It is often said that one should celebrate his achievements or good feats no matter how little they might be. Abiodun Johnson Olokun takes pride in being the only Nigerian train driver to have driven three Nigerian Presidents in recent history.
For Abiodun Johnson Olokun however, humility will not make him take credit for the uncommon favor that destiny dropped on his laps. For him, outside being assignments that come in a day’s job, there was nothing more to it.
Once in a while, however, he was usually ecstatic over the feat, and like this day, when our Correspondent met him, he reels out the feat with some relish and a tinge on his face.
Olokun never dreamt of ending his career in the centennial corporation as a locomotive driver. For starters, he had an HND in Mechanical Engineering from Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, and lately BSc Computer Engineering from the University of Science, Commerce and Busines Administration (ESCAE) Benin. He was never employed as a locomotive driver but was soon drafted to handle the locomotive being among the first set of Nigerians available to take over from the Chinese engineers who were handling the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge system of the nation’s railway.
At the moment, Abiodun Johnson Olokun who has spent close to two decades in the NRC has become the Assistant Chief Motive Power Officer (chiefly, he operates as the Chief Driver of the Nigerian Railway) and a top trainer of locomotive drivers employed by the corporation.
Speaking on his experience on the job, Olokun said he counted it as a privilege when he was asked few years after his employment to drive the locomotive that took President Olusegun Obasanjo to inspect the Lagos-Kajola narrow gauge in 2006, during the ground-breaking of the railway modernization from Ikeja to Kajola in Ogun State.
The lot again fell on Abiofun Johnson Olokun when they were shopping for local manpower to drive another President, and he drove President Goodluck Jonathan from Ilorin to Offa, in 2010 when the latter launched the Offa –Ilorin train service.
The launch of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge was the icing on the cake.
The Abuja-Kaduna was the first standard gauge line service in Nigeria. The project commenced under Jonathan with a $500 million loan secured from the China Exim Bank. When the project was completed, Buhari was on board the train from Abuja to Kaduna under the command of Mr. Johnson in the ‘cockpit.’
He said: “I feel very great performing this national task, which I see as a great task. I’m happy to have performed this because I don’t think any locomotive driver has been opportune to pilot three different presidents at different times’’.
Abiodun Johnson Olokun said he is content being a locomotive driver. He is ecstatic about the imminence of technology transfer, which would see the Chinese transfer to local manpower requisite technology and driving.
Via The Nation.