The full transcript by Mallam Ribadu
When the Nation Calls
I was greeted to numerous calls and mail yesterday when the administration announced my name as Chairman of the 21-man Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force.
Given my recent political pedigree, many inquirers naturally wanted to understand what was happening, and whether it was true that I was consulted and whether I would accept the offer.
The history of my life is a history of public service, and if we cast a honest gaze back to the recent protests in the wake of the oil subsidy removal, it will be clear to all that the biggest single victory Nigerians scored was to put the question of corruption squarely back on the top of our national policy agenda.
Regardless of our affiliations, our differences, and our engagements, it is at least safe to say that we have a national consensus on the deadly impact of corruption on our march to greatness, and on the capacity of our people, particularly the youth, to earn a decent, promising, life.
If we would effectively isolate and defeat this scourge therefore, we must all see it as a preeminent national security threat. We must see it as a war within our borders, a war that has assumed a systemic and endemic character, but to which all must now urgently enlist with our different capacities, or accept to all go down with the ship.
At this point in my life, it is also easy to answer the honest question if it is inappropriate to invest my modest talents and capacities to my country what I have readily offered many foreign communities, from sister nations in Africa to far flung places like Afghanistan. This, if nothing, makes my decision very personal, freeing all affiliations [social and political] of complicity, but investing the decision also with the unique character that when people reach evaluations in favour of their larger communities, it doesn’t necessarily blemish their moral identity.
This therefore is a national call. In answering it, I go back to the template of my own parents who taught me that honest public service is the greatest asset a person can offer his community. It was the same lesson I learnt from his biographical example when my own father returned home as a federal legislator in Lagos to take job as a local council official in Yola—its all about the community, and it is sometimes bigger than our personal egos.