After several years, commentators who have been on the trail of the reason why ex-Governor Peter Odili who was eminently qualified to contest the presidency did not emerge as the vice president has come to light.
Although former President Olusegun Obasanjo who revisited the matter recently claimed an EFCC investigation may have stood in the way, there are strong indications that the former military Head of State may not have told the entire truth.
It is still unclear why Obasanjo continues to allude to those events that neither produced any concrete proof against the Rivers strongman nor edifies his reason for backing late Umaru Yar’ Adua who was known to be sick to be President of the country.
“Let me tell you the story of Umaru Yar’adua. I knew he was ill and before I put him forward, I asked for his medical report which he sent to me and I sent it to one of the best doctors of our time and a good friend of mine who died only last year Professor Akinkugbe”, Obasanjo remarked.
“I said look at it because it is confidential and he said to me that from this report, this man has had a kidney transplant and it is successful, he is no longer under dialysis.
“And if you have a kidney transplant and it is successful, it is as good as if you didn’t have a kidney transplant at all. I accepted that and Umaru Yar’adua contested within the party and he contested within the country and came up”, the former President explained.
But Northern strategists have accused the former President of deliberately fielding an ailing man in order to short circuit the North.
Many conversant with events which played out before the PDP convention produced President Umaru Yar’ Adua appear to think that Obasanjo who rarely forgives, according to those close to him, exerted vengeance on Dr. Odili.
They allege that the Presidency under Obasanjo used the EFCC to prevent the former Governor of Rivers State from sweeping the votes at the convention.
Obasanjo had been pained when the third tenure bid was defeated on the floor of the National Assembly despite what was seen as an attempt at massive bribery.
Unfortunately for Dr Peter Odili, most of those who kicked against the third tenure agenda across the country emerged as his supporters as the race to the presidency intensified.  Besides, there were feelings in some quarters that only someone with strong spending power could have countered the effect of the money which was thrown into the third tenure project by acolytes of the former president.
We have learnt that fifth columnists within the PDP who included Governor Lucky Igbenedion and Governor Ibori may have permeated Obasanjo’s circles and spread the falsehood that Governor Odili was responsible for the defeat of the third term bid. There is no indication that Odili was ever confronted with the rumours which may have acted against the realization of his ambition by Obasanjo whom he trusted.
Until the sun set on Odili’s ambition to be President of Nigeria, the former Governor of Rivers State was perhaps one of the most competent and most prepared of the aspirants who were gunning for the top job.
Obasanjo who appears unable to forget Odili agreed in his latest account that Odili who was stopped from presenting himself as an aspirant in that election as result of the EFCC was indeed a better qualified candidate. It may be that OBJ’s conscience might be flogging him over what he did, explaining why at every opportunity former President Obasanjo has reinvented the story of what happened. Odili has remained more or less quiet except for the publication of a book which primarily captures his days in power as Governor.