Says “next time you invite me please make sure you are ready”
· IG apologises to ex-President
By Ajibola Abayomi,
“Next time you invite me, please make sure you are ready.”
Those were the parting words of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday as he stepped out of a training programme organized by the Nigerian Police.
He spoke for just eight minutes without bothering to take the seat allocated to him, after which he immediately left the Federal Palace Hotel venue.
He was apparently expressing his disappoint at the attitude of key police officers who were not on seat over one hour after the event slated for 10am kicked off.
The programme tagged: “The First Biannual Special Training and Capacity Development Seminar,” powered by the Zone 2 Division of the Nigeria Police had the former President as special guest.
He had arrived the venue at 12:01pm and immediately walked straight to the podium to deliver his speech in the absence of key police officers like the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris; Assistant Inspector General Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2, Kayode Aderanti; and Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP), Fatai Owoseni who were not on seat, after which he left at 12:08 noon.
The former president in his opening remarks showered encomium on the police authority for organising the programme, which he described as a necessary tool for “any organisation aiming at development and professionalism.
“I have to make out time to be here all the way from Abeokuta where at the moment an international programme was being organsised in my honour that involved over 50 universities and secondary schools. There is nothing like training and retraining. I am happy that (the) police is doing this.
“Training is needed in all human endeavours. I am happy you invite me here. There is need to expose those on the job currently to the digital world. The world is changing and we have to move on.
“Things are happening now and we must match the pace of technology advancement. The Police are looking in the right direction,” he stressed.
Obasanjo in his usual element treated the audience to some jokes saying: “The police authority should know that training should be aimed at refreshing those who are current on the job. I can’t imagine the police asking Musiliu Smith, a retired IG seated there to now train police officers. Don’t give him the job please.”
Not done with his joke, he said: “Yes Musiliu has experience which cannot be bought with money and very key to stability in every organisation, but between me and him, I don’t know who is more digitally illiterate.
“I thank you ladies and gentlemen but next time you invite me, please make sure you are ready” he said.
Apparently reading meaning to the comments made by Obasanjo in his absence, IG Idris was quick to tender his apology at about 12:20 noon when he arrived with his team that comprised Aderanti, Owoseni and others, saying his lateness to the event was not deliberate.
He also mandated the AIG to convey his apology to the ex-president whom he described as a committed leader who believed in the unity and progress of the nation.
“I wish I had met him (Obasanjo) before he departed. He is a committed leader” said the IG.
Idris said the programme was in line with the philosophy of his regime as IG and charged police officers to continue to update their knowledge on criminology and security matters.
He also noted that the event will further strengthen the core values of the police under his leadership with a view to increase value deliveries to Nigerians.
Aderanti while delivering the opening remarks said the programme was aimed at empowering police officers to enable them meet the ever changing face of crime and criminality in the society.
“There is need for us to always be a step ahead of criminal elements. That can only be achieved through training and retraining.
“We will continue in this direction and soon Nigerians will truly commend the Police authority for training the officers in line with the best practices and international standards.”
He also speaking on the need to sustain training for police officers, retired IG Smith noted the need to make the exercise periodical in order to expose them to both local and international experiences.
He commended the Police for the initiative and urged serving officers to avail themselves the opportunity inherent in the three-day seminal to boarding their knowledge on the job.
Other senior police officers at the event included the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of training, Emmanuel Iyang, AIG Kola Sodipo, CP Chris Ejike in charge of the Lagos Police College, CP Baba Umar, DIG Olubunmi Alapini (retired) and others dignitaries.