesn’t.

    Now this is how it happened. First Ribadu removed Alams as Governor of Bayelsa to pave way for Jonathan. Is Abati saying that Ribadu was not in contact with Deputy Governor Jonathan in the course of that dirty assignment? I bet he isn’t.

    Does Abati know that Ribadu promised Jonathan to make him the Vice Presidential candidate to Yar’adua after Odili was prevented from running? I bet he doesn’t.

    Does Abati know that it was Ribadu that stood firm against Odili’s nomination as Vice Presidential Candidate? I bet he does – courtesy of Odili’s book “Conscience and History”. But does he know that Ribadu brought Governor Jonathan and kept him in his (Ribadu’s) house for over 24 hours waiting for a call in the Villa to be named Vice Presidential candidate? I bet he doesn’t.

    Does Abati know that when Odili was driving out of the Villa after being called and informed that he was dropped as VP candidate and met with Jonathan driving in to be told that he was picked as VP to Yar’adua it was the fulfillment of Ribadu’s promise to Jonathan? I bet he doesn’t.

    Does Abati know that Jonathan was that day coming straight from Ribadu’s house into the Villa where he had been kept waiting to be called for the good news? I bet he doesn’t.

    Doesn’t Abati know that Jonathan became President at the death of Yar’adua because he was the VP? I bet he does – its constitutional.

    So my advice to Abati is that he should get all his facts b4 coming out to defend his principal on all issues, lest hands will be rubbed in dirt.

  • Sadiq Garba

    So it was all lies that Ribadu’s rank was restored because it was done out of mischief or in error. We are now getting to know who did what favour to who and the expectations of who from the favour to whom.
    I’m disappointed governance has been reduced to such.

  • PEOPLE

    PRESIDENCY PLS. IGNORE RIBADU. HE IS HAUSA/FULANI BLOOD. THEY DON’T LIKE THE SOUTHERNERS. HE CANNOT TRY IBB, ABUBAKAR, ABACHA OR UMARU HE WOULD END UP IN JAIL. SOUTHERNER SHOULD STOP FOOLISHNESS. NIGERIA IS NOT ONE.

  • kenneth

    I will suggest to the presidency to ground Ribadu’s aircraft, if he has none seize his passport; afterall, that’s what is in vogue. If youi oppose the presidency you will be grounded