Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday revealed that he knew former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was ill before he emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2007 general elections.
Obasanjo said that he presented Yar’Adua to replace him in office because he had been certified medically fit to run for the top office.
OBJ stated this while responding to questions in a virtual interview with a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies, Toyin Falola.
He noted that he got medical advice that late Yar’Adua, who had a kidney transplant, was fit to run for President.
Falola had asked Obasanjo to respond to allegations of imposing the late Yar’Adua despite knowing his health status.
In his response, Obasanjo described the allegations as “absolute and total nonsense,”, asking; “How? For the like of me… should I deliberately weaken the country that I fought for? The country of my birth. The country I want to be great.”
“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.
“I said look at it because it’s confidential and he said to me that from this report, this man has had a kidney transplant and it’s successful, he’s no longer under dialysis.
“And if you have a kidney transplant and it’s successful, it’s as good as if you didn’t have a kidney transplant at all. 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 remembered 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’m not dead, I’m 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’ve done in that position was not right, I leave him in the hands of God.”
Speaking on the Vice Presidential slot, Obasanjo said that after the emergence of Yar’Adua, the PDP had two choices; between former President Goodluck Jonathan and Peter Odili, who were governors of Bayelsa and Rivers States respectively at the time.
He said Jonathan was picked over Odili because of his corruption case with the EFCC.
“Goodluck Jonathan had all that was working for him. He was not a strong character as Peter Odili. I would admit that, but he was not a pushover,” he said.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.