Obasanjo: Buhari Should Wake up, Fight Banditry in His Backyard

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*  Explains emergence of Yar’Adua as his successor

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up and fight the banditry in his backyard.

Obasanjo has also explained the emergence of the late President Musa Yar’Adua as his successor, saying he knew that Yar-Adua was ill before he supported him to emerge as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007.

The ex-president, who spoke yesterday in a virtual interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, said Buhari should start thinking of leaving an enduring legacy as president.

He said: “I thought I knew President Buhari because he worked with me. But I used to ask people that is it that I have not read him well or read him adequately or is it that he has changed from the Buhari that I used to know? I am not subscribing to the people who say we have a new Buhari from Sudan and all that nonsense.

“I know what I believed was his limitations and I have written about it –he wasn’t strong in economics, not all of us are strong in anything but you need to have sufficient knowledge of it for you to direct the affairs. He wasn’t particularly too strong in foreign affairs but I thought he was strong enough in the military.

“From his performance in his first outing as head of state, I thought he would also do well in fighting corruption. I did not know the nepotistic tendencies of President Buhari may be because he was not exposed to that sort of situation when he worked with me.

“But with what I have seen now, I believe that may be he will be thinking of a legacy. May be he will also learn from what has happened in recent times. If you are the commander-in-chief and banditry is taking place in your backyard, then you have to wake up.”

The ex-president also said some governors are now in a state of hopelessness because of the president’s way of handling the insecurity in the country.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo has explained the emergence of President Musa Yar’Adua as his successor, saying he knew that Yar-Adua was ill before he supported him to emerge the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007.

He however said he got medical advice that Yar’Adua, who had a kidney transplant, was fit to act as President.

Obasanjo has also explained that the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili did not emerge as Yar’Adua’s running mate because he had issues with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He denied allegation he deliberately put up weak candidates for selfish interests.

He said: “Let me tell you the story of Umaru Yar’adua. I knew he was ill and before I put him forward, I asked for his medical report which he sent to me and I sent it to one of the best doctors of our time and a good friend of mine who died only last year –Professor Akinkugbe.

“I said look at it because it is confidential and he said to me that from this report, this man has had a kidney transplant and it is successful, he is no longer under dialysis.

“And if you have a kidney transplant and it is successful, it is as good as if you didn’t have a kidney transplant at all. I accepted that and Umaru Yar’adua contested within the party and he contested within the country and came up.

“In the process of the campaign, I remember that he had to go for a medical checkup abroad and he was not around for a campaign here in Abeokuta.

“I called him because the rumour was that he had died. I called him on my telephone and put it on speaker. I said, ‘Umaru, are you dead or alive?’ and he said, ‘I am not dead, I am alive’.

“Within a couple of days, he came back and reported that he was checked up and he was well. That was the position of Umaru Yar’adua and if anybody in his right sense will think that what I have done in that position was not right, I leave him in the hands of God.”

Speaking on Yar-Adua’s running mate, Obasanjo said: “Peter Odili was a much stronger personality than Goodluck Jonathan but Peter Odili had an EFCC issue which made him to be dropped and once he was dropped, the next man was Goodluck Jonathan and Goodluck Jonathan had all going for him.

“He was not a strong character as Peter Odili, I will admit that, but he was not a pushover; he had been a deputy governor, he had been a governor and his state was doing fairly well.

“I don’t know what else anybody will say because the deputy president had to come from the South and we had agreed that it would come from the South-south.”