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My prison experience enriched me – Obasanjo

… Supports move for review of NSCDC law

By Daud Olatunji

ABEOKUTA-Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described his imprisonment by the former head of State, late Gen. Sani Abacha(rtd) as a blessing .

The President also said his prison experience had  enriched him as a leader , adding that, it is  one of the factors which immensely contributed to his achievement as President.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Obasanjo  spoke at the maiden edition of ASIS International, ASIS 206 Lagos Annual Leadership Retreat, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.

His words”My prison experience enriched me, in fact it contributed to my performance while I was in office. A leader must learn from every situation.

“Although, nobody wants  to go to prison ,but, I was in prison when I started learning and keeping myself occupied. I wrote four books while I was in prison rather than become moron  and doing nothing.

“But I was sure that the man who kept me in prison will not bring me out  and I was as well sure that I will get out of prison. Honestly, the prison experience has enriched my life.

“In every sense of the world, governance should be for all. During my first time elections , the Yorubas did not vote for me and within the first six months in office I called all the people that contested elections in the entire Southwest and I told them that ‘ don’t look for argument, the Yorubas did not  vote for us  for whatever reason, but ,I want to charge you  to ensure that you  vote for us next time’.

“And I told late Segun Agagu that I will start from your state and I went back to them and I started from Ondo by getting prominent people from Alliance for Democracy (AD) because there are three prominent political parties then and they  were  AD,PDP and APP and in 2013 we won by the grace of God.

“So, if you said because you are only voted for by a section and those who did not vote for you will not enjoy patronage, I don’t know what to call it but some call it marginalisation and poor governance.”

Meanwhile, the former President  has  thrown his weight behind  the move to review the act setting up the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to reduce security threats in the country.

Obasanjo, whose administration in 2005, provided the legal statute for the transformation of the civil defence, emphasized that there was nothing wrong to seek improvement for the organization, especially in accommodating the private security professionals in the country.

He however cautioned that such review should be supported by effective monitoring and control.

“And, you should know what to do. You have to approach the National Assembly to seek for such amendment. But, we have to also ensure that such amendment is effective and be controlled in order not to compromise the essence of the review.”

Obasanjo noted that a good leader must have experience both good and bad sides of life that would help him to strategize on how to handle any threat.

The Chairman of ASIS 206 Lagos Chapter, Oluwaseyi Adetayo said  the civil defense law review would guarantee professionalism of security practice in the country, which boost the sector employment opportunities.

Adetayo said, “ASIS International has been providing the platform for networking, education, information on new technology and training for all security professionals all over the world on an as annual basis in the United States.”

He explained that the theme of the retreat “Building Capacity for Professional Growth” was arrived at in order to attend to one of the major gaps in our industry, which is leadership.

“As many of us have grown to strategic leadership level in our various businesses, it is only important that we back professional and technical knowledge with required leadership skills.”


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