Nuhu Ribadu's valentine blues By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan

It’s twenty -four hours to Valentine’s Day and I know I’m gonna have a bad one this year. And, there’s one man to blame for that. Nuhu Ribadu.

A few years ago when I was broke in the first week of February, I informed my girlfriend at the time that Valentine’s Day was against my faith. She asked if I was a Jehovah’s Witness. I replied that my faith tells me that by my ways I shall be known. She was so shocked she was speechless.

I took it a step further. I told her it was my principle to adopt heroes for Valentine’s Day. Of course, the girl hopped on the wagon of the next Romeo that rode by before the next Valentine’s Day. But, my lie became a principle. For a few years after that, it was tough to actually follow my own principle. But, last year, my heart and principle finally got in sync.

I decided Goodluck Jonathan would be my Valentine. And, that was before I knew he was wasting his vice presidency reading newspapers everyday in his office. At least that’s what his wife said he was doing in a book on the Yar A’dua’s presidency.

You couldn’t miss with Jonathan. He was the song of the last electoral season. The nation loved him so much you could hear Muhammadu Buhari rolling around, sleepless in his bed at night and wondering, “how do you fight a messiah with a bowler hat?”

After the election, I decided Nuhu Ribadu would be my 2012 Valentine. The man needed some love. Weeks before the last election, he looked like a beautiful bride. Then, on the eve of the election, he got dumped on the altar. His party’s leader and backbone endorsed Jonathan. Ouch!

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How does a man survive that? It’s like a baby being abandoned in his hospital crib after birth. The man was so hurt he ran to the United Nations who took one look at him and decided his party had wounded him so much he needed to be exiled. So, they sent him to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan! The place where men in robes lob bombs at military planes in the air! I thought Ribadu’s friends should have sued the UN for an organization’s inhumanity to man. But, in fairness to the UN, they probably thought a man who once chased official thieves in Africa and got dumped by his party leaders must relish talking to unpredictable, hot-blooded men in robes.

When I heard that Ribadu had been offered the petroleum task force gig, I laughed so hard my back went out. I was laughing because I knew he would put Jonathan in his proper place. I knew he would call a press conference where he will set the appointment letter on fire while screaming, “not getting stained with your good luck, Jonathan!”

But, when he announced he was accepting the position, I felt like I was having a heart attack. No! I screamed under the bright California skies as I jogged mid-morning. It took a park official asking if I was okay to stop me from screaming.

I am disappointed in Ribadu. He’s not going to be my Valentine anymore.

And, I don’t buy the argument that he’s accepting the job because he’s a patriot. What school of activism did this Mallam get his credentials from? A Nigerian patriot cannot work for the Jonathan administration. It means one less activist would be available the next time the professional activists decide to go “occupying”.

A patriot does not contribute to the growth of his country because if he does, there would be nothing to complain about.

And, a patriot definitely does not appear in the same picture with the president. It confuses executive and regular “area boys” everywhere.

I actually accept Ribadu’s argument that his parents taught him to value public service. Public protest is public service too. Ribadu is just choosing to do his public service on the wrong side of the street.

Ribadu’s new job has rightly got the blood of some of the folks in his former constituencies boiling. They are screaming “traitor!” The party under whose flag he ran for the presidency, ACN, is crying “Et tu Nuhu”.

I am with the ACN publicity chief, Lai Mohammed for coming out promptly and letting the world know Ribadu is on his own here. I agree Nigeria is better off when there is a sharp line between the opposition and the ruling party.

I wonder if Mohammed would retroactively issue a statement affirming that when his national leader endorsed Goodluck Jonathan in the last presidential election, he was acting on his own too.

Or, if he would call on all his party’s federal legislators to withdraw from all committee leadership and make this country a truly PDP problem. It’s what every country’s legislator does anyway and it would be great if the noble ACN takes the lead on this again.

If Mohammed does that within the next twenty-four hours, I might adopt ACN as my Valentine this year.


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