By Emmanuel Aziken
Exactly a week ago, erstwhile chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu sent out a tweet saying, “I just dropped off my daughter, Fatima, in her new home. It’s emotionally fulfilling exercise for a father.”
However, for many others who have followed Mallam from far and near, his tweet and the marriage of his daughter to the son of Atiku Abubakar was also emotionally and politically touching.
When Mallam Ribadu said he dropped off his daughter in her new husband’s house, he also did not say that his new son-in-law was a son of a man he told the whole world was a thief.
In December 2006 Mallam Ribadu was at the centre of the plot by the cabal within the Olusegun Obasanjo administration to politically asphyxiate Atiku Abubakar.
The thrust against Atiku came from two angles and incidentally, the drivers of the two crusades against Atiku’s political fulfilment were fellow Fulani brothers from Adamawa.
Mallam Ribadu was at the front of the campaign to paint Atiku as corrupt, while another Adamawa Fulani, Senator (Prof.) Jibril Aminu led the campaign to extinguish Atiku’s political structure in the state.
The plank of Ribadu’s push against Atiku was the investigation into the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF.
Ribadu and other fellow Amen crooners in the Obasanjo camp accused Atiku of sundry crimes in the commission. The Senate was also used as a facilitator in what many saw as a witch-hunt directed at Atiku.
Though he was not yet the Senate President at the time, Senator David Mark who led the most organized Senate caucus with loyalty to President Obasanjo ensured that the Senate approved the report of the PTDF investigations which indicted Atiku.
As Atiku went to court to challenge the indictment of the Senate, his foes including his just emerged brother-in-law, Mallam Ribadu were one step ahead of him.
Irrespective of the court proceedings they went and produced an Administrative Panel of Inquiry which based on the submissions of the Mallam Ribadu led EFCC indicted Atiku and barred him from participating in the 2007 presidential election.
The issue of using such panels for political vendetta got to the idiotic level when a panel also constituted by Governor Orji Uzor Kalu in Abia State barred Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo from contesting the 2007 Senate election in Ogun State!
Just before the Ribadu option, the political offensive against Atiku had been launched.
The PDP in 2005 in a bid to boost or clean up its register decided to undertake a membership re-registration exercise under which all present and new members were expected to go back to their bases to register.
Remarkably, instead of carrying out the membership validation exercise through its established official structures, the party appointed what it called Linkmen to conduct the exercise.
The linkman for Adamawa State, incidentally, happened to be Senator Jibril Aminu who many in Adamawa say had and perhaps still has a pathological animosity for Atiku!
Aminu got the support of other Atiku haters in Adamawa including Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd.) who provided a jet from his Albarka Airline that ferried Aminu and his delegation to Yola for the exercise.
Atiku who also went for the exercise in his Jada base did not find anyone to attend to him! When it got to Atiku, there were no cards nor officials to attend to him!
It took the initiative of Chief Audu Ogbeh, the then chairman of the PDP to visit Atiku in his Abuja official residence to register him.
So when Mallam Ribadu last Wednesday spoke of emotions driving him as he handed over his daughter to the son of a man he once labelled a thief, it was bound to be touching.
The Ribadu and Atiku case is not exceptional in Adamawa. Before now, some Nigerians have also watched with amusement the war between the Bamanga Tukur and the Murtala Nyako families.
Despite the fact that Tukur’s son is married to Nyako’s daughter that did not stop the two men from exhausting one another politically.
Few know that the decision of Tukur as PDP chairman to dissolve the state exco of the party in Adamawa State loyal to Governor Nyako was one of the issues that led to the blow up of the party and the loss of the 2015 election. That was the decision that forced Rotimi Amaechi as chairman of the Governors Forum to fight Tukur and led to Amaechi’s exit from the party.
It may look as if the issues between Ribadu and Atiku are now in the past. By 2019 Ribadu’s daughter and Atiku’s son may well have started their courtship and been exchanging love notes.
However, that did not stop Ribadu from standing in as Muhammadu Buhari’s agent in the 2019 presidential election that was again shadowed with the kind of intrigues that Ribadu first laid against him in 2006/7.
So, when elites from the PDP and APC gathered for the Atiku/Ribadu wedding last weekend, they may have put politics aside for the common interest of self/family preservation. Nigerians with this now know that when it comes to sharing the spoils of Nigeria, that there is neither APC nor PDP, it is just a family affair!