John Oyegun, former governor of Edo, has narrated how he retired early from the federal civil service due to his refusal to compromise.

Oyegun spoke during the weekend at the commissioning of the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA) in Edo state.

The institute was established by the Edo state government to celebrate Oyegun’s 19-year service as a federal civil servant on his 84th birthday.

Oyegun was the civilian governor of Edo between 1992 and 1993.

He was removed when Sani Abacha, a military leader, took over the reins of power from the interim government.

Speaking during the commissioning, Oyegun narrated his experience working for the military government of Ibrahim Babangida.

He also told the story of how he refused to work as a managing director of Nigeria Airways because the minister was a military leader.

The former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) thanked Godwin Obaseki, current governor of Edo, for establishing the institute in his honour.

“I thank you Mr. Governor Obaseki and your wife, for honouring me when I am alive. I appreciate you and today I feel very fulfilled for this,” he said.

“I was glad when something was named after me, getting calls all around the world that they saw a building named after me. I told them my governor did it.

“Today, I am emphatically proud. I am proud that my name has been associated with an institution of immense possibility.

“Naming this great idea after me is considered the peak of my civil and public service career.

“I was called to manage Nigeria Airways as managing director but refused because the minister of aviation was then a military man.

“I refused the offer because he will not allow me to do my job. I was that fearless to tell him to his face politely that he will not let me function effectively and will lose credibility with passengers.”

Oyegun said he was reposted to various ministries because he refused to give up on his values.

“I was bold to tell the military what I want as a permanent secretary to ensure I don’t get into trouble,” he said.

“The IBB administration then posted me to various ministries including the ministry of commerce and industry.

“The first thing the military did was send me a list of people to be retired but I am not the one to retire them but write to the Public Service Commission with reasons.

“I sat with my commissioner, an armed commander in the military, who could not tell me what these people did but said the instructions were from the supreme headquarters.

“Three military officers were appointed by the IBB regime to supervise the different import licenses and I was told that I will be the one to sign all the import licenses but I politely refused.

“I told them I can’t do that because I was not responsible for it and where I come from we don’t behave this way.

“Immediately after that conversation, I knew I would be sacked and I went to report myself to the head of service (HOS) of the federation at that time.

“I went to my office, and instructed my secretary to prepare a resignation letter, so I can retire before the military could sack me.

“We all have a decision to make, it requires courage to take major steps to maintain integrity and defend what you stand for.

“When there was a crisis at the ministry of internal affairs, I was the only signatory of the Nigerian Passport at that time, I did all my duties and responsibilities, maintaining my integrity.

“I retired at 48 years after 19 years of service.”