Obasanjo aware of Yar’Adua’s ill health before the 2007 elections –Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo was aware of the health challenges of his successor, the late Umaru Yar’Adua before the 2007 presidential poll.

Fayose headed the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Committee, which searched for the party’s presidential candidate in the 2007 election.

The governor, in an interview in the current edition of The Interview magazine, alleged that Obasanjo caused all the confusion in Nigeria today because he was determined to install a stooge.

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Fayose also stated that the late President told him that he was not healthy enough to become Nigeria’s president.

He said members of the PDP’s committee included a former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje; a former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi; the Senate President and ex-Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, and a former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori.

Fayose stated that the majority of members of the committee were disposed to having Makarfi as the presidential candidate.

He added, “As a loyal Obasanjo boy then, I went to Obasanjo and told him that this committee that was set up, everybody seemed to prefer Makarfi except me and one other person and we were in the minority.

“Five out of seven governors wanted Makarfi. Then Obasanjo pointedly told me that Makarfi was too smart and would not be easily controlled by him.”

Fayose stated that after Obasanjo’s alleged third term ambition failed, the ex-President directed him to go and “sound Yar’Adua out on the ticket.”

The Ekiti State governor quoted Obasanjo as saying, “Don’t tell him I asked you to come. You just psyche him up.”

He said he met Yar’Adua in the presence of Yakubu Tanimu, who later became the late President’s economic adviser.

“I acted as directed by Obasanjo, but the man told me expressly that he was not well enough to aspire to be Nigeria’s president; that the job would be too rigorous for him.

“After much persuasion, he then told me the only condition under which he might consider running was if all stakeholders would sign up and reach an agreement to pick him as the consensus candidate because he did not want any hassle,” he added.

He recalled that before then, Yar’Adua was usually absent from the Council of State’s meeting because of his health challenges.

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Fayose stated, “I went to tell Baba (Obasanjo) what Yar’Adua told me. On the issue of Yar’Adua’s ill health, I remember Obasanjo told me, ‘Don’t worry about his sickness; government money dey to manage his ill health.”’

He claimed that Obasanjo “used” him to wreck the presidential ambition of former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar.

He said there was a time some PDP chieftains held a meeting in the house of the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.

According to him, the meeting, which he also attended, was meant to make Atiku a presidential candidate.

Fayose said before he got to his house, Obasanjo called to challenge him for attending a meeting with Atiku.

He stated that in the morning of the following day, he went to Atiku’s house to tell him that Obasanjo was aware of their meeting.

“But no sooner did I enter Obasanjo’s office than he barked, ‘You went to Atiku’s house again this morning. If you go again, I will crush you. If you go again, I will remove you as governor’.

“Obasanjo told me that when you capture a general and you don’t kill him, he’ll come back and kill you; that since Atiku tried to stop him and failed, he must pay for it. And he (Atiku) is still paying for it,” the governor added.

The governor stated that before Obasanjo’s third-term bid became obvious, he had a soft spot for an ex-Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili.

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