Real reason I picked Yar’Adua as my successor – Obasanjo

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has made explained his  selection of former president, Umar Yar’dua, as his successor.

Obasanjo was Nigeria’s first executive president upon the return to democratic rule in 1999. He left office in 2007 after the end of his second term.

He was succeeded by Yar’dua, who was the former governor of kastina state. Yar’adua, however, died in office in 2010 after a protracted illness plunging the country into a constitutional crisis at the time.

Obasanjo has been blamed in some quarters for the fate that befell Yar’adua and the crisis engendered by the leadership lacuna in the aftermath of his death.

Many opined that Obasanjo knew about Yar’adua’s health challenges but still picked him to occupy the highest office in the land.

However, in a recent interview with TheCable, Obasanjo said Yar’adua was certified medically fit to become the president and he didn’t appoint him because he knew he would eventually die in office.

Despite not being an insider in his government, Obasanjo said he supported Yar’adua to become his successor because of his enviable character and integrity.

Obasanjo said “See, I set up a committee headed by Dr Olusegun Agagu, of blessed memory, to search for a successor. They considered many names and did an extensive assessment on all of them. They made their recommendation. Umaru was top on the list.

“Their biggest argument in his favour was that he had integrity and would not steal. The issues concerning his health were raised and I gave his medical reports to an expert for an opinion. Umaru’s name was redacted so that the expert would not know who it was and why I was seeking his opinion.

“After assessing the reports, he said the patient appeared to have done a kidney transplant and if that was the case, there was nothing to worry about and he would be as healthy as any other person. That was it. All insinuations that I knew he was going to die and that was why I supported him to be president were false. This is the true story I have told you”.


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