Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has said he sacrificed his Presidential ambition to allow President Muhammadu Buhari go for a second term in office because of the good work he is doing for the country.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, Ribadu also threw his weight behind the President allowing the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu to continue to head the agency despite opposition from the National Assembly, saying fighting corruption is the most difficult job to do.
Asked whether he was sacrificing his presidential ambition because of President Buhari, Ribadu who is contesting the governorship primary of the APC in Adamawa State, said “You can say part of it. Of course, that is a good reason. When you agree with a leadership, it is okay that you step aside and allow good thing to happen and I am comfortable with that.
“That is okay. It is fine if what you have in your heart is honest service. Any chance is an opportunity for you to do what you can to help your own people, you cannot shy away from that. I have no issue with that.
“Today, President Buhari is our President and I agree with him totally and I am comfortable with the leadership he is giving this country. If there is anything under, I can also make my own contribution, I am very much prepared to do so.”
Speaking on the non confirmation of the appointment of the EFCC Chairman, Ribadu said “This is sad part of our country. To even get things done properly and correctly becomes almost impossible. I don’t see any reason why they will not confirm him and allow him to do the work properly. I totally agree with the federal government in allowing him to do this work.
“Whatever you can say about Ibrahim Magu, you cannot take away the fact that he is a honest person and a very courageous person. These are some of the requirements you need in an anti corruption agency. He is doing extremely well.
“I know him and I know how the place works. I know this difficult in doing this work for our country. I am in total agreement with the decision of the federal government to allow him to continue. It is a matter of courage because fighting corruption is the most difficult job to do.
“It will require all the sacrifice, all the patience and everything that everybody can give for us to make an impact. We are going the right direction. It is tough one, a difficult one, but Nigerians should please go along with it and support it. If we don’t, the chances are that we will not be able to do anything in this country.”
On whether the EFCC was right in investigating accounts of state government and state governors, he said “I told you earlier that fighting corruption is not easy. It is not likely that you will please everyone. You will have to go after people who are in control of government.
“I won’t go to the village and go after somebody for the fun of it. It has to be people who are in charge and on control and often, they are people in opposition or against.
“When you are fighting corruption, there are targets and the target is often people who are in charge of our own wealth and if they mismanage it, the agency has a duty to go after them. But I don’t think that you can do it outside the law.
“There are rules and regulations that govern and determine the way you conduct yourself, as long as you follow it, as long as you are within the permission of the law, I think we must understand that it has to be done. Look across the world, the issue of fighting corruption is the same thing all over. People are saying the same thing they are saying in Nigeria.
“We are not different from the rest of the world. Fighting corruption is the most difficult thing. It is the most difficult job you can do, especially if you are going to do it with all honesty and with good intentions. There is no way that you will not be condemned.”
On the allegation that Corrupt persons were joining the APC for protection, he said “I don’t think that is the case, but that is the beauty of democracy. People are entitled to be where they want to be. Constitutionally, no one has the right to stop you from belonging to any political party. It is the fundamental right of individuals to belong where they want to and no one has the right to.
“You have no right to stop the, because they are entitled to. I am not saying that I totally agree with what is going on. It is not my choice that today, I am from Nigeria, from Adamawa and from Yola. I found myself here and I have no right to say that simply because I disagree with somebody from Yola, I don’t want to play a role or participate in making Adamawa a great place.
“I have no right to exclude anybody. Nobody has the right to stop another person from belonging to any Organisation of Association. Even if you disagree, you can’t do much about it. If somebody is corrupt, let the law take its course. I don’t think that can be a reason for you to stop a person from belong to a political party.
“I think these are things that you have to get clear. It is in our constitution that you are free to belong to a political party, you are free to contest unless the constitution says you cannot. Those issues are constitutional, and fundamental and Nigerians will just have to understand that.”
On why he wants to be Governor, Ribadu said “I just want to serve. In Adamawa State, just like many other states in Nigeria deserve better leadership. We can do better. We are faced with challenges and difficulties and people will just have to come forward and stand up.
“When you are faced with challenges and problems, people will have to stand up and confront it. I believe that anybody with something to offer must come forward and I believe I have something to offer. I believe that I can work honestly and change the way things are, I can run a government that is honest, just, fair and all inclusive.
“I will address the problem of insecurity. I will certainly change the lives of our people. That is the reason why I still want to try and see if Nigerians will give us chance.”