Barring any last-minute change of plan, President Bola Tinubu will any moment from today announce his appointment of former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, as National Security Adviser (NSA).
Sources close to the presidency informed THE WHISTLER that Ribadu was picked ahead of two other candidates that were being considered for the top security job.
As part of his efforts to fulfill his promise of delivering a “bold, no-nonsense crime prevention reform” to safeguard Nigerians, President Tinubu evaluated the three candidates for the NSA position before finally settling for Ribadu who is widely regarded as one of Nigeria’s experienced individuals in the field of security and law enforcement.
The two other candidates that were also considered are former Minister of Interior and ex-Chief of Army Staff, retired General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau; and the current Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The NSA serves as the principal adviser to the President on security matters, responsible for coordinating various security agencies, providing intelligence assessments, and formulating policies to address the nation’s security challenges.
The NSA position requires a capable and experienced individual who can navigate complex security issues and provide effective counsel to the President and Tinubu, according to sources, was determined to pick an individual who can help to effectively address the pressing security challenges facing the nation.
While the appointment is yet to be officially confirmed, insiders told THE WHISTLER that President Tinubu holds Ribadu in high regard and values his expertise and dedication to public service. The selection of Ribadu, when announced, will count among the first few important appointments to be made by the newly sworn-in president.
The State House had earlier announced the appointment of the House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, as Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, and Senator Akume George as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
With national security being one of the focus areas listed in his ‘Renewed Hope’ manifesto, Tinubu intends to leave no stone unturned in bringing lasting security and peace to the citizens.
“We will mobilise the totality of our national security, military and law enforcement assets to protect all Nigerians from danger and from the fear of danger,” Tinubu promised in the 80-page policy document.
Ribadu boasts a commendable track record in fighting corruption during his tenure as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). His pursuit of high-profile corruption cases during his time earned him both praise and criticism.
A lawyer, former police officer, and anti-corruption crusader, Ribadu gained significant recognition during his tenure as the pioneer of the EFCC.
But sources told THE WHISTLER that his background as a former police officer could have counted against him as the NSA position has customarily been occupied by persons with military backgrounds.
Ribadu studied law at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, and later earned a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He also attended several professional courses and workshops on law enforcement and anti-corruption strategies.
Ribadu, who hails from Adamawa State in Nigeria’s North East region, began his career as a police officer in Nigeria and held various positions within the Nigerian Police Force. He served in different capacities, including as a divisional police officer, chief superintendent of police, and assistant commissioner of police.
He was appointed EFCC chairman in 2003 by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, tasked with investigating and prosecuting financial crimes, particularly corruption, money laundering, and fraud.
Dambazau, who was also being considered for the position, served as Minister of Interior in the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s immediate past president.
As minister, Dambazau was charged with helping the former president manage the country’s internal security challenges.
His experience and understanding of security operations, coupled with his extensive military background, must have counted in his initial consideration for the NSA role.
An indigene of Kano State in North-West Nigeria, Damazau served as Chief of Army Staff from 2008 to 2010.
AHMED RUFAI ABUBAKAR
Currently serving as Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Rufai graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in French from the Bayero University Kano (BUK) in 1984.
He worked in the same institution as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of English and European Languages and rose to the position of Assistant Lecturer in 1987.
In November 2015, President Buhari appointed him as Senior Special Assistant on International Relations and Foreign Affairs before appointing him DG NIA on January 10, 2018.