Ribadu used North’s money for oil exploration — Maitama Sule
Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule has extolled the virtues of Nigeria’s first Minister of Defence, Muhammadu Ribadu, describing him as a true Nigerian who as a minister in charge of petroleum gladly used money sourced from the North for oil exploration in the Niger Delta against a suggestion to the contrary.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the Ribadu Cantonment, now renamed Ribadu Campus yesterday at the old site of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Maitama Sule said Ribadu was a true Nigerian and a stabilizing force in the administration of the country.
He said, “Pa Ribadu was the stabilizing force in the administration of Nigeria. He was not the prime minster, he was not the premier of the north but, he was the leader of leaders. He was a strong man of his party. He was a true Nigerian before he became Minister of Defence, Minister of Mines and Power. I succeeded him in 1959. As minister of Mines and Power, he was in charge of petroleum. It was during his time that Shell started exploring for oil in Nigeria.
“Indeed, when northern Nigeria’s money was used to pay the central government’s contribution to the exploration of oil and he was advised that the money should be used either in an investment or a loan, so that when the oil comes, the north could benefit from it, this great Nigerian said, ‘No, we are all Nigerians and if money from the north is used to develop a part of the country we are happy that we are helping our brothers’. Pa Ribadu was what I call him, a native intellectual. He was a great man.”
Maitama Sule commended the NDA, for honouring Ribadu and prayed that the government of the federation will do the same.
Highlights of the event were a tree planting ceremony where 10,000 trees are to be planted and the commissioning of the NDA magazine.