by Stanley Azuakola
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the former minister of the FCT and author of The Accidental Public Servant (TAPS), must have known that his new book was going to generate lots of controversy, rebuttals and rejoinders. Whether he knew it would be this much is another matter.
There’s been a few positive reviews but most of the early reviews so far have been very critical. Also a lot of the personalities mentioned in the book haven’t taken too kindly to the way they were portrayed by El-Rufai.
A former vice-president took up advert space in some media to ‘call out’ El-Rufai on some of what he considered to be lies; loyalists of ex-president Obasanjo have been fuming since the book’s release; and now even Nuhu Ribadu, a former colleague of El-Rufai’s in Obasanjo’s economic team, have come out to rebut some of the assertions made by the former minister.
In an interview with Blueprint published on Monday, Ribadu, the former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission went as far as saying that the book had an integrity deficit.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
“I have not fully read the book but I have seen a couple of things coming out of it including the extracts from the media. The most important thing I will say about it is that Nasiru did not tell me he was writing the book, not to talk of showing me the script. Nasiru never interviewed me for his book. So, I am quite surprised on how you can quote a person that you have not interviewed. I think the ethics of writing is that you quote somebody with authority and that you can stand by that. There is a huge integrity deficiency bordering on ethics if you can quote somebody without first having to record him and you have proof of that. He didn’t consult me, he didn’t give me anything to look at and therefore just like you and all Nigerians, I was quite surprised to see him quoting me directly in the book.
“Nasiru was not a staff of the EFCC. I wonder how he could report about the work of the EFCC when he was never part of it, just as I will not talk of the FCT when he was minister. He didn’t know of the works of the EFCC and he couldn’t have known. He was not privy to all the things that we were doing there. He did not also show me what he was writing because, as I say earlier, even if you discussed something with someone before, when you are putting it into a book, it is only proper for you to validate it and crosscheck with him. Even if he agrees or disagrees, at least it makes sense. This is especially when the person is close to you because that would be an opportunity for the person to correct you.”
On El-Rufai’s account of some arrests EFCC made in Katsina State then, Ribadu said “That is not true. He was not in the EFCC. How could he know who was arrested or not? The business of the EFCC was to investigate cases and they did it and are still doing it on daily basis. It would be surprising that somebody would come from outside and just assume this happened or that did not happen. A local government chairman has nothing to do with a governor. These are some of the things that if he had bothered to ask, somebody would have been able to explain to him. Absolutely, if you are investigating a governor, there is money that goes to the governor. Governors take over 30 percent of the money from the federation account. If you want to investigate a governor and you want to get him, this is where you go to first and not the local government.”
On other areas of the book, Ribadu also argued about the statement that he wanted El-Rufai as president, “He is entitled to his own opinions and views, and I respect that and you could sit down and write your own book the way you want it. You can also decide to sit down tomorrow and write your book to say I had wanted to make you president. You can also go ahead and publish and people will read it. You see, what I am saying is if he had consulted with me on this book probably it would have been a different story, but he didn’t. For me, he is entitled to his own view or opinion and interpretation of things in any way that he likes. He is perfect in saying whatever he wants to say. Maybe if I come to write my own book, it will be probably different. I will not join issues with him on his own opinions and views. He is entitled to it and can go with it but it is his own truth. My own truth is that I was not in the business of recommending anybody as the chairman of EFCC.”