Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River state, says former President Goodluck Jonathan told his benefactor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that he did not want to be vice-president in 2007.
Obasanjo had, at the end of his eight-year tenure, endorsed Umaru Musa Yar’Aadua as his successor, pairing him with Jonathan who had just been elected PDP governorship candidate in Bayelsa state.
Yar’Adua, who was terminally ill, eventually died in office in 2010 and Jonathan became president by default.
Speaking in the maiden edition of The Interview, a magazine published by Azu Ishiekwene, Duke said both Yar’Adua and Jonathan were not mentally prepared for power and lacked the vision to preside over the affairs of the country.
Duke said: “Umaru never wanted to be president. He was dealing with his health issues and wanted to retire and go lecture in a university. He was really offered an appointment at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
“Jonathan, on the other hand, had just been re-elected to be governor of Bayelsa and when he was picked, he was not so pleased. He said to Obasanjo and me, ‘I don’t want this job.’
“If these two men never aspired to the office but were recruited to take on a responsibility as daunting as the management of Nigeria without mentally preparing for the office and having a grand vision of where they wanted to take Nigeria to, then there is a problem.
“The mental preparation is absolutely important. The vision can be scripted for you, but if you are not prepared and you have no capable team to help you follow through, it is grossly unfair. It is like converting a passenger on an aircraft to a pilot.”
Duke unsuccessfully sought the PDP’s presidential ticket in 2007 and was thought to be in running for the VP slot along with Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers state, but Obasanjo settled for Jonathan.