By Godfrey Mande, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed he knew the late President Musa 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.
Yar’Adua, who later won the 2007 presidential election, died in office in May 2010.
Obasanjo, who spoke on Sunday in a virtual interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, 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.”