8th February, 2012
Former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Malam Nuhu Ribadu is under enormous pressure to either accept or reject his appointment as head of petroleum revenue task force.
It was announced Tuesday that Ribadu had been appointed to head the 17-member petroleum revenue special task force constituted by the Federal Government.
Those who want him to reject the job said it was demeaning for a presidential candidate to accept an appointment offered him by a minister, adding it would have been more honourable if it came from the president himself.
Ribadu, who could not be reached for comments at press time, is said to be away in Afghanistan on an assignment by the United Nations.
However, his party, ACN, has issued a statement regarding the appointment, saying he takes the job in his personal capacity.
According to the party, in the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has reiterated its long-standing position barring members of the party from accepting appointments from the PDP-led Federal Government.
‘’As a political party, we wish to reiterate our position barring any member of our party from taking any appointment whatsoever from the PDP-led Federal Government. Any member of our party who takes such an appointment does so in his personal capacity,’’ it said.
ACN said, however, that as a leading opposition party, it will continue to play its role in ensuring good governance and contributing to nation building through its regular constructive criticisms which, hitherto and unfortunately so, have fallen on deaf ears.
The party said despite its efforts, as well as those of other parties, individuals and organisations, in offering well-meaning suggestions to the inept Jonathan administration, the administration has not demonstrated good faith in this respect.
‘’For instance, on the vexed issue of removal of petroleum subsidy, it is on record that our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, responded with patriotic and constructive suggestions during a meeting between the President in Abuja. At the end of that meeting, President Jonathan promised to further consult with us before taking any further step in respect of the matter.
‘’To our amazement, and true to the deceptive nature of this Administration, we all woke up on January 1st, 2012, to learn that the government has unilaterally removed subsidy from petrol. How then can we, in good conscience, work with such an Administration?
How can we be sure that these slew of appointments are not being used by the Administration to shore up its sagging – or totally sagged – credibility?
‘’We believe that when a party as clueless and inept as the PDP finds itself incapable of solving the myriad of problems facing it, as it is currently the situation, the party should be humble and honest enough to accept its failure and cluelessness and openly seek help from the opposition parties.
‘’However, rushing to poach credible personalities from the opposition without first accepting that it is overwhelmed by the problems facing it smacks of underhand tactics aimed at decimating the opposition and also tarnishing the well-earned credibility of such personalities. After all, one can never be sure – going by the deceptive nature of the PDP – that the kind of appointment now being offered to Malam Ribadu is being made in good faith or just to get credible people to launder the government’s badly damaged image and credibility.
‘’There is also the possibility that booby-traps will be deliberately set for such credible personalities to guarantee their failure in their stated assignment, after which they will be ridiculed and dumped like an ordinary chump!’’ ACN said.
However, family members say Ribadu is still considering whether to accept the appointment or not, reports Premium Times, an on-line publication.
Premium Times also said it could not ascertain Tuesday if Ribadu was consulted before the appointment was announced, as he is currently outside the country on a special international anti-corruption assignment in Afghanistan.
The publication said sources close to Mr. Ribadu said “the ex-police officer had been under intense international and local pressure to give the nation a helping hand in its accountability quotient especially in the corruption-ridden oil sector, but he had repeatedly excused himself giving his ongoing United Nations assignment in Afghanistan as evidence that he was busy beyond bounds.
“He had also reportedly said he was not opposed to serving the nation in any capacity to advance its good governance, but could not overload his availability because of the United Nations assignment.
“When a new wave of pressure reportedly mounted again last month in the wake of the national outrage over the removal of oil subsidy, Mr. Ribadu was unreachable because, family sources say, he was at a Manchester Hospital in the UK helping to save the life of his only sister.”
Premium Times further reports that “With the Afghan assignment at an advanced stage, Mr. Ribadu started getting calls again. Family sources expect that he will ‘most certainly accept’ the assignment.
The task force, which has the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, as deputy chairman, also includes other prominent Nigerians as members.
They are a one-time President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and constitutional lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba; Abba Kyari, Benedicta Molokwu, Supo Sasore, Tony Idigbe, Anthony George-Ikoli, Omolara, Ituah Ighodalo, Bon Otti, Olusegun Okunnu, Samaila Zubairu, Ignatius Adegunle, Gerald Ilukwe and two ex-officio officers representing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Federal Ministry of Finance.