I wept like a baby on December 8, 1997 when I was informed that Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua had died in Abakaliki prison. He was just 54 years old. Yar’Adua had transformed Nigerian politics with his organizational skill, analytical mind and his uncommon gift as a strategist. I lost a brother, a mentor, a confidant and a friend in Yar’Adua.
He remains one of the few people in this world who have made a lasting impact on my life. I admired his simplicity, meticulousness and patriotism.
I initially kept away from the Abacha transition programme. Then late in 1997, Lamido Aliyu Musdafa made an urgent call to me in the United States. He wanted me back in the country. He said Abacha had assured him that I would be safe. Abacha needed credible politicians to participate in his transition programme.
I initially joined the National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN). I was ordered by Abacha’s agents to join UNCP, the government-sponsored party. I went with thousands of my supporters.
It was not until February 5, 1998 that I declared my intention to vie for the UNCP governorship ticket
Culled from the biography titled ‘Atiku: The Story of Atiku Abubakar’ by Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba (Africana Legacy Press, Abuja, 2006)