The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the proposed Pipeline Protection Commission by the federal government to combat pipeline vandalism is unnecessary, saying it was an avenue “for chop-chop.”
Obasanjo said this yesterday in Abuja, during a thanksgiving service in commemoration of 50th birthday anniversary of former Minister of Education, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili.
The former president also disagreed with the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), on the need to setup an agency for national integration.
Obasanjo said the Nigerian constitution was based on principles that guarantees integration.
Agabi had earlier commended the Obasanjo administration for performing creditably well, except that the administration did not create an agency for national integration so as to foster the unity of various groups in the country.
In a swift reaction, Obasanjo said: "Kana Agabi is exemplary, as a Christian, he is exemplary in integrity, he is exemplary, but this morning he goofed, How can you say that, there is need for a commission for national integration? The constitution of Nigeria is for integration, what more do you need, you have a constitution that is based on integrating of this country, you have things like the federal character, what is that meant to do? To integrate.
"If we now failed to implement it, then you can even say we have breached the constitution of Nigeria. So, we don't need an agency for national integration, read your constitution very well, and you are a lawyer."
Obasanjo wondered why the government would conceive the idea of setting up a special commission to combat pipeline vandalism despite the availability of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.
"This morning, I was coming from Abeokuta and I was listening to the radio, I heard that they are going to setup an agency for pipeline protection, what are the police there for? What are all the securities agencies that we have there for? Another 'chop-chop'," he said.
Obasanjo, who described Ezekwesili as a patriot and honest citizen of Nigeria, said Nigerians should hold him responsible for any failure recorded during his administration.
"Let me say what Oby stands for and the exemplary service she has rendered, under my own administration and indeed to the global world, I thank God for making you available to serve Nigeria and to serve God. For those who worked with me to achieve whatever we may think we achieved and I have always said it, whatever you want to blame in my government, blame me, because I was in charge, don't blame any of those who assisted me, if there is any credit to dispense we will share that.
Oby, for those who want to probe you, if they are honest, they would discover that the government of Nigeria should specially give you money for what you have done for this country," he said.
He, however, said Nigeria was a nation loved by God, adding that God had done everything for the nation.
"Stop tempting God with prayers. I just hope that we will get it right. We have no choice, we have to get it right, let us decide individually that I will do what I have to do to bring about change in Nigeria, and if you do, you will be called names, some people are hired to do that. But say what you believe is right and stand by it," he added.
Describing the celebrant, Obasanjo said Ezekwesili and Iyabo Obasanjo, were exactly the same in character.
"One thing about Oby is that she looks like me, unfortunately for her, she behaves a little like me, and even some people said she walks like me, but she has a younger sister, Iyabo, they are in character exactly the same, they will abuse me when they feel they should abuse me, but I don't answer them, except to say that even when you are 50 years old, you are still my daughter, and even when you are 60 years old, you will still be," he said.
Also, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who spoke at the reception, said Ezekwesili was a patriot who loves her country and want her country to be free of corruption.
El-Rufai described the celebrant as Nigeria's Margaret Thatcher.
"Oby is one of the most honest and genuine persons I know, she says it as it is, and in this country, saying the truth is controversial, so I am not surprised she is said to be controversial. What said was to draw attention to the waste of resources in the administration and it is true, I honestly see Oby as our Margaret Thatcher, I see Oby as one Nigerian that should be the President of this country at some point, then I will actively support her," he said.