Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo celebrated his 79th birthday on Saturday and he took a retrospective look at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, stating that the anti-graft agency has become a toothless bulldog after the exit of the pioneer chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
The event held at the International Conference Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
He said the ex-EFCC boss handled the job so well, and people coined the saying that the the fear of Ribadu was the beginning of wisdom. But the former president bemoaned the fate of the anti-graft agency, describing it as a toothless bulldog.
He said, looking in the direction of Ribadu, who was present at the event:
“As 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 bull dog?”
Obasanjo emphasised the need to be serious as a nation, if the nation really wants to develop.
“We need to work things out so that we don’t take two steps forward, one step and three steps backward,” he said.
Talking about fighting terrorism and insurgency, the former president recommended the deployment of technology to fight insurgents both at local and global levels.
Obasanjo who made reference to the theme of the international colloquium: ‘Human Security, Violent Extremism and Radicalisation: Seeking Sustainable Solutions’ held on Saturday as a prelude to his birthday celebration, noted that the deployment of technology became imperative because the insurgents were equally deploying technology to unleash terror on innocent people.
The former president further added that since technology was in our homes, in our pockets, it should be used to ward off those who made life unbearable for others.
Eminent Nigerians including former governors, serving ministers and the host governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun paid glowing tributes to the former president, describing as a nationalist, an icon and a special gift to the country.
Amosun, described him as a nationalist, “who is neither ethno-centric nor an irredentist.” He added that “Baba puts Nigeria first in everything he does.”
On his own part, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, described Obasanjo as a”special gift to our country, Nigeria, because every time the country had faced any challenge God has used him to solve that challenge.”
The founder of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo later prayed for the celebrant, requesting that God should grant him more years to continue to serve humanity.
Other personalities present at the event include former governors of Osun and Cross River, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Liyel Imoke, wife of the late former governor of Ondo State, Mrs Olufunke Agagu, and Lotto magnate and Chief Kessington Adebutu.