Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has described the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as “a toothless bulldog.” Speaking yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Obasanjo, who took a retrospective look at the activities of EFCC, submitted that the commission had become so since the exit of its pioneer Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
He spoke during a reception to mark his 79th birthday held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State. At the event were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio; and former Rivers State Governor and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.

Others included former Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke; former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, among other eminent personalities.

Obasanjo noted that Ribadu, who was in attendance at his birthday celebration, handled his job so well to the extent that Nigerians coined the saying that the “fear of Ribadu was the beginning of wisdom”. The former president, however, bemoaned the current fate of the EFCC, urging all stakeholders to come to the rescue of the commission.

The former president said, looking in the direction of Ribadu: “As you all know when Nuhu Ribadu was handling the EFCC, he handled it in such a way that people coined the saying that the fear of Ribadu is the beginning of wisdom. “And the thing you will ask is: how did we go down? How did we lose that? How did we? Nuhu Ribadu is still here, he is still alive; the institution that we started together is still there.

What made the institution to become a toothless bulldog? “And that’s the matter we have to keep looking at so that we don’t take two steps forward, one step aside and three steps back.” Obasanjo stressed the need for Nigerians to be more serious in the task of developing the country.

Speaking about tackling terrorism and insurgency, the former president advocated the deployment of technology to fight insurgents at both local and international levels. He noted that the deployment of technology became imperative because the insurgents too were using technology to unleash terror on innocent people. His words: “One of the things that we now have to take seriously in fighting terrorism and insurgency is technology.

“This is because technology impacts on us daily; technology is beamed in our homes, is in our pockets and if those who want to do anything to make life unbearable for us, in terms of security, then we must also use technology as the antidote as the means by which we can ward them (insurgents) off.” Obasanjo, however, argued that the country was making tremendous progress in its democratic experience.

Dignitaries, including serving and former political office holders who paid glowing tributes to the former president, described him as a nationalist and special gift to the country. In his goodwill message, Saraki, who was represented by Senator Lanre Tejuoso, said despite being 79 years old, Obasanjo’s “strength and wisdom have not waned.” Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, said the former president cannot be bought over because he is a man of justice.

The former governor, who recalled his ordeal when he wanted to contest, said he faced persecution from other aspirants and that every stakeholder was bribed to stand against him, except Obasanjo. Former Vice Abubakar, who donated the sum of N25million to the Centre for Human Security at the event, was represented by the Chairman of Board of Trustees, American University of Nigeria, Akin Kekere- Ekun.

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami, were also represented on the occasion. The founder of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, prayed for the former president, requesting God to grant him more years to continue to serve humanity.

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Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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