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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he knew the health status of the late president before supporting his presidential bid, however, he denied the allegation that he deliberately supported a ‘sick’ Musa Yar’Adua for selfish interests.
Obasanjo, who spoke on Sunday in a virtual interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, admitted that he knew the late President Musa Yar’Adua was ill but noted that his medical record was checked before choosing him.
According to Obasanjo, Yar’Adua’s medical record showed that he was fit to act as President.
Yar’Adua, who later won the 2007 presidential election, died in office in May 2010, but Obasanjo noted that he had no wrong motives for choosing him.
He 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.
‘I said look at it because it is confidential and he said to me that from this report, this man has had a kidney transplant and it is successful, he is no longer under dialysis.
‘And if you have a kidney transplant and it is successful, it is 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 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 was not right, I leave him in the hands of God.’
Obasanjo also revealed how former Rivers Governor Peter Odili lost out in the race to emerge late President Musa Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007.
Odili was a leading contender for the vice-presidential slot but lost out in dramatic manners at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention in Abuja.
Obasanjo said: ‘Peter Odili was a much stronger personality than Goodluck Jonathan but Peter Odili had an EFCC issue which made him be dropped and once he was dropped, 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.
‘I don’t know what else anybody will say because the deputy president had to come from the South and we had agreed that it would come from the South-South.’
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK