Obasanjo: Abacha Planned to Kill Me, Abiola, Yar’Adua Cont’d from 10

*       Says he fasted for seven days to escape death
*      Reveals how Mandela, Tutu advised him to contest 1999 poll
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo last night reflected on his prison experience, revealing that former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha “decided and determined” to kill him but he was rescued by God from the plot to poison him.
Obasanjo also disclosed that Abacha resolved that the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola and the late Chief of Staff under the Obasanjo regime, Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, would not come out of prison alive.
He narrated his ordeal yesterday at a programme organised by Christ The Redeemer’s Friends International (CRFI) at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, where he emphasised God’s factor in how he was released.
The programme was attended by Abia State Governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu; former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Funsho Kupolokun; and former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Alex Otti.
Also, former Chairman of Nigerian Breweries, Chief Felix Ohiwerei; former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Alele Williams; CRFI National Coordinator, Pastor Edmond Ayoola; and Senior Pastor of Royal Generation Treasure House Ministry Int’l, Pastor Adewale Samuel among others, attended the programme.
Giving insight into how he fell out with Abacha, Obasanjo explained that it was the decision of Abacha “to annihilate him. It was not his decision alone. It was the decision of those who were close to him. They decided and determined that I should be annihilated.”
He noted that Abacha and his cabals decided “to exterminate my life because I criticised him when he wanted to transit from military Head of State to civilian president. I told him to drop soldier uniform and contest election if he wanted to be president.”
“Abacha truly planned to kill me. But his plan left God out. And his plan eventually failed. There is God’s hand in the life of everyone. He said I plotted a coup. He first arrested Yar’Adua. When he arrested Yar’Adua, I confronted him. 
“But Abacha told me that he did not know that Yar’Adua was arrested. I replied that there was no way that a man of Yar’Adua’s calibre would be arrested in Nigeria without his knowledge. He therefore promised to find out who arrested him,” he explained. 
The former president said he was in the US when he was briefed about Abacha’s plan “to frame me in a coup plot and arrest me. The US ambassador told me not to return to Nigeria because of the plan to arrest me by the junta. The ambassador also told me that the US Government had concluded to grant me asylum.
“While I appreciated the US Government, I rejected the offer. I was supposed to travel to France from the US. After I heard about Abacha’s plan, I cancelled my flight to France. I came through the United Kingdom to Nigeria. Abacha knew about my trip. When I arrived Nigeria, they were surprised because they expected me to be in France.  
“I was in my farm when somebody came to see me. I left farm to see them. It was Ooni of Ile-Ife and Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon. They said we needed to go and beg Abacha. I asked them why. They explained everything. But I told them that there was no need.
“And I returned to my farm immediately. Just after they left, a police officer came in mufti. He said the AIG wanted me to come and advice him. I told him that was not true. I explained to him that if an AIG needed my advice, he would come to my house. 
“My wife insisted that she would go with me anywhere they wanted to take me to. I got to the AIG at Zone II. He said I was under arrest. From Zone II, they took me to police officers’ mess, Ikeja. From Ikeja, they transferred me to Ikoyi where I spent about three…”
He, thus, said agitation for his release started, noting that former US President Jimmy Carter and African leaders “came and pleaded on my behalf. After their intervention, I was released. But Abacha placed  me under house arrest and I could not go out. I was only playing game in my farm.”
Sad enough, Obasanjo said Abacha’s men “came again and arrested him, noting that a man he never met before pointed at me. But the man claimed that he met me when I lunched my book. The man said I planned coup. He said he was in my farm office for that purpose.
“They started investigation. After some times, they said I had been charged for treason, and this was punishable by death. Consequently, they set up a three-man court martial. The military court eventually decided against me. And they took me to the dungeon.”
After three months in the dungeon, Obasanjo said he was taken “to Kirikiri where I met Yar’Adua. We spent four nights before I was taken to Jos. After some time, they moved me to Yola. But they decided that Yar’Adua and I should be poisoned.
“Yar’Adua was injected, and that led to the virus that eventually killed him.  A doctor wanted to take my blood sample. I refused because I had some traces of diabetes. I did not allow him to take my blood. After three weeks, he came again to take my blood sample. I told him that he would not take my blood sample without my doctor’s consent,” Obasanjo explained.
He said he was surprised one day when one of the prison officials informed him that Abacha had died, though said he first discarded the news of Abacha’s death. Eventually, he said it turned be true.

Obasanjo, however, said he regained his freedom after praying and fasting for seven days without eating and drinking, which he said, really developed his spiritual instinct and life.
According to him, “Abacha categorically said Abiola, Yar’Adua and myself would not come out of prison alive. He decided and determined to annihilate us. But God did not allow him.”
After he regained his freedom, Obasanjo said pressure was mounted on him to contest the 1999 presidential election, noting that he had to visit former South African President Nelson Mandela and a South African social rights activist, Bishop Desmond Tutu to seek their advice.
While Mandela told him to follow his instinct, Obasanjo noted that Tutu strongly encouraged him “to contest the election if my people wanted me to serve them. I was more comfortable with what Mandela told me than the position of Desmond Tutu.”
He, therefore, explained how he opened his bible one day “to the Book of Esther and read about the story of Mordecai. After reading the story, I came to a conclusion that God wanted him to serve my fatherland again. Despite what some people said, I served two terms and Nigeria is still together.”
Also at the programme, Ayoola gave insight into the vision of CRFI, which he said, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, founded on January 9, 1990 to reach out to the people in the high echelon of the society.
Ayoola, CRFI’s national coordinator, explained that Adeboye established it out of concern for those who occupied privileged positions in politics, business, industry, commerce and government so that they could benefit from the gospel of Jesus Christ and escape the wrath of the end time. He said: “It is a vision of righteousness of men and women in the high echelon of our society. If these people are won to the Lord, the common man will be better in our society. If they accept Christ into their lives, there will be fairness. There will be justice. And there will also be righteousness.”
He, therefore, explained the mission of the CFRI, which he said, was designed “to penetrate the ranks of powerful people in politics and business and saturate them with the word of God. This is a group of born-again Christians who occupy high positions in our society.”
“These people are the only ones who can reach out to their colleagues and friends in politics, business, industry, government and commerce. It is an opportunity to answer a call of faith. It is a task that must be done and that deserves our support,” the national coordinator said.