Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he was aware the immediate past Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, didn’t understand economics but he didn’t know he (Buhari) could also go haywire with reckless spending and ground the country’s economy.
Obasanjo, who led Nigeria; first as military head of state (1976-1979) and later as an elected civilian president (1999-2007), stated this in an interview with TheCable, published on Monday.
The octogenarian denied allegations that he deliberately put up Late Musa Yar’Adua, a medically unfit candidate as his successor in 2007.
Obasanjo said, “Tinubu said the other day that it was unacceptable that he would spend 90% of revenue to service debts. I wasn’t spending 90% when I went worldwide to get debt relief. Do you think that anybody would give you debt relief today? Buhari was spending money recklessly. I know Buhari didn’t understand economics.
“I put that in my book. But that he could also be so reckless, I didn’t know. Who would you go to today and ask for a favour?”
Speaking on his choice of Yar’Adua, he said, “See, I set up a committee headed by Dr Olusegun Agagu, of blessed memory, to search for a successor. They considered many names and did an extensive assessment on all of them.
They made their recommendation. Umaru was top on the list. Their biggest argument in his favour was that he had integrity and would not steal.
“The issues concerning his health were raised and I gave his medical reports to an expert for an opinion. Umaru’s name was redacted so that the expert would not know who it was and why I was seeking his opinion.
“After assessing the reports, he said the patient appeared to have done a kidney transplant and if that was the case, there was nothing to worry about and he would be as healthy as any other person. That was it. All insinuations that I knew he was going to die and that was why I supported him to be president were false. This is the true story I have told you.”