Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, on Sunday, January 31, made some revelations about his successors, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
Obasanjo, who left as president in 2007, said he investigated the health status of his immediate predecessor, Yar’Adua
Obasanjo made this revelation when he granted an interview to academic and historian, Toyin Falola.
Speaking against claims that he intentionally brought in weak successors to cripple the economy, Obasanjo said such allegations were not true.
“How should somebody in the like of me deliberately do something to weaken the country that I fought for? The country of my birth, the country that I want to be great?”
Asked if he had any knowledge of Yar’Adua’s health, Obasanjo said:
“Let me tell you the story of Umaru Yar’adua. I knew he was ill and before I put him forward, I asked for his medical report which he sent to me and I sent it to one of the best doctors of our time and a good friend of mine who died only last year, Professor Akinkugbe.
He said the doctor told him that the result showed that Yar’Adua had a kidney transplant and was no longer under dialysis.
The doctor, he said, told him that a successful kidney transplant can make a person as healthy as one who never had a transplant.
“I accepted that and Umaru Yar’adua contested within the party and he contested within the country and came up.
“In the process of the campaign, I remember that he had to go for a medical checkup abroad and he was not around for a campaign here in Abeokuta. I called him because the rumour was that he had died. I called him on my telephone and put it on speaker. I said, ‘Umaru, are you dead or alive?’ and he said: ‘I am not dead, I am alive’.
“Within a couple of days, he came back and reported that he was checked up and he was well. That was the position of Umaru Yar’adua and if anybody in his right sense will think that what I have done in that position and for that was not right, I leave him in the hands of God.”
He said when the party decided to zone the vice presidency to the south-south, Peter Odili, then governor of Rivers state, was a stronger choice, but he had a case of alleged corruption against him.
“The next man was Goodluck Jonathan and Goodluck Jonathan had all going for him. He was not a strong character as Peter Odili, I will admit that, but he was not a pushover; he had been a deputy governor, he had been a governor and his state was doing fairly well.