Yar’Adua wanted Turai to succeed him —el-Rufai
THE late president, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, planned a dynastic succession, following his resolve that his health would not sustain a second term in office, by putting the then First Lady, Turai, top of a four-man list of possible successors, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, alleged.
He also confessed to being a mole in the administration of former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on the controversial issue of his alleged third term agenda, disclosing that he was leaking plans on the execution of the agenda to the opposition which eventually scuttled it.
Those claims, among others, including reasons for dumping his soul-mate and former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, for General Muhammadu Buhari during the duo’s failed presidential projects, were contained in his autobiography, “The Accidental Public Servant.”
The author claimed in the memoir that “however, the most interesting story, which on return to Nigeria I confirmed as truth, was the report of a meeting between Umaru Yar’Adua and a leading Northern traditional ruler in September 2009.
“The first class emir, who had unsuccessfully sought audience with Umaru for months, suddenly received a call summoning him to the Villa to meet the president.
“He came to Abuja immediately and met Umaru the same evening. After exchanging pleasantries, Umaru first heard out the traditional ruler’s reason for wanting to see him and responded positively to the request made. He then informed the traditional ruler that he was convinced that his deteriorating health would disqualify him from running for a second term in 2011. He, therefore, needed to carefully identify the person that he would support for the next contest in less than two years. The assistance of the traditional ruler, whose domain is nationally respected for the quality and quantity of its marabouts, spiritualists and mystics, was required to guide Umaru arrange his succession.
“Just before he took his leave, the traditional ruler requested Umaru to give him names of anyone he had considered as successor, so that the mystics could pray appropriately and ascertain whether the person can successfully wear the crown of leadership. Umaru thought carefully about this, got a piece of paper and wrote four names and handed them over to the emir without another word. The emir looked at the list expressing no emotion, pocketed the single page and took his leave. The names on the list were Umaru’s wife, Turai, his sons-in-law, Governors Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi and Bukola Saraki, then governor of Kwara State.
“On his way out, the emir was ambushed by Turai, who wanted to know if Yar’Adua had included her on the list of potential successors. The emir was a little shocked but went on to confirm that. Turai thanked him and suggested that she was the only person that could be trusted with Umaru’s legacy as the mother of his children.”
Writing on his role in scuttling the alleged third term agenda, even while a minister in Obasanjo’s government, el-Rufai claimed that “once we agreed on that position, we then had to set about our strategy for achieving this objective and we immediately knew that the cooperation of the National Assembly would be instrumental in ending the initiative.
“We immediately began a dialogue with Dr Usman Bugaje of the House of Representatives, who was the main champion of the group in the House opposed to a third term; we also approached Ken Nnamani, the Senate President and Aminu Masari, the Speaker of the House. Both of them believed the National Assembly was dead against extending Obasanjo’s tenure.
We made it clear to them that we were likewise against the idea.”
“Every few days, Nuhu and I would go around meeting with various parties we knew to be involved in the project, both in support and against it. Everybody in the pro-camp spoke freely with us as they assumed that we were close enough to Obasanjo and were trusted members of the team. Almost every night between two and three in the morning, after everyone had gone to sleep, we would drive to senator Nnamani’s house and the three of us would update one another on what we had all learned that day.”
He almost alleged that an act of betrayal by Ribadu in the course of his nomination by the Action Congress of Nigeria as the presidential candidate, was responsible for the decision of his group Good Governance Group (3G) to dump him for Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
Culled from Tribune
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