FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo disclosed on Wednesday, July 15, that his choice of the late former President Umaru Yar’ Adua as his successor was dictated by the fact that others, who wanted the post, were corrupt.
Obasanjo said one of those who wanted to succeed him in 2007 was very corrupt and that the only way he (Obasanjo) could justify himself before man and God was to back Yar’Adua, whom he said, was the only one among the contenders then who was not corrupt.
In an interview with Channels Television in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the former president did not give the names of Yar’Adua’s rivals. But then, it was common knowledge then that former Vice President Abubakar Atiku and former Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State, were also interested in the post on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in 2007.
On being denied the party ticket, Abubakar later abandoned the PDP to contest the presidential election on the platform of the defunct Action Congress while Odili jettisoned his ambition with the nomination of Yar’Adua.
Eventually, Yar’Adua died in office from heart-related ailments on May 5, 2010. A lot of Nigerians blamed Obasanjo for choosing a man who was apparently ailing, to lead the country. Yar’Adua was succeeded in office by former President Goodluck Jonathan, his then deputy.
Defending his choice further Obasanjo told the Channels that he only acted based on the information made available to him. He said: “Even if you take your son as your successor, you are not sure of what he will do when he gets there. Don’t ever kid yourself.
“What do I know about any successor? What he presents. When he gets there, he presents it differently. We did our best, but if you say our best is not good enough, I will say, when it comes to your turn, do better.
“With all the people who are available as successor, what we came up with was about the best that we could think of at that time.”
— Jul 27, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT