Abeokuta – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday identified bunkering and vandalism as the “most challenging problems’’ that confronted his eight-year tenure as Nigeria’s President.
Obasanjo made the remark at his Hill top residence in Abeokuta when he received Mr Ade Abolurin (rtd), the former Corp Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC).
He said that in his bid to effectively tackle vandalism, he ensured that he institutionalised the NSCDC through an Act of Parliament.
Obasanjo said he had no regret for doing that because the corp had turned out to be one of the government agencies that “I am very, very proud of.”
“Some of the things that I had to confront during my tenure as President of Nigeria were pipeline vandalism, holdup, and stealing of crude oil.
“That stealing is what they call bunkering; there is nothing like bunkering, it is outright stealing.”
“We used all the available agencies and resources; and your organisation as a voluntary organisation, unpaid, unremunerated, unrecognised and not institutionalised, was doing great job without being armed and without being equipped.
“That meant the height of commitment, nationalism, patriotism and service to fatherland and service to humanity.
“Of course, I didn’t hesitate to move ahead for an Act of Parliament to be able to organise you into what you are today,” he said.
Obasanjo commended Abolurin for leading the organisation to an enviable height.
He expressed hope that his successor would be able to maintain, if not improve on the standard left behind by Abolurin.
He said: “one of the major problems of this country is lack of continuity.
“I hope in your own case and this organisation, there would be continuity; continuity not for the man coming after you to do everything exactly like you have done it.
“It is not possible even if the person coming after you is your biological son, he wouldn’t do everything the way you would want to do it.
“As I am talking to you, I am also talking to your successor and I believe that where you have taken this organisation to, those coming after you will be able to build over it.”
Obasanjo said there were some essential things that should be preserved and maintained, especially the issue of value, integrity, commitment, patriotism.
“Those cherished values and virtues that you have maintained in this organisation should be maintained,” he said.
Earlier, Abolurin, an indigene of Abeokuta, said he escaped several attempts to assassinate him while office.
“The journey was rough, tough and challenging but I was able to stand tall and I am returning a champion and conqueror,” he said and promised to stay in touch with his successor.