Rafiu Ladipo, Sarah Jubril: Where are they now?

Over the years, these individuals were active on the political scene until lately. In this report, SUNNY IDACHABA asks where they could be at the moment.

Rafiu Ladipo

Rafiu Ladipo has been away from public gatherings until he was spotted in Ivory Coast, recently, during the AFCON final match between Nigeria and the host nation.

Many people may not remember that name, but he was prominent figure in sports cycle for a long time, especially in football, as he led the supporters to cheer the enthusiastic Nigerian players in practically all international football engagements.

In fact, Dr Ladipo, as he is popularly known as, brought out the entertainment side-attraction of football. Under him, the entire football arena was ecstatic with as songs were accompanied by all kinds of musical equipment that make the stadium a sort of entertainment arena.

It was a booster to the players who felt they had the backing of their compatriot, and this has been linked to wonder to laurels that were won and international recognitions accorded Nigerian football stars and the institution they represented in the 90s up till the mid-2000.

Dr Ladipo was chairman of Nigeria Football Surpporters Club (NFSC) for years, but appears to have returned to the background in recent times.

He has spoken extensively about the challenges of football in Nigeria, ranging from mal-administration to corruption.

In 2018, when Nigeria painfully exited the World Cup in Russia, Ladipo blamed the president of Nigeria Football Federation for the 2-1 defeat suffered leading to her early exit.

According to the sports enthusiast, “The federation must take the blame for the World Cup ouster because they don’t understand the politics of the game.

“This is the worst NFF we have had in the history of football in the country. At USA ’94, France ’98 and 2014 World Cups we got to the second round.

“This time around, we didn’t get to the second round due to the bad administration of the game in the country by the current NFF.

“It’s too bad the Eagles are out of the World Cup, it was avoidable. Unfortunately, we have people in NFF who think they know everything but they don’t understand the politics of the game.

“How come FIFA gave a big football country like Nigeria only 4,500 match tickets? We saw Argentines everywhere in the stadium and everywhere in Saint Petersburg.

“Out of the 4,500 the NFF gave us only 200 tickets for the match. We were scattered in the corners of the stadium because we were not given a block match ticket, and that is where the politics of the game comes in. “The Eagles were denied our support because of the situation we found ourselves.

“Argentina came in large numbers to support their team to victory because they have people who understand the politics of the game and encourage their supporters to storm the stadium to save the country from an early exit from the tournament.

“After collecting billions of naira from the federal government, the only people who came to support the Eagles are the supporters’ club members. But the NFF abandoned us and instead sponsored persons who had no business with our World Cup campaign in Russia.

“We must restructure Nigerian football and get rid of administrators who have nothing to offer. The NFF should explain what they did with the billions they got from the government.”

Apart from his reckoning in football, he was also noted in boxing and was at appointed president, Nigeria Boxing Board and Control.

He also unveiled ‘Above 50 Football’ initiative to keep ex-footballers active after a successful football career.

According to him, “Above 50 Football is a new creation, a new innovation. It allows anyone above 50 years to participate in football.

“Many of these individuals were active football players in their youthful years, but as they approach 38/40 years, they retire and become less active.

“This shouldn’t be the case for anyone with a football background. Even if you haven’t played football professionally, you can still engage in the sport above 50 to keep fit and lead a healthy life.”

Dr Ladipo impact in football cycle is no longer felt like before.

Sarah Jubril

Mama Sarah Jubril, as she is popularly called, was special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Ethics and Values between 2011 and 2015.

Prior to that appointment, she had contested presidential elections in the country on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP); then she moved to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and later the Progressive Action Congress (PAC).

Surprisingly, in all attempts to occupy the highest political office in the country she never had the support of women and women groups despite continued complaint over alleged marginalisation of the gender by the men over the years.

The most amazing one was the 2011 election when she contested against President Jonathan at the PDP presidential primary election. Out of the over 5,000 delegates, including a reasonable number of women who thronged the Eagles Square, venue of the exercise, she scored only a vote. This has been interpreted by political analysts as an indication that vote was one she cast for herself.

While reacting to that in an interview later, she said, “My loss at the primaries would continue to haunt the women folk in the country for a long time to come.”

As a social reformer, she is noted for advocacy about the emancipation of women and children.

She believes that the missing link in society is the absence of ethical education for effective human development. That was why she authored a book on Ethics for Development in 2006.

While serving as SA to President Jonathan, she advocated for a national curriculum that would ensure freedom from corruption at all levels.

She was also known to have taken on all opponents of Jonathan by taking them to the cleaners, calling them mannerless people devoid of home training.

As a woman with a high sense of decorum, she frowned at the level of indecent dressing among ladies as responsible for the growing rate of sexual violence prevalent then. Though she was hugely criticised for it, she maintained her stand on the matter. After Buhari came to power in 2015, she was said to have declared enthusiastically that the retired General would fight corruption head on as against previous administrations.

She, however, knocked the ministerial list, saying those on the list were not qualified. Subsequently, following the misfortunes of PDP in the 2015 general elections, she jumped the ship and formed Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP) and became its chairman.

Since then, not much has been heard about her again.

Humphrey Abba

Chief Humphrey Abba, an indigene of Kogi state was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was appointed as Minister of Police Affairs, as well as Minister of Commerce and Internal Affairs, respectively, by the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

As police affairs minister, he championed the campaign against the use of tainted glasses on cars and insisted on its enforcement in the face of rising crimes.

Under him, as a way of boosting the morale of policemen, a new pay package was approved for personnel of the force, curiously the authorities then refused to disclose the exact percentage of the increment.

Abba, until a few years ago, had a secret pain that not many knew until he opened up during a thanksgiving service in Abuja after the siege was broken. His marriage of over 23 years did not produce any child, a development he said his political enemies used to taunt him each time they had the opportunity.

During the dedication service of the child in Abuja, he said, “I had always prayed to God for a day like this. My political opponents have used my childlessness to mock me. I have come across some people who initially were in the same camp with me, but because you did not do one thing or the other that they wanted you to do on the ground of principle, they concluded by saying, ‘We are not surprised, after all he does not have a child’. You get that kind of jab,” he once revealed.

Shortly after his party lost the 2015 elections at the federal level, rumour had it that Abba joined the APC, but he could not cope with the heat, therefore he went to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

It is not clear where he is or what he has been up to in recent times.