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Dele Sobowale: A Tale Of Two Defectors, Fani-Kayode And Ribadu



“A honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will remain bought.” Simon Cameron, c1860, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p190.

A honest politician, like a chaste prostitute, is almost an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. Still there are a few who are passably honest and stay true to the ideals associated with them from start to finish. By contrast, the nation had witnessed a tragic-comical episode of two young politicians who in the space of a few years have turned themselves into political nuisances. Incidentally, unlike most Nigerians, I was among the first to detect the real persons from the facades to which others subscribed about Fani-Kayode and Ribadu. I had written nothing less than ten columns on the two in the past. The last two years of Obasanjo’s rule exposed them to thoughtful observers – even while superficial analysts were still taking them seriously. Let me start by recounting a recent encounter with the “dandy duo” (as they would henceforth be called).

A rolling stone, we learnt in our childhood, gathers no moss. That may be true. But, it acquires some experience which a stationary block will find it difficult to match. To say I am restless is to understate my habit. I doubt there is another columnist in Nigeria today who had covered twenty eight states of Nigeria in the last twelve months. That is my tally.

It was on one of those trips which brought me in contact with the dandy duo. Mr Sam Ndah-Isaiah, the only declared Presidential aspirant, was having a house warming function to which a few “friends” were invited – including the dandy duo and me. I arrive before they did. The two and a third fellow stormed into the premises a little late and quickly gathered all the attention. Soon, it was self-introduction time and there was applause aplenty for these two “strong pillars of the APC” – as a young man sitting next to me called them. My answer to the young man and those on the same table with me was simple. “Sam and the APC obviously don’t recognize two Trojan horses when they gallop into their camp. Call me any name if Fani-Kayode and Ribadu are still with APC by December.” The young man and others could not believe their ears.

“You mean that after all the things Fani-Kayode and Ribadu had said about the PDP they will return to the party?” asked one of them.

“They will return because they are on a mission. It is only the leaders of the APC who are TOO STUPID to know they are being taken for a joyful ride on those two Trojan horses.” That was my reply. I neither had the time nor the inclination to elaborate at the time. But, because the young man called me last week after Ribadu followed Fani-Kayode back to PDP – after swallowing their own vomit, I will now briefly explain. Permit me to summarise before presenting the evidence. It is in their characters and one of them inherited his own political duplicity from a late father who was also a deadly politician in his days. Those of us who lived in the Western Region can testify to that. I have a personal testimony – which had been kept a secret till now about late Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, QC. One day, I might write a book titled FANIKAYODE AND FANIKAYODE. It could be a comedy or a tragedy – depending on the reader’s mood.

The other character was brought out of obscurity, as an Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of Police to fame (now notoriety) and prominence – when Obasanjo tapped him for the position of the first Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He started out on a fast track, but started derailing by 2005. Among his many unethical and unconstitutional measures were his use of the EFCC and police to shut down States Houses of Assembly and encourage such monstrosity as six House members in Plateau State impeaching eighteen members. Yet, Ribadu is said to be a lawyer. When he waded into the looting of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund, PDTF, it was to exonerate, despite overwhelming evidence, President Obasanjo who was later indicted by the Senate Committee probing the matter. [Read the details in my book — PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED]. By the time he was dropped by Yar’Adua, Ribadu had himself become corrupted. He bought his official residence for far more money than he could have earned in 1000 years service – and explained the source of the funds as a “loan”.

Ribadu is fortunate that he lives in a nation of people who cannot remember what happened yesterday – let alone in 2005-7. So, when the “Progressives”, generally intelligent, but not wise, went for Ribadu to fly their flag in 2011, I was sure commonsense had taken a leave of absence among the leaders of the ACN. Perhaps now, they will put on their thinking caps and stop grabbing at every floating object to save their political lives.

The next question is: has the PDP got a bargain by this defection? Not bloody likely. Ribadu, had disparaged the PDP and President Jonathan, so much, that only a party and a President lacking in self-respect and confidence will embrace him now. Is the PDP saying it cannot win in Adamawa without Ribadu who had never won any election in his life? Even his brand of “Mr Clean” does not sell very well in that state. He has never helped anybody there and nobody owes him a debt to repay. He is without any political value whatsoever in Adamawa…..


Rolling, as usual, I found myself in Uyo, early this week and on Wednesday August 20, 2014, the state stood still for Umana Umana, the former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, who celebrated his 55th birthday. Surprisingly, the mammoth crowd included people from all the three ethnic groups – Ibibio, Anang and Oron. Is a coalition of forces shaping up? Wait for more….


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