Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed how the late former American Ambassador in Nigeria, Walter Carrington, offered him political asylum in the United States in 1995 while Gen. Sani Abacha was in power.
Obasanjo disclosed that he turned down the asylum offer, despite its tempting and assuring details.
He said during Carrington’s tenure, the late envoy helped Nigeria in easing the move to democratic rule which had run for over a decade.
The Owu born leader said that at that time, the country went through a culture of arbitrariness, flagrant abuse of human rights and disdain for the rule of law.
Obasanjo gave the account on Tuesday in a condolence letter to the late Ambassador’s wife, Mrs. Arese Carrington.
The former Nigerian leader said Carrington was one of the responsible, mature and respected voices that took Nigeria out of an “unwholesome situation”.
He listed these as permanent crises, threats of disintegration, prolonged devoid of democracy, and a plundered economy.
Obasanjo recalled: “Sometime in 1995, on one of my trips to Copenhagen to attend the World Social Summit as Human Development Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme, I received the most touching of the warnings, pieces of advice and offers to me from Amb. Carrington. He called me in Copenhagen and told me categorically that I was going to be arrested on returning home and, therefore, advised me not to return home.
“But he did not stop it there, he offered me political asylum by his government in the US. That was both touching and assuring, but I decided that, tempting and assuring as the offer was, I would not take it. I came back and was arrested and imprisoned by Abacha. No doubt, his generous assistance to my family while I was a political prisoner makes me forever indebted to him. When I was in prison, he was one of the few foreign Ambassadors who regularly visited my wife to encourage her and to find out how I was doing in prison.