The former president, Federal Republic of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, disclosed on Saturday that he made a genuine mistake while choosing his ‘number two’ ahead of the 1999 presidential election.
Obasanjo said this while answering questions posed to him by students from selected secondary schools that participated in the final of the National Exhibition and Awards, organised by students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE). The event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta Ogun State.
Obasanjo indirectly said choosing Atiku Abubakar in 1999 as his VP was the number one great mistake he made in good faith, but was saved by God, because it was a genuine mistake.
Former President said the second mistake was his refusal to accept an asylum when he was told that the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, wanted to arrest him, the action, he said could have led to his death but Gid saved him.
He said, “One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the President. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me.
“The second one was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When he wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they would arrest me and that America had asked that I should be given an asylum. I said ‘No’. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.
“I will say there are many things that could have been a mistake but God saved me from them all.”
Obasanjo recounts his age when he became the Head of State, noting that those in seats now won’t allow youths to rule, further said, youths can never come into power if the current trend continues.
He said with the “Not Too Young to Run campaign, and you can see that those that are contesting now are between 70 and 80 years old, how can the youths run?”
He added, “Another thing inhibiting youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.
He stated “I was 39 years old when I became the Military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian president, but those there now do not want to allow the youths. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”
The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was Obasanjo’s Vice President from 1999 to 2007.