Ribadu: Don’t sacrifice merit

Adventures of Dan Fulani

Email: fulbeadventure@gmail.com Twitter: @dan_pullo

Dan FulaniA very interesting scenario is playing out in Adamawa State ahead of the October 11 by-election to fill the governorship seat vacated by Murtala Nyako, who was impeached by the House of Assembly.

As various camps strategies on how to get the endorsement of the electorate, it does appear as if the two leading political parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC), are battling not only to get the votes of the people, but to outwit each other in fielding Malam Nuhu Ribadu as their candidate in the election.

Though presently a member of the APC, rumours filtered into town about a week ago that the PDP (read Presidency), has promised to handover the party’s ticket to Ribadu to help smoothen his election as Governor. Since then, the APC has been mounting pressure on Ribadu not to defect since he is virtually certain of getting the governorship ticket if he decides to contest.

As expected, divergent views have been expressed over the issue. Initial reports indicate that almost all PDP stakeholders in Adamawa were amenable to Ribadu joining and contesting under their party, however, few days back, some of these stakeholders have voiced concern over the move, comparing it to imposition of candidate which they claimed negates all principles of fair play. To them, imposition of candidates in the past had led to rancour and unending crisis in the party and the state. They advised the national headquarters not to repeat past mistakes.

As for the APC sympathisers, they have already resorted to writing articles on the pages of newspapers urging Ribadu not to bow to the pressure to defect. Many have also warned him, albeit discreetly, that his political career may be endangered if he takes the defection option. Likening him to former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, those sympathisers say should he defect, then Ribadu stands the risk of being considered an unprincipled politician who will betray Buhari.

My take on all these is simple: it would be sad indeed if we allow merit to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Ribadu is today one of the few politicians in the country with a modicum of integrity; as such we all need to support him to govern Adamawa no matter the political party he may choose to contest under. The system would be better off having a Ribadu in Government House, knowing fully well that we are guaranteed quality service. We can also be rest assured that at last we will have a government that will tackle corruption and mis-governance with all the seriousness it deserves.

I know many Nigerians will consider the defection as act of betrayal, but in our unique style of politics, is there any party that has not benefited from the defection bug? To see politicians changing parties has become so rampant now that we can hardly say what the leading parties stand for. Within a very short period, former political enemies end up as comrades to fight former friends, leaving us to wonder if there are any ideological differences that differentiate the parties.

I am a strong advocate of independent candidature. I believe that Ribadu is good enough to stand on his merit and seek people’s votes without flying the banner of any political party. However, since the constitution does not allow that yet, Ribadu should be supported to contest, in PDP or out of it, and his choice should be respected by all and sundry.

Integrity and honesty always count for something, and Ribadu has both in abundance. A little step to the left or right will do no harm to such principles. As stated above, the priority concern should be on merit, not political expediency.


Doctors and our collective well-being

Doctors have been on strike now for well over a month. Though officially we are told that negotiations are ongoing between the government and the doctors in order to find a common ground and bring an end to the industrial action, the reality of the situation is that both parties are far from reaching any agreement on the contentious issues that led to the downing of the tools in the first place.

I don’t know if the doctors are gauging the mood of the nation in their decision-making process, but from the few interactions I’ve had with members of the public and a few professional friends of mine in different sectors, this strike action is hugely unpopular. I don’t want to dwell on some of the seemingly unreasonable demands put forward by the doctors, but I think their decision not to call off the industrial action in the face of the Ebola epidemic threatening to consume the country has reinforced the belief in some quarters that they are insensitive to the plight of the people who may be at risk.

Since the Federal Government has declared the Ebola issue a national emergency, the sensible thing the doctors need to do is to SUSPEND the strike and join hands with the government to address the Ebola issue. After that, they can continue with the strike if they chose to, pending when a solution can be found. Suspending the strike action in this crisis time will be in sync with the Hippocratic Oath they all swore to uphold.