Why I picked Ya’ardua as my successor despite his health issues – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why he supported the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to be his successor in 2007 despite his health challenges at the time.
Yar’Adua succeeded Obasanjo in 2007 following a controversial election.
However, Yar’Adua’s presidency was overshadowed by his persistent health issues. He suffered from a longstanding kidney ailment and his prolonged absence from the country for medical treatment.
Consequently, his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, assumed the role of acting president before Yar’Adua’s death on May 5, 2010.
Obasanjo, in an interview with The Cable on Tuesday, shed light on the behind-the-scenes decision-making process that led to Yar’Adua succeeding him.
The former president disclosed that his endorsement of Yar’Adua as his successor was based on a selection process led by a committee headed by the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo State.
Obasanjo said the committee considered many names and made a recommendation, with Yar’Adua at the top of the list.
“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,” Obasanjo said.
He explained that the committee’s primary justification for endorsing Yar’Adua was his perceived integrity and the belief that he would not engage in corrupt practices as president.
Obasanjo disclosed that Yar’Adua’s health issues were brought up, despite the fact that he was the the committee’s top choice, who noted that he sought the opinion of a medical expert.
Obasanjo also disclosed that he shared Yar’Adua’s medical reports with the expert but ensured that the patient’s name was redacted to maintain confidentiality.
According to him, the medical expert concluded that Yar’Adua was fit to take office after underwent a kidney transplant.
The former president, however, stated that all allegations suggesting he knew Yar’Adua was going to die and still supported him for the presidency were entirely false.
“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,” Obasanjo said.
“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.”
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.