Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his yet-to-be-released three-part memoirs titled My Watch, accused late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adau of deceiving him about how serious his health issues were before he became the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007.
Obasanjo surprisingly helped Yar’Adua to pick PDP’s ticket but after his election, Yar’Adua frequently fell ill and eventually died in May 2010, paving the way for Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to become president. However, Obasanjo was accused of installing a terminally ill northerner as president in order to return power to the south through the backdoor in no time.
TheCable exclusively reports that in a chapter titled “To be or Not to be: Jonathan”, Obasanjo said Yar’Adau gave him the impression that he had overcome his health challenges and did not act responsibly when he eventually became terminally ill.
In portions of the book seen in advance by TheCable Obasanjo wrote: “As can be expected, I was heavily involved in the transition and exit process that saw me leaving office for my successor, Umaru Yar’Adua, as recounted in Chapter Thirty-seven, the ninth chapter of the second volume of this book. The unprepared and unplanned transition from Yar’Adua to Jonathan was a more difficult exercise in some respects.
One reason was the ‘cloak and dagger’ manner in which Yar’Adua’s illness was handled. “The illness of a President cannot be regarded as private. His health has implications for the security and wellbeing of the nation. For the president and those around him to have attempted strenuously to keep the fact of the severity of his illness from public smacks of ignorance of the enormity of what the job entails and the level of provinciality of their understanding, attitude, and approach.
“I remember that in 1978 or 1979 Chief Awolowo visited me while I was military head of state and shared with me how he would always stay at home to attend to the work at hand and only make a private visit to the UK once a year for health reasons if he became president of Nigeria. I made it clear to the chief that once he became president of Nigeria, he could have no private visit to anywhere as such. Wherever he would be, he would be on duty, and the totality of his life would be public. I jokingly added that the only privacy he might lay claim to would be when he was at home with Mama Chief H.I.D., and that even then his security staff would be on twenty-four-hour duty.