I knew Yar’adua was sick — Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed he knew of his successor Umaru Yar’adua’s medical condition beforehand.

Yar’adua, a two-term governor of Katsina State, died in office as president, three years after he was elected in 2007.

Speaking on Sunday during a virtual interview with academic and historian Toyin Falola, Obasanjo denied leaving ‘weak’ successors in office.

He described as “absolutely nonsense, total nonsense”, claims that he installed Yar’adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan in power to weaken Nigeria’s democracy.

When asked whether he was aware that the late Yar’adua was sick before he supported his candidacy, 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.

“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 said Mr Jonathan was chosen as Yar’adua’s running mate because the preferred candidate Peter Odili, a former Rivers governor, had a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.