YOLA, Nigeria Aug 19 Nigeria's former
anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu has defected to the ruling
People's Democratic Party to contest a state election, in a
filip for President Goodluck Jonathan, whose PDP has been
reeling from high profile corruption scandals.
Analysts said his move was a big blow to the opposition All
Progressives Congress (APC).
A report by Ribadu's team in 2012 showed Nigeria lost out on
tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues over the
last decade from deals struck between multinational oil
companies and government officials.
The PDP secretary for Adamawa state, which holds a
by-election on Oct. 11, told Reuters that Ribadu had applied to
contest the primaries on a PDP ticket.
Jonathan and the PDP face a national election in 2015 that
is likely to be the most closely fought since democracy was
restored in 1999.
Ribadu, who ran for president against Jonathan in 2011
elections but only got 5.4 percent of the vote, did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo hired Ribadu as chairman
of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
from April 2003 to December 2007 and he earned a reputation for
going after seeming untouchables in the fight against rampant
corruption, even at risk to his own life.
Jonathan has been beleaguered by defections of senior
figures and criticism of his government's failure to deal with
Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
But several senior figures have defected to the PDP from the
APC, underscoring how fluid Nigerian politics can be as the
elite jostle for position ahead of a poll. They include popular
two-term ex-governor of Kano state Ibrahim Shakarau.
"In terms of electorate Ribadu hasn't got much influence,
but he was seen as clean and anti-corruption", which had
benefited the opposition's fight on an anti-graft ticket,
Lagos-based consultancy 46-Parallels partner Kayode Akindele
"It shows there's no political ideology. Everyone just uses
parties as a platform ... APC could see more defections if the
PDP is seen as being in the ascendancy," he said.
The PDP also overturned formerly opposition held Ekiti state
in a governorship poll in June.
(Writing and additional reporting by Tim Cocks in Lagos;
Editing by Louise Ireland)