Paden: Buhari saved life of Olusegun Obasanjo

Buhari’s biography sheds light on the relation between the incumbent Nigerian leader and Olusegun Obasanjo 

The author reveals that during Sani Abacha regime Buhari intervened and saved Obasanjo from the death sentence.

Buhari OBJ

John Paden, the authorised biographer of President Muhammadu Buhari, says that Buhari helped to save the life of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo during the Sani Abacha regime in 1995.

In his book, ‘Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,’ Paden, a professor of international studies, wrote that Abacha arrested Shehu Yar’Adua and Obasanjo for planning a coup to remove him from power.

The duo was sentenced to death, but Buhari’s intervention helped to save the life of Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, Yar’Adua later died in detention. Here’s what he wrote in a chapter subtitled ‘Civic Contributions’: “In 1995, Abubakar, who was Abacha’s chief of defence staff, announced that seven people had been arrested for planning coup.

One of the alleged plotters was Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a close colleague of Buhari’s and a charismatic figure on his own right.

“Shehu had met with Obasanjo in Kano, just before Obasanjo had planned to leave the country. Both were arrested and sentenced to death. Buhari himself intervened and saw Abacha, cautioning against extreme measures in an effort to save Obasanjo and Yar’Adua.

Other domestic and international figures also intervened, including former US president Jimmy Carter, and the death sentences were commuted. Shehu, however, died in prison under mysterious circumstances. Abacha was becoming a despised figure domestically and internationally.”

“Given Buhari’s reputation for probity, in 1996 Abacha asked Buhari to serve as chairman of the PTF. Buhari had no brief for Abacha, but was convinced that the PTF could serve the welfare for ordinary Nigerians, if managed well.

 As Buhari has said many times subsequently, he agreed to take the position “not for the sake of Abacha, but for the sake of Nigeria.”

 A biography of President Buhari, which was presented on October 3 in Abuja, was written by an American author John Paden, a Professor of International Studies who has deep knowledge of Nigeria and its leaders.

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