The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential aspirant and former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, is still bitter about his premature retirement from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
For this, Ribadu has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of retiring him “for no just cause”.
Although the ex-EFCC boss was dismissed from the police by the late President Musa Yar’Adua, Jonathan reversed the decision, when he took over, and converted the dismissal to retirement.
But, Ribadu is still not happy with the gesture.
In an interview with the Nigeriavillagesquare, a United States (U.S.)-based Nigerian website, the former anti-corruption crusader said, vis-a-vis the rumour making the round that he was fronting for the Jonathan presidency: “This is a government that has retired me for no reason.
I’ve not done anything; I’ve given 25 years of my own life into the public service and they retired me.
“What Jonathan did was just to change it from dismissal to retirement. And I am yet to be told what I’ve done for me to be retired from the public service.
“And some people will still come round and say that I’m doing this for Jonathan? For God’s sake, for what reason? What reason? Why?
“How can you punish somebody and again take advantage of it? No, it’s so unfair, I mean I feel real sad, when people talk like this. But above all, I worked all my life to improve my own people, my own country.
I can never…Nuhu Ribadu will be the last one to be used, more so, somebody who have been treated unfairly.”
While chastising the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the ruling party, saying that he has nothing to do with his presidential aspiration, Ribadu submitted that the party has “been extremely unfair to Nigerians and unfair to me”.
He added: “I did, to the best of my ability, what I thought was the right thing and they went after me, they punished me, they humiliated me, they took me out of public service, they retired me, and I’ve not got one penny up to this moment. And people are talking about me being used? I think that is very unfair to me.”
Asked to justify why Nigerians should vote for him, Ribadu said, for instance, the EFCC he helped midwife and served as its chairman is now a household name in Nigeria and abroad.
Besides, he said, “I also had the chance as a law enforcement officer and also in the capacity as the chairman of EFCC to address one of the biggest problems confronting our country – corruption.
“I had that chance and I fought corruption and I think I have something to show for it.
I believe that I did it as part of a team of Nigerians who go up and said ‘yes we could do it, we changed the country a lot, we recovered so much money, we got a couple of convictions, and we, as a result of that carved a little bit of a better name for our country.’”
He expressed happiness that he was part of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration’s “reform team”, listing other members of the team as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and Malam Nasir El Rufai, among others
According to him, he was part of the team that brought “a change in the country within a short period of time”.
He said part of the achievements of the team included the country’s foreign reserve that was less than $7 billion at the time, when they started the reforms, adding that “by the time in 2007, when we had four years of reforms, it went to over $60 billion”.
Besides, Ribadu said the team “wiped out the national debts of Nigeria, as well as improved general fiscal responsibility and budgetary performance. Things started changing in our own country. I was part of the change, central in everything that took place.
I had that chance to exhibit my economic qualifications as well”.
On what he intends doing, if Nigerians elect him as the president in 2011, Ribadu said: “In one minute, I’ll bring justice to our people. I will unify our people. I will bring security to our people. I will stop violent crime – kidnapping, armed robberies and piracy, among others. I will stop them.
I will stop corruption in our country. I will confront poverty. I will improve education.
I will build health institutions so that we do not have to go out for medical attention. I will get universities and tertiary institutions that will be good enough for people to send their children to, not to be looking outside.
I can assure you, I’m going to address all issues like power challenges, basic infrastructure, those agencies that can make life easy for our own people; I do intend to provide them within a record time, it’s not going to be a long time, I can do it, I believe I can do it.”
In Kaduna, the pan-Northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), asked Jonathan to perish his dream of succeeding himself in 2011, insisting that it was the turn of the North to produce the next president.
In a statement yesterday, the ACF insisted that there was no going back on its earlier stand on Northern agitation to produce the next civilian President after the unfortunate death of its son, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5.
The forum argued that as the umbrella body of the region, it was imperative for it to protect the interest of the North.
It made the declaration at the occasion of the inauguration of its Kaduna chapter yesterday.
The ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, noted that the country was gradually sliding into a one-party state, anybody or zone that wanted to produce the 2011 presidency certainly will take into consideration the unfolding development within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also stressed the need for all the political parties in the land to field Northerners as it obtained in 1999.
He said: “I know some people will ask why you people said you wanted zoning. That it is a PDP affair. Our answer is that at the moment, if you want to get power, you cannot ignore the PDP, you cannot ignore the character of the presidential candidates.
“Nigeria is almost becoming a one-party state and you want us to close our eyes to what is happening in such a party.
“Let me tell you, when they (PDP) were selling their form, the PDP was able to raise N4 billion from just selling of forms. You can see now that this is a party that can raise N4 billion from forms, so it gives you the idea about the political party and why everybody is going there.
“The other issue that has been engaging our attention is whether the ACF has been partisan or not. For example, in the past, there has been politics of resource control, there has been politics of federal character and a lot of issues. These issues were not partisan.
There was the issue of third term and it was non partisan. Now, people say because we are not partisan, that we cannot take political decisions. But we normally take positions when it comes to political issues that affect the North.
“Since they wanted zoning and they are our own people and the zoning is not against the Northern interest, we have no basis whatsoever to go against it because it is in our interest.
“So, what we want is that if all the political parties have all their candidates from the North, the final outcome will be that of Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae in 1999 it will be a family affair.
“Why we came to that decision (that all political parties should field northerners as presidential candidates in 2011), but people thought that we just came to that decision like that, they don’t know that is not true we actually thought seriously about it.
“So, I am pleading with you that are now in this Forum to find a way of coming together so that all our decisions can be one.”