The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has distanced itself from the appointment of its Presidential flag bearer in the 2011 election, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as chairman of the Special Task Force on Petroleum Revenue by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke.
It said that the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was using Ribadu’s appointment to shore up its sagging image.
However, Mallam Ribadu has dismissed the objection to his appointment by his party saying that corruption was another form of security threat, which required all hands on the deck to eradicate.
Ribadu, in a statement entitled: “When the Nation Calls,” also said that he did not feel diminished by taking up the job, which was to fight corruption in the oil sector as the Nigerian public had complained against same through their protests against the last increase in the pump price of petrol.
“My own parents taught me that honest public service is the greatest asset a person can offer his community. It is all about the community, and it is sometimes bigger than our personal egos.”
However, apart from insisting that Jonathan’s administration wanted to shore up its sagging image with Ribadu’s appointment, the ACN also said it “has a long-standing position barring members of the party from accepting appointments from the PDP-led Federal Government.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, the party said: “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.”
As a leading opposition party, the ACN said “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.”
Mohammed further said that despite the party’s efforts, as well as those of other parties, individuals and organisations, in offering well-meaning suggestions to the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, it had not demonstrated good faith in this respect .
Meanwhile, Ribadu’s statement read in part: “I was greeted to numerous calls and mails yesterday when the administration announced my name as Chairman of the 2l-man Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force. Given my recent political pedigree, many inquirers naturally wanted to understand what was happening, and whether it was true that I was consulted and whether I would accept the offer.
“The history of my life is a history of public service, and if we cast an honest look to the recent protests in the wake of the oil subsidy removal, it will be clear to all that the biggest single victory Nigerians scored was to put the question of corruption squarely back on the top of our national policy agenda.
“Regardless of our affiliations, our differences, and our engagements, it is at least safe to say that we have a national consensus on the deadly impact of corruption on our march to greatness, and on the capacity of our people, particularly the youth, to earn a decent, promising, life. If we would effectively isolate and defeat this scourge therefore, we must all see it as a preeminent national security threat.
“We must see it as a war within our borders, a war that has assumed a systemic and endemic character, but to which all must now urgently enlist with our different capacities, or accept to all go down with the ship. At this point m my life, it is also easy to answer the honest question if it is inappropriate to invest my modest talents and capabilities to my country what I have readily offered many foreign communities, from sister nations in Africa to far flung places like Afghanistan.
“This, if nothing, makes my decision very personal, freeing all affiliations (social and political) of complicity, but investing the decision also with the unique character that when people reach evaluations in favour of their larger communities, it doesn’t necessarily blemish their moral identity.
“This, therefore, is a national call. In answering it, I go back to the template of my own parents, who taught me that honest public service is the greatest asset a person can offer his community. It was the same lesson I learnt from his biographical example when my own father returned home as a federal legislator in Lagos to take job as a local council official in Yola-it is all about the community, and it is sometimes bigger than our personal egos”.
Ribadu’s decision personal — Falana
HUMAN Rights activist, Mr Femi Falana has described Nuhu Ribadu’s acceptance of the chairmanship of Petroleum Taskforce as a personal decision, noting that he(Falana) had expressed reservations when Ribadu told him about the appointment earlier.
According to him, “during the recent general strike and public protests against the removal of fuel subsidy, Nigerians were united in demanding for accountability and transparency in the oil and gas industry.
Although the battle for reversal of fuel price to N65 per litre was not fully won, the Goodluck Jonathan Administration has been compelled to set the engine in motion for the investigation of the monumental fuel importation scam by the efcc. Before the protests, the government had shielded the cartel of pampered economic saboteurs smiling to the bank at the nation’s expence!
The recommendations in the kpmg report submitted to government in november 2010 and thrown to the shelves are now to be implemented.”
He further noted that, “The federal executive council has also appointed two external auditors to investigate the nnpc, an agency whose budget has never been submitted to the national assembly since 1999. On its own part,the lawan farouk committee set up by the house of representatives is exposing the unprecedented rot in the fuel subsidy fraud. Incidentally, the acn members in the committee are doing very well. It is also on record that all the 36 governors, except one, supported the removal of fuel subsidy.”
In addition , Falana said, “Since the conclusion of the 2011 general elections mr nuhu ribadu has been involved in the establishment of an anti-corruption agency in afghanistan, an initiative of the united nations.
When he informed me three days ago that the federal government had requested him to head a presidential committee to investigate the fraud in the payment of royalties by oil companies mr nuhu ribadu made it clear to me that he was going to take a decision after consulting with some trusted political allies. Although i expressed my reservations with respect to the commitment of a pro-imperialist regime to engage in genuine transformation, from the way mr ribadu spoke to me i was left in no doubt that he was totally on his own!”