At different times, they served Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities, but many years after their exit from the public scene, nothing has been heard about them again. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes in this piece asks where they could be at the moment.
He was twice a lawmaker who was very prominent in the Senate between 1999 and 2007. Senator Daggash was later appointed into the cabinet after he lost out in his bid to return to the upper chamber for the third time on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Former President Musa Yar’Adua appointed him as minister of national planning and later deployed to the works and housing ministry. But as a senator, he served in various committees of the Senate like population commission and national identity card, FCT, capital market, loans and debt, among others. As the national planning minister in 2008, he said Nigeria had cut the benchmark oil price in the 2009 budget estimate from 60 to $45 per barrel due to the uncertainty in global oil price. As if that was done without proper consultations, he was unceremoniously removed from office.
However, following the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as acting president after the death of Yar’Adua, he was again appointed and re-posted to works and housing as minister. Because of the closeness this Borno state-born technocrat shared with Jonathan, it was alleged that he was forced into exile due to the threat to his life from the extremist Boko Haram insurgents whom it was said were not happy with the role he was said to have played in the victory of Jonathan in 2011.
According to an online publication, “His commitment to President Jonathan had riled the Islamists group, Boko Haram and their shadowy sponsors who were said to have made overt and covert threats on the brilliant politician. It was learnt that the people close to him warned him not to take the threat slightly, compelling him to flee the country.” Today, long after he left the political scene, nothing has been heard about the man that was a household name in the upper chamber.
Professor Mvendaga Jibo is a scholar, journalist, author and politician. In the 70s, he was the editor of New Nigeria Newspapers in Kaduna. During the Second Republic, he was a commissioner for education in Benue state under the administration of the late Aper Aku, the governor. He later became the deputy publicity secretary of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) in 1982.
Jibo was born in Zaki Biam, Benue state, and attended Zaki Biam Primary School before he proceeded to Government Secondary School, Katsina-Ala. Thereafter, he went to St. Louis College in Jos and later attended the University of Ibadan. While at Ibadan, he was the student union public relations officer. In search of further knowledge, he went to the University of Birmingham on a commonwealth scholarship. In 1974, he joined the Political Science Department of the University of Calabar. Jibo later entered journalism as a political writer of a Marxist and idealistic bent. He was at one point with the Daily Times of Nigeria from 1977-1979 where he wrote in a column titled The Political Notes of Mvendaga Jibo. In 1977, he entered politics and defeated a veteran politician to win a seat at the Constituent Assembly. While in the assembly, he teamed up with the likes of Paul Unongo, Paul Belabo and Solomon Lar to form Club 19, a political association that later merged with other groups to form the NPP. He later joined the dominant National Party of Nigeria (NPN), but the relationship was short-lived as he returned to NPP in 1982.
Jibo at other times was also at the Political Science Department of the University of Jos. In an interview published in Intervention magazine in 2016, he was misquoted as describing the Idoma race as “a narrow-minded people” for which he protested. The said interview published under the title: ‘Joseph Tarka: Mvendaga Jibo’s Explosives’ dealt essentially with the forgotten legacy of the late Joseph Tarka. In it, Jibo was reported as saying that Idoma people have a problem of producing the governor of the state because they are narrow-minded. According to him, the analogy he was connecting to did not call for that. He said he was merely recasting Professor Billy Dudley, his former teacher’s analysis in the book: ‘Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria’ in which the author said Idoma and other ethnic minorities in the Middle Belt abandoned Tarka’s agitation for creation of states.
“This did not follow that I would single out Idoma and describe them as narrow- minded,” he maintained. He said such a statement is too far from the way he has been trained to reason and from the reality he has dealt with.
Jibo stated that he was not brought up to deny whatever he says, but that the context and subject matter of the interview did not warrant what was attributed to him. If not corrected, said Jibo, that portion of the interview stood to make him an enemy of so many friends of his from the Idoma ethnic group as well as of Senator David Mark whom the portion of the interview held up as having deceived the Idoma people in relation to creating Apa state.
Not much has been heard about this man again.
Joseph Mbu retired from the police force in 2016 with the rank of an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG). Many had described him as a controversial cop because of the way he carried out his assignments. While in service, Mbu was said to have stepped on many toes in a way that suggested that he never cared about whose ox was gored. As the commissioner of police for Rivers state in 2013, Mbu was alleged to have taken sides with the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan against Rotimi Amaechi as governor.
According to a popular report, “Shortly before he retired in 2016, Mbu had gained notoriety in the last three years. He was a brutal and partisan police officer who had no regard for professionalism and human rights.” He came to prominence in 2013 shortly after he was posted to Rivers as CP. Amaechi soon accused him of partisanship, saying he had taken sides with Patience Jonathan and her husband who were fighting him. At a point, Amaechi petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to accuse him of orchestrating grave and deteriorating human rights situation in the state and requested the Commission to use its powers to salvage the strategic security network of the state allegedly compromised by Mbu. The man in the eye of the storm, however, never bothered as he described himself as ‘a lion that can tame Amaechi.’
In Abuja where he was later posted to, he ruffled feathers with Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG) when in a bizzare manner, he banned their protests. It took a court judgement to calm the frayed nerves resulting therefrom. While that was yet to die down, he ordered the arrest and detention of a Daar Communications presenter, Amaechi Anaekwe, for daring to refer to him as ‘controversial’ on national television. It took the intervention of the Force Headquarters to order the release of the journalist.
Commenting on the man, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) once said, “Mbu does not seem to represent the mainstream 21st century police if his primitive, partisan and primordial sentiments are anything to go by. He is a serial embarrassment to the Force. The police we need is the one that is concerned with public good, law and order and justice. We doubt if Mbu is in the right company.”
For a long while now, nothing has been heard about him.