Barely four months after the exit of President Goodluck Jonathan from power, indications have emerged on why former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, picked the former Bayelsa governor as vice to late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
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Revealing the intrigues that led to the choice of Jonathan as vice president in his country home in Yenagoa, former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, said it was part of Obasanjo’s grand plan to stop Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from succeeding him in 2007.
The former governor said from the discussions he had with Obasanjo, he knew that Jonathan was going to be the vice president of Nigeria as far back as August 25, 2005.
He said Obasanjo’s fear then, was that Atiku had secretly endorsed Alamieyeseigha as his running mate and had perfected plans to succeed him (OBJ) at the expiration of his second tenure.
Alamieyeseigha said the choice of Jonathan as vice president was to frustrate the emergence of Atiku and himself as PDP flag bearers in 2007.
He expressed regrets that his impeachment, imprisonment and travails in office were part of the plot by Obasanjo, who he described as “devil incarnate” to stop him from becoming Atiku’s deputy.
His words: “For Goodluck, I knew that Jonathan was going to be vice president of Nigeria as far back as August 25, 2005. Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, told me that since Atiku and I wanted to take his job, that it would be over his dead body; and that unless he died, Atiku cannot be president of Nigeria.
“Obasanjo said since Atiku had picked me as his running mate, he would make sure that he dealt with and disgraced us. He said he was going to use my deputy to rubbish me before everybody. So, I knew.”
On why he picked Jonathan as his deputy, Alamieyeseigha said he needed an establishment person and somebody who was not too ambitious.
He described Jonathan as humble and a man with strong character, who could be relied upon to handle a position of responsibility.
“I needed somebody that, if I travelled outside the State, I could sleep well. It was a combination of these factors that made me to choose Jonathan as my deputy then.
‘I set out an objective criteria on the qualities I needed and when the late chief judge of Bayelsa State recommended him (I did not know him before), I entered my car and drove to his residence.
I asked him to resign and come and be my running mate. I was already a candidate. He was then in OMPADEC quarters”, Alamieyeseigha said.