Tuesday, May 25, 2010
NUHU RIBADU'S VOLTE-FACE, ANOTHER BLACK-EYE FOR PRESIDENT JONATHAN?
It is with utmost regret and sadness that Icheoku received the news that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has successfully twisted the arms of the Police Service Commission (PSC) into swallowing back its vomit by reversing itself on the matter of previously sacked former anti corruption czar, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu? According to sourced information, the PSC was forced into this about-turn by the government of President Jonathan which has been bending over backwards at every turn to accommodate a retinue of unending United States of America requests, wishes and interests; including the rehabilitation of a man they felt helped give Nigeria's war on corruption some teeth? However it is on record that the same United States has never condemned Olusegun Obasanjo for all the atrocities he committed in Nigeria while in office including using Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to hound his opponents in a failed attempt to force his third term agenda on Nigerians? So why, Jonathan?
Icheoku is not necessarily against Nuhu Ribadu or his soon to be, newly found re-emergence into reckoning in Nigeria, no, we even stood up for him when he was dismissed; admitted we had then questioned his selective war on corruption? But what we have beef with is the apparent interference of the Jonathan's presidency into a purely judicial, albeit a police administrative matter; against an action taken by a duly empowered police service commission thereby greatly weakening the morals of the men and women who are expected to be motivated enough into putting their lives on the line to secure lives and properties of Nigerians? This sudden about-face is capable of drastically impacting everything uniting and coalescing the police force and tempting the remaining rank and file into become very political, knowing that someday, they will probably find themselves in similar situation as the policeman turned politician Nuhu Ribadu?
The action of President Jonathan has the propensity to yield some undesired results, some of which ramifications cannot now be fathomed; including adversely affecting the body-fiber of the structure of the police force disciplinary cohesiveness? If Icheoku recalls correctly, the July 2008 decision which reverted unjustly promoted officers, including Nuhu Ribadu, to their previous meritorious ranks, affected 139 other officers; - men and women who were speed-promoted by the infra-dignitious Obasanjo against every police code regarding promotion? Now, Icheoku wants to know what behoves of these other officers who saluted and bowed out to their order of reversal in accordance with existing police rules of service? Did President Jonathan, by his action ordering the reinstatement of radical Nuhu Ribadu, open the flood-gates of recalcitrance and insubordination within the police rank and file of the police? What type of precedent is being set by this particular order that a duly dismissed police officer, whose penchant for hounding down only known Obasanjo critics, should be reinstated and allowed his unmerited rank? If this is not the end of police law and order in Nigeria, and an un-contradicted evidence of undue interference by the presidency in a purely administrative concern of the PSC, then Icheoku sees nothing else good beyond the horizon.
Icheoku in the strongest term, condemns the order to reinstate Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to the police, following his lawful procedural administrative dismissal; and as an added insult, sustaining his unearned AIG rank which is above and beyond his pay-grade? What about his colleagues who had played by the books without playing to the gallery of partisan politics or unscrupulously allowed themselves to be used by a vicious President Olusegun Obasanjo in prosecuting his failed third term agenda? Icheoku declares that this action is capable of becoming a death-nail on the coffin of a disciplined Nigeria police force; and may be the beginning of the end of a cohesive and disciplined police that would not ordinarily have allowed itself to be used in the manner Obasanjo used and applied Nuhu Ribadu in hunting down his enemies both real and imagined? Mallam Ribadu did what is expected of any aggrieved person by heading to court to challenge his rank-reversal and subsequent dismissal; but the matter should have been allowed to resolve itself within the court system and not by this flagrant executive interference.
It is equally important to recall that Nuhu Ribadu was dismissed for ignoring a lawful order to appear before a police panel of investigation, just in a similar manner as Ibrahim Babangida snubbed Justice Oputa panel; and now President Jonathan is impliedly saying by his action, that insubordination is an ok thing in the police rank and file? It also does not matter to President Jonathan that Nuhu Ribadu was a wanted man in Nigeria or that he is on the lam for evading justice on a corruption allegation which is being pursued by the EFCC or that he was lopsided while then prosecuting alleged corrupt public officials who were anti-Obasanjo's third term? It also does not matter to President Jonathan that those people who sat over Ribadu in judgment, acted on the prompting of some authorities which included then vice president Jonathan Goodluck based on a collective responsibility of that government, which he now heads? So Icheoku is at sea on this sudden populist policies and pursuits as well as the 'holier-than-Yar'Adua' actions being taken by President Jonathan, who was complicit in the Yar'Adua government as its vice president and acting president? This sudden volte-face is rather ridiculous and has seriously reduced Jonathan's credibility before the eyes of many unbiased fair-minded Nigerians, as he can no longer claim to be an impartial good-intentioned completion of term president. Simply stated, President Jonathan Ebele Goodluck has lost all justification as an impartial, goal-directed and focused president; and Nigerians better watch out for more surprises?
According to available information, as part of Ribadu's remission of sins agreement, "he will become President Jonathan's adviser on anti-corruption, with supervisory role over anti-corruption agencies in the country including his former agency, the EFCC; the ICPC; the Code of Conduct Bureau as well as other related agencies. Icheoku asks, how can Ribadu now be made to supervise the EFCC which has been itching to prosecute him all these months of his forced exile to answer for his alleged misdeeds; just like all those cases Ribadu was prosecuting and for which he became popular, are also based on "alleged misdeeds," yet to be proven? Icheoku really does not get the rationale behind this sudden "Saint Ribadu" attitude of the government of President Jonathan after what Olusegun Obasanjo used him to do, hounding all and any and every person who ever criticized Obasanjos' heinous policies while his regime lasted.
A smart presidency would have persuaded the judiciary to order Nuhu Ribadu's reinstatement but not to so brazenly ridicule the PSC by forcing their hands into shamefully reversing course and thereby weakening their moral authority and making them loose face in the process? Imagine a now newly empowered and haughty Nuhu Ribadu, breathing down on his newly created subordinates including those who sat in judgment over him and those EFCC operatives who were merely doing their job, trying to investigate an accused Ribadu? This is the reason why Nigeria is not moving forward and can never move forward until succeeding governments start seeing themselves as a continuum and/or off-shoot of the preceding government; and not necessarily in competition or rabid rivalry with them, trying to outdo them and over-rule every previous preceding policies and actions? If only Nigeria have men and women with some resolve and convictions, there would have been series of resignations among the high-ups in the PSC as well as the police itself, in protestation of this wanton interference of the Jonathan's presidency?
Icheoku does not begrudge the presidency and the executive arm of the government of its power of 'nolle prosequi'; but we strongly reject the idea of diluting and undermining the powers of the police service commission by selectively forgiving Nuhu Ribadu's of all his alleged intransigence, just because they can and now beatifying him a "Saint Ribadu?" The merit of his case is not Icheoku's concern but suffice it to say, we would rather it was judiciously and judiciary concluded at the courts and what is done ought to have remained done; and the matter should have been left alone in the tier of government charged with redressing wrongs? The good news however is that the presidency of Jonathan Goodluck will not last forever and will surely someday come to an end; - gone the way of all past leaderships of Nigeria, including the notorious Babangida regime, Obasanjo's nefarious autocracy, Abacha's murderous vice-hold of Nigeria etc. One day a king who does not know Joseph will ascend the throne and call for rendering of accounts, including a 're-sacking of Nuhu Ribadu' if he so chooses?
What a travesty of justice and overbearing presidential arm-twisting of an organ of the government charged with police discipline and day to day administrative over-sight? A government that preaches the rule of law should not have pulled the rug from under the law in this fashion, and should have allowed whatever wrong and grievances Nuhu Ribadu had with the police authorities to be settled by the established arbiter - the judiciary! Once again, President Jonathan Ebele Goodluck has shown that he is not any different from the rest of the pack and sooner than later, Nigerians will come to realize the dud check that was written to them in the taciturn zoology PhD, whose type William Shakespeare by extension, had warned the world against when he penned 'He thinks too much: such men are dangerous!" The good news however is that unbeknownst to this gullible Jonathan, by his action, he is ringing himself with Obasanjo's hatchet-men; and the deity of Otta, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo would have succeeded in weaving a black-widow spider's web around him and his government; and soon and very soon, the choke-hold will become a complete death-choke of a government that has been fledgling since its inception. As a good policy, Nuhu Ribadu should not have been forced back on the police service commission since such humiliating action is capable of undermining their authority, and not by the presidency; his retirement notwithstanding!