Celebrating Anti-Corruption Czar At 58: By Muntaka Abdul-Hadi Dabo

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The world, in its entirety, celebrates the arrival of an iconic figure in Nigeria in the early hours of Monday, 21st November 1960, and around the globe, prominent and famous people that were born on that day includes Brain Ritchie and Brian McNamara in the United States of America, and in that special week of November, people of US were listening to ‘Stay’ by Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs, during the tenure of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower of Republican.
 
This iconic person who was born to be a blessing and inspiration to the people around him is no other person than Nuhu Ribadu, the incorruptible Malam of our era, and the first pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
 
His name continued to ring bell almost in every households across Nigeria and beyond because of his outstanding performances in every office he occupied, particularly in the last two decades. His name became a household name in Nigeria when he was appointed to head the anti-graft agency by the then President Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo between the period of 2003-2007. Mallam, as he is fondly called by many people made EFCC the most performing agency then because of excellent, selfless and competent services he rendered and the subsequent achievements recorded.
 
It was during his tenure that most corrupt politicians and public office holders were brought to book for various but grave corruption charges labelled against them. The brave and fearless Malam touched those who thought they were untouchable, and they all ended up in prison. It’s interesting to note that contrary to what some misguided people say about him – that he was being used by Obasanjo to witch-hunt the latter’s political opponents, most of the people that were arrested by the EFCC under Ribadu were all convicted and sent to jail by a competent court of law. Under the leadership of Nuhu Ribadu, EFCC issues thousands of indictment and achieved about 270 convictions. One notable case was that of his boss, the then Inspector General of Police Tafa Balogun, who was convicted, jailed and made to return £150 million under a plea bargain. Bode George, DSP Alamieyeseigha were not all spared by the EFCC.
 
It is a common knowledge to any discerning mind that one of the arrested politicians James Ibori offered $15 million bribe and a mansion abroad to the EFCC boss so that his case will be closed, but as expected of the no-nonsense and honest police officer, Ribadu turned down the offer by not accepting the illegal money that can turn his fortune to become a billionaire! And deposited the money in the central bank of Nigeria to serve as evidence against Ibori of Delta State who is hitherto cooling his heels in UK prison! How many of us can actually do this in all honesty? Sincerely speaking, credit must be given to Malam whether we like it or not.
 
It saddens me whenever I read negative comments about Nuhu Ribadu, even though I don’t expect everyone to like him, but it’s quite unfortunate when people who made a lot of sacrifices and served their fatherland diligently are not much celebrated in their home land. Could it be a deliberate attempt to let the labour of our heroes present goes in vain? While in the service of Nigeria police force and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu diligently served his motherland and recorded a quite number of tremendous achievements that no one has so far recorded such in the history of EFCC. The most notable amongst his achievements are the delisting of Nigeria from the FATF’s list of Non-cooperative countries and territories, admission into the prestigious Egmont group and the withdrawal of US Treasury advisory on Nigeria by the FINCEN, these, together with many unmentioned achievements, were critical to the perception of Nigeria globally.
 
Nuhu Ribadu, a trained lawyer and fearless crime fighter, is a proud recipient of several awards as a police officer, prosecutor and chairman of EFCC. He received the IGP special awards in 1997, 1998 and 2000. In 2008, he received the World Bank’s Jit Gill memorial award for outstanding public service for having led a courageous anti-corruption drive in Nigeria as head of EFCC. In 2008, Ribadu completed the senior Executive course of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies where he was conferred with the Membership of the National Institute,MNI.
 
In June 2010, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by Babcock University Ogun state, in recognition of his Resolute change as well as his fierce stance against corruption in the face of sponsored disgrace and certain death that has resulted into positive changes and global acclaim hitherto considered impossible. Since 2014, notable newspapers and magazines have repeatedly voted Dr Nuhu Ribadu as man of the year, in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a committed crusader against corruption and other related crimes.
 
One may still wish to criticize Ribadu if he/she so desire, but his outstanding achievements can’t be taken away from him. The diligent and excellent services he rendered to his fatherland were not only recognized in Nigeria, but internationally. His outstanding performance later earned him a work with the United Nation as the UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan by the UN Department for International Development. The Adamawa born politician, TED fellow and a Senior Fellow in St. Anthony’s College of University of Oxford, London has since written his name in Gold, especially when he concede defeat in the 2015 gubernatorial elections in his state, losing to the candidate of APC. Sincerely speaking, Ribadu was the best governor Adamawa couldn’t have because of his party affiliation then (PDP), not because he lacks the basic qualities to govern the good people of Adamawa State. But as a true believer, Malam accepted the outcome of the elections in good faith and congratulated Jibrila Bindow, knowing fully that power belongs to Allah alone, and He gives it to whosoever He wishes and at any time. This is something very rare to get among our politicians, but Ribadu Stands out to be entirely different among today’s politicians.
 
It’s my candid opinion that Ribadu would have a date with history in the future and my brethren from Adamawa will regret not giving him the mandate to steer the affairs of the State. Malam Nuhu Ribadu Received the ‘Game Changer’ award by ThisDay newspaper 2015 for initiating a series of no-nonsense measures as chairman of the EFCC and for giving individuals with questionable character a big chase.
 
In a quest for higher call to serve humanity, Ribadu has, since 2010, been, involved in active politics, and as one of the founding members of APC, Ribadu is doing everything possible now to ensure the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 general elections. The retired Assistant inspector general of police has done a lot for Nigeria and international community, and we can’t deny the fact that he has contributed immensely to the growth of our democracy to its present state.
 
The year 2012 saw Mall. Ribadu accepted to head an inquest into government’s revenue from the oil sector under the administration of one of the most patient and tolerable President Nigeria ever had Dr Goodluck Jonathan, an assignment he handled with his characteristic passion and dexterity, turning in a report that has since become reference point on reforming the Nigeria’s oil industry.
 
Ribadu, the greatest anti-corruption Czar Africa has ever witnessed have indeed shone among stars, led among leaders and shown what it takes to be a great agent of change. At the moment, he is the most adorable and celebrated politician in Nigeria and is gaining aggressive popularity both home and abroad on daily basis. It’s my candid opinion that it will take a decade or more before any politician can compete with Malam in terms of popularity, acceptance and public goodwill. Sir, as you celebrate your 58th birthday today 21/11/2018, Nigerians are proud of you and wishing you all the good things that life can offer. May Allah (SWT) continue to shower you with more blessings, grace, good health, wisdom and knowledge to contribute more to the development of Adamawa State in particular, and Nigeria in general.
 
Dabo writes from Zaria.

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