A former President , Chief Olusegun Obasanjo , revealed on Saturday that the late dictator, Gen . Sani Abacha wanted him , the late Shehu Musa Yar ’ Adua and the June 12 hero, the late Moshood Abiola , dead while in prison.
He stated this at a dinner programme organised by an inter- denominational Christian organisation, Christ The Redeemer’ s Friends International of the Redeemed Christian Church of God , Lagos Province 39 Chapter .
The former president alleged that Yar ’ Adua was poisoned by Abacha ’ s killer squad, adding that he was to be next victim , but that he was saved by God ’ s divine grace .
Obasanjo said , “ Two people had earlier told me Abacha promised that three of us would not come out of prison or detention alive ; myself . Shehu Yar Adua and MKO Abiola . And two of them did not come out alive . So , that I came out alive, maybe God has a purpose . And therefore if the purpose is for me to serve the people and by so doing, serve God , then so be it.
“ Abacha claimed that I was plotting a coup . I wasn ’ t the first to be arrested. When Shehu ( Yar ’ Adua ) was arrested, I tried to plead for his release. When Abacha said he didn ’ t know about Shehu ’ s arrest, I said to him , ‘ the number two man in this country cannot be arrested without you knowing . ’ He then said he would go and find out.
“ In Abacha ’ s plan, he left God out of it and because he left God out of his plan , it ( his government ) eventually failed . There is God ’ s hand in the life of each and every one of us and every institution . I believe that very well.
“ When I was arrested, they took me to a house in Ikoyi ( Lagos ) and that became my abode ( I was ) in isolation , for three months .
“ In the meantime , there were national and international pressures for my release, ( former US) President Jimmy Carter was one of the world leaders that came to ask for my release. Some African leaders like Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe came . I believe it was because of those pressures that I was released from isolation in Ikoyi where I was under house arrest. ”
Obasanjo described the day he was court – martialled and sentenced as one of the ‘ worst days in his life. ’
He said , “ I must say that, that day, in a split second , it felt like the worst day in my life. What flashed through my mind was that I was forever ruined . I asked myself, ‘ What did I do to deserve this ? Is this what I get for serving Nigeria ?’ But then , I told myself again that this was not done to me by Nigeria , but that one man did it for me. ”
Obasanjo said he and Yar ’ Adua were detained in Jos and Port Harcourt prisons because they were the best prisons in the country at the time.
He said , “ I was to go to Jos ( prison) and Yar ’ Adua was to go to Port Harcourt ( prison) . In Jos , I was visited by my colleagues, including Yakubu Danjuma , Joe Garba , Domkat Bali, many of our colleagues , and then family members and friends .
“ Then a decision was made that I was becoming too popular in Jos prison and I had to be transferred to . Yola prison which is a native authority prison and I don’ t need to tell you what life was there .
“ In Jos prison, before I was transferred to Yola prison , they had decided that Shehu Yar ’ Adua and myself should be poisoned. So , they took him from Port Harcourt prison to Abakaliki. In the process , he was injected with the virus that killed him . The same was supposed to be done to me . The man who came took me from the prison to a guest house in the GRA in Jos , said , ‘ We know you have problem with cholesterol so I have to take your blood for a test. ’ Then I said , ‘ Not on your life, I don’ t have any problem of cholesterol. ’
“ I was slightly diabetic. But God had taken care of it because I was checking my blood sugar almost on a daily basis and it had become better than normal . So , I refused him ( the man ) touching me with anything. So , they took me to Yola and he said , ‘ when you get to where you are going , we will come again . ’”
The former president said he was saved from being poisoned by a doctor and specialist in the prison.
“ The doctor was a professional man in charge of the General Hospital in Yola. He listened to my case that I needed special food because I was diabetic . He said the specialist would come to see me . The specialist turned out to be somebody from Okeogun in Oyo State . Two , he was a Baptist , and three , he had heard about me and knew me. So , he looked at me and said , ‘ Don’ t let anybody touch you with anything. ’
“ Within three weeks the man that came to me earlier returned again and said he wanted to take my blood. I said , ‘ No , you have to get my doctor to come and take my blood for you . ’ That was the arrangement between me and the doctor. And my doctor came and he brought a syringe and he took my blood and gave it to him . He now asked the man, ‘ When would we have the result?’ The man said , ‘ Within 24 hours of my getting to Abuja . ’ I haven’ t heard the result till today . ”
Obasanjo said after his release from prison, he gave into pressure to contest for the presidency and he ended up becoming president for two terms by the grace of God . “ Nigeria that was a pariah state became a darling ( of the world ) .
“ What is the lesson for me ? I developed in prison but unfortunately I was not able to sustain it. Maybe because there was nothing else to do in prison except to pray and fast. I used to fast a lot . On three occasions, I fasted for seven days, no water, no food… a unique power was given to me by God .
“ In all these , God did not leave me alone , and I know that. I say to people that God has never let me alone nor disappointed me in spite of all . I am a sinner. It is not because of my goodness, but because of the grace of God , and the grace of God continues to abound. ”