Tukur Buratai, former chief of staff, says ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo almost put an end to his military career 21 years ago.
The Moment Nigeria report that Buratai, however, did not give details of his encounter with Obasanjo.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Tuesday, appointed new service chiefs following the resignation of the former ones.
Speaking during his official handover to Ibrahim Attahiru, his successor, on Thursday, Buratai described his 40 years of service as “historic”.
The former army chief thanked the troops for their sacrifice, saying the Nigerian army has been “better positioned with intelligence gathering techniques and equipment”.
Buratai said the army, under his watch, ensured that democracy was supported and protected, and urged his successor to ensure that the army continues to be loyal and professional.
He added that “the army will never remain the same due to my transformational leadership and landmark achievements.”
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo almost retired me 21 years ago when I was a major. My retirement after 40 years of service is historic, hence, calls for gratitude,” he said.
“The security situation across the country is largely stabilised under my watch, and my administration will be remembered for improved professionalism, improved responsiveness to personnel welfare, and responsiveness to Nigeria’s democratic system.
“I am proud to say that the Nigerian army has transformed to become professionally responsive in the defence of democracy with utmost loyalty.
“Today, we have a professional response army and we have achieved a lot in many areas over the years as well as interagency cooperation.”
He urged the new army chief to ensure that the military remains professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional duties.
Responding, Attahiru pledged to sustain the giant strides of his predecessor, adding that he considers himself lucky to have been given the opportunity to succeed him.
He also solicited the support of the soldiers to reposition the army.