YAR'ADUA FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED MY GUBER CAMPAIGN -OSHIOMHOLE
This is even as the former minister of education, Sam Egwu, disclosed that some of them played the role they played during the saga because they were in the dark and knew nothing.
'Those close to him kept telling us he would resumed tomorrow and so we were left at their mercy.'
The former secretary to the government of the federation, Yayale Ahmed, also disclosed on the occasion that the members of the cabal wanted him sacked several times and at some point they were close to achieving their aim and were always shocked when they see him bounced back after meeting with the late president.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on his part, said Nigerians were not unsympathetic to the ill-health of the president but were forced to do so when information managers chooses to fed them with lies.
He said despite the fact that his ill-health was common knowledge, the government choice to be in denial did not also help the course, adding, 'we have to learn how to manage information around the president henceforth.'
Oshiomhole, who described Yar'Adua as a man of courage who had the guts to admit to Nigerians and the world that the process that produced him was flawed and vowed to make it cleaner for his successor to emerge, also used the occasion to lambast former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, General Godwin Abbe (retd), Mr. Fix it, Chief Anthony Anineh and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for their role in denying Nigerians their desired leaders through manipulation of the elections.
He pointed out that Nigerians indeed deserve to know what transpired during that dark period, challenging other actors to write if Adeniyi failed to capture it in the book.
The Edo State governor also disclosed that Yar'Adua further supported him during his legal battle to reclaim his mandate in court, which demonstrated that he was a man who was 'looking at people not for their party affiliation but for who they are and he was ready to quietly offer his support.'
Oshiomhole, who challenged the PDP to withdraw his (Yar'Adua) membership of the party if they were unhappy with his disclosure, however, added that if the country was blessed to have a Nigerian with large heart who sees you for who you are, the country will move a little faster.
'I believe that Yar'Adua was one of our finest leaders that Nigeria will ever have as a president. If I have one area of weakness in which I am aware, I have substantial deficit is in flattery. What do I mean, the more I abuse people the more the masses are happy with me particularly if they are very big people, and when I didn't do that, the masses wonder if I have joined them. So I have no material benefits of not saying it as I feel.
'I believe Yar'Adua was one of the few statemen that have had the opportunity to preside over Nigeria. You can be a president and not be a statesman,' Oshiomhole said.
And I define a statesman as a man who put his country first. You can be a president and just be an opportunistic politician who managed to manipulate an imperfect electoral system to proclaim and to occupy the office of the president and thereafter protect the office by falling back on the state instrument of cohesion including the instrument of official violence.
'I say this because often time, when people benefit from a process, they celebrate the process regardless of the impurities everybody else can see and all those who have reservations are dismissed as miscreants, people who are grumbling because they lack access and so on. To my recollection, Yar'Adua is the only president who passed through a process and had the guts to face the Nigerian people and say this process that produced me could have been a lot better. I would have wished that Nigerians rather than INEC made it possible for me to be president.
But I am not only going to lament it, I commit myself to reforming the process so that my own successor can come in through a cleaner process. It takes courage to admit that something that produced you could have been better. For that, many of us ordinary Nigerians will always respect him for that. Which was why he set up the Uwais panel to review the electoral system so that the fraud presided over by Obasanjo that produce Yar'Adua will not become a permanent feature in Nigeria's political life. I will always appreciate him for that.
'Number two, when I say that he put Nigeria and Nigerians first, most people at least if we are to define the issue by reference to the immediate predecessor, Yar'Adua believed party differences aside, Nigerians should be given the recognition and the respect they deserve regardless of their party affiliation.
'But we have had president who insist if you are not part of his party, you do not even deserve to rule. We have had them not too long ago, they insist that is do or die they must preside over the country, whether we like it or not. And they insist that for 50 years whether we like it or not they will continue to preside because Nigerians have no choice. So if just coming from that environment, we had a president who said, wait a minute, I am the president, yes I came through a political party but I am now president of Nigeria, for me that was the difference.
Which was why people like me, in my first encounter with the former President having been brutally rigged out by the Mr. Fixer who I have also fixed and Gen. Abbe can attest to that, when they unfixed me and the man who presided over that fraud also went ahead to lay some mines for the Nigerian political life, some of those controversial decisions the former president took just few days before he left office, doubled the value added tax by 100 per cent, mark up as he has always done fuel prices substantially and a couple of other decisions. And of course he handed over under circumstances that Yar'Adua himself described as though it could have been better.
'The NLC guys were ready to fight and I went to them to say look, I myself I am a victim of Obasanjo's fraud but his intensions was that Nigeria will not survive his fraud. Unfortunately, it does not matter who caused trouble, but when it starts, the poor will be the first to suffer and so NLC must take it easy. I myself will pursue my riggers and I know I will catch up with them but I need Nigeria to be in existence for me to be able to do so. We will not cut off the head because we have serious headache, with the right medication we will regain health but we need to take things easy.
'Few days later I met with the late President in company of some of my former colleagues and Yar'Adua said to me 'Adams just take it easy, the average Nigerian knew you won that election and you are not the first to be so cheated'. He reminded me that he himself in his first attempt to govern Katsina State he was cheated out because the oppressor at the time insisted that Katsina cannot be in the hands of a radical. And he said to me, they did their worst but as you can see today, I am here as president. So one disappointment is not the end of your political journey.
'As you can see Yar'Adua was right, today I am the Governor of Edo State even Godwin Abbe will agree. Yar'Adua knew I was not in PDP if they like they can now cancel his membership of PDP but I will reveal that he called me and said Adams, your own candidature for governorship is not a party matter, I recognized that under the law there is no such thing as independent candidate if not even if you contest election in Katsina, you have enough followers there. So I am going to give you support and he gave me generous financial support for my campaign. If you don't like this disclosure you can withdraw his membership of PDP if he himself as not already withdrawn it. And when I lost as I said he encouraged me to fight on, he again gave me support to contribute to my legal case in court. Now I see that as those qualities that he was looking at people not for their party affiliation but for who they are and he was ready to quietly offer his support.
'When the godfathers moved to blocked me from going to the villa after I had defeated them in one by-run election, they did it deliberately to manipulate the process. The late Yar'Adua invited me and said don't worry about the godfather, he doesn't know who you are, he cannot determine your access to see me, you are a governor of a state, every governor regardless of his political party, shares with me the burden, the challenge and the privilege of keeping Nigeria going. And so you will always have access to me, you will not need to book appointment, just come. And those privileges I enjoyed.
On a particular day, I went to the villa, I think the godfather was somewhere in the waiting room and the security people encouraged me to see the president before the godfather and once I knew he was waiting I now decided to take my time. I spent some good 30 minutes with the President and that was when we were discussing ASUU crisis. By the time I came out from the President's office I saw that the godfather was still waiting, I purposely went to the small room to greet him so that he will know I was the one with the president while he was waiting. That inspite of all his efforts to disconnect that I am even more connected than he can imagine.
'Now for me these little things are important because if we have a Nigerian with large heart who sees you for who you are, this country will move a little faster.
'The last thing I want to reveal is that when the late president was to reconstituted the NDDC board, he insisted that NDDC is suppose to be an intervention agency to develop the south south and that the governors, not party should nominate who represents state government and he asked me to make nominations. I'm sure he extended same courtesy to other governors who were not in PDP.
The godfather moved in and told him that to do that, is to liquidate the PDP in Edo State as if the PDP had not already been liquidated, you don't liquidate something twice, if they had not been liquidated they would have had all the members in the house. And the late Yar'Adua insisted that he is the president of Nigeria and not a president of a party and that there are matters that should be treated on their merit rather than being considered on this narrow conideration. That a governor of a state is better placed to nominate who represent a state.
'The godfather was not satisfied he mobilized the leadership of the National Assemby and Bankole told me this, that they went to see Yar'Adua to asked why he will give opposition party the chance to nominate people to the NDDC, which is 'juicy board' and that they needed access to fund their party. I'm told by the former Speaker Bankole, that when they finished, Yar'Adua lectured them about the responsibilities of a president as opposed to the responsibility of the leader of the ruling party and that as Nigeria's president he has a duty to preside over all. And he said in the case of the comrade you are talking, he lectured them on how much I have done to support his government, compared to some PDP governors when it matters.
He drew their attention to the so called economic crisis, when he set up a special group to advise him on certain quick wins to stabilize the system, he found worthy of appiontment, my humble self and governor Fashola of Lagos and we supported his government, we participated and our views were helpful. By the time he finished, Bankole told me they looked at themselves and they felt ashamed that in the first place that they were to pushed such partisan agenda.
'The last point I want to make is that Yar'Adua knew as President when national interest was at stake, party membership was not the most important issue and for those reasons I will always respect him. So for me Yar'Adua was a grate man and is a pity his poor health denied Nigerians the benefit of his leadership.
'I want to associate myself with what Comrade Haruna has said that Nigerians have the right to know what happened behind the scene. Particularly so when this after was subject of gossips of grumblings across the country, you will never know the truth. There is this song which I hope Segun if he cannot confirm someone else should confirm, what was really happening, was the man alive, was he dead, was Jonathan being briefed, was he not being briefed. There was even allegation that the man wrote that he wanted to hand over to Jonathan before proceeding to Saudi Arabia and that some people hijacked the letter and said you cannot do that, you don't transfer power like that. I think we need somebody some day to tell the truth whether or not this was a fact. But I believe Nigerians have the right to know and Segun has opened the way