The US ambassador told me not to return to Nigeria because of the plan to arrest me by the junta. The ambassador also told me that the US Government had concluded plans to grant me asylum.
“While I appreciated the US Government, I rejected the offer. I was supposed to travel to France from the US. After I heard about Abacha’s plan, I cancelled my flight to France. I came through the United Kingdom to Nigeria. Abacha knew about my trip. When I arrived Nigeria, they were surprised because they expected me to be in France.
“I was in my farm when somebody came to see me. I left farm to see them. It was Ooni of Ile-Ife and Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon. They said we needed to go and beg Abacha. I asked them why. They explained everything. But I told them that there was no need.
“And I returned to my farm immediately. Just after they left, a police officer came in mufti. He said the AIG wanted me to come and advise him. I told him that was not true. I explained to him that if an AIG needed my advice, he would come to my house.
“My wife insisted that she would go with me anywhere they wanted to take me to. I got to the AIG at Zone II. He said I was under arrest. From Zone II, they took me to police officers’ mess, Ikeja. From Ikeja, they transferred me to Ikoyi where I spent about three days.”
He, thus, said agitation for his release started, noting that former US President Jimmy Carter and African leaders “came and pleaded on my behalf. After their intervention, I was released. But Abacha placed me under house arrest and I could not go out. I was only playing game in my farm.”
Sad enough, Obasanjo said Abacha’s men came again and arrested him, noting that a man he never met before pointed at him. “But the man claimed that he met me when I launched my book. The man said I planned coup. He said he was in my farm office for that purpose. “They started investigation. After some time, they said I had been charged for treason, and this was punishable by death. Consequently, they set up a three-man court martial. The military court eventually decided against me. And they took me to the dungeon.”
After three months in the dungeon, Obasanjo said he was taken “to Kirikiri where I met Yar’Adua. We spent four nights before I was taken to Jos. After some time, they moved to Yola. But they decided that Yar’Adua and I should be poisoned. Yar’Adua was injected.
“And that led to the virus that eventually killed him. A doctor wanted to take my blood sample. I refused because I had some trace of diabetes. I did not allow him to take my blood sample. After three weeks, he came again to take my blood sample. I told him that he would not take my blood sample without my doctor’s consent,” Obasanjo explained.
He said he was surprised one day when one of the prison officials informed him that Abacha had died, though he said he discarded the news of Abacha’s death. Eventually, he said it turned out to be true.
Obasanjo, however, said he regained his freedom after praying and fasting for seven days without eating and drinking, which he said, really developed his spiritual instinct and life.
Also at the programme, Ayoola gave insight into the vision of CRFI, which he said, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, founded on January 9, 1990 to reach out to the people in the high echelon of the society.
Ayoola, CRFI’s national coordinator, explained that Adeboye established it out of concern for those who occupied privileged positions in politics, business, industry, commerce and government so that they could benefit from the gospel of Jesus Christ and escape the wrath of the end time. He said: “It is a vision of righteousness of men and women in the high echelon of our society. If these people are won to the Lord, the common man will be better in our society. If they accept Christ into their lives, there will be fairness. There will be justice. And there will also be righteousness.”
He, therefore, explained the mission of the CFRI, which he said, was designed “to penetrate the ranks of powerful people in politics and business and saturate them with the word of God. This is a group of born-again Christians who occupy high positions in our society.”
“These people are the only ones who can reach out to their colleagues and friends in politics, business, industry, government and commerce. It is an opportunity to answer a call of faith. It is a task that must be done and that deserves our support,” the national coordinator said.
My Watch by: Olusegun Obasanjo