Chairman, National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has denied his involvement in the emergence of Olusegun Obasanjo as president in 1999.
Naija News recalls that in 2017, former President Obasanjo had claimed that Abubakar was part of those that made him president in 1999.
Speaking then at the Niger State Investment and Economic Summit in Minna, Obasanjo added that he was imprisoned by late General Sani Abacha for an offence he did not commit.
But in a sit down with Daily Trust, Abubakar said he was not part of the leading generals that brought Obasanjo out of prison to become the president.
He said the government released and pardoned Obasanjo following Abacha’s death. He said the former president was imprisoned over the allegation of a military coup by the late dictator.
The former military Head of State added that Obasanjo only came to see him for advice, adding that the arrangement to make him president must have happened within the political parties.
He said: “I always smile and laugh when I am accused or my government is accused of imposing Obasanjo. Now of course we released Obasanjo and other prisoners and pardoned them.
“So when Obasanjo was released he came to see me, saying he was going to take the government to court. “Why are you going to do that?” He said his business was crumbled by the military, his human rights have been violated, that he did not commit any coup and so on and so forth. I said, “Sir, please let bygone be bygone, thank God you are alive today, forget about these things. Some of the issues you mentioned, within my power I will look into that, so we left it at that”.
“The next time he came to see me was to tell me that he had been approached by this group of people, they want to make him the candidate to stand for election. I said, “Sir, if I were you, please disregard these people, Sir, go home and rest and sort your health out and so on and so forth”. He said, “Okay, General thank you for your advice, I will get back to you”. He never got back to me. The next I hear was that he was one of the presidential candidates.
“I tried to tell people that I had nothing to do in bringing Obasanjo to contest the election. Whatever must have happened was within the political parties and so on.”
When asked if Obasanjo was assisted with some money to revive his businesses when he was released from prison, Abubakar said: “Of course not only him, all people that were imprisoned in one way or the other, we tried to rehabilitate them; to help them in one way or the other.
“In one way or the other we did what we could to assist them, so you cannot equate that to bringing him to contest for an election.“