A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he had no knowledge of his late wife, Stella’s plan to undergo the cosmetic procedure that led to her death.
Mr. Obasanjo disclosed this in his autobiography, My Watch, which was released on December 8.
The late first lady died on October 23, 2005, following a botched tummy tuck – elective liposuction – procedure in Spain. The surgery was scheduled towards the commemoration of her 60th birthday.
“After the internment, I decided to look into the circumstances of her death,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote on page 240 of Volume two of the book. “I found that part of her 60th birthday anniversary, which was unknown to me, was her operation for her tummy and her shape.”
Mr. Obasanjo also addressed the insinuations that his wife’s death may have been a “sacrifice” he carried out for success in his job.
“Before the verdict in Spain, I was unaware of what I came to hear later that I might have caused the death of my wife to sacrifice her for success in my job,” he wrote. “That is how wicked and satanic some Nigerians can be in their rumours and mischief.”
He referred to the doctor who carried out the surgery as “careless” and narrated how with the help of the Nigerian Embassy in Spain and the Spanish authorities, he got justice for his wife’s death.
“I instructed that the doctor and the clinic be prosecuted,” he said. “The lost life cannot be brought back but the successful prosecution would prevent carelessness and loss of life in the future.”
The doctor, according to the former president, was made to pay damages, which was collected by Olu Obasanjo, Stella’s son, and his licence withdrawn for a period of time.
Mr. Obasanjo was however full of praises for his wife, whom he married in 1976, four years after the formal dissolution of his first marriage.
He commended her for handling the confrontations she had with his first wife, Remi, with maturity, for accepting children he had with other women as her own, and for campaigning for his release while he was in jail as well as supporting him during his presidency.
Mr. Obasanjo said shortly before her death, Stella, who was Roman Catholic, ensured that her marriage was blessed by the church in a small private ceremony at the Aso Villa conducted by Mathew Kukah, now the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.
According to Mr. Obasanjo, after the ceremony, his late wife thanked him and said, “You have relieved me.” Mr. Obasanjo’s book was met with controversy following its publication and launch.
An Abuja High Court had granted an exparte injunction stopping the public presentation of the book over claims the three volume series contained details of a libel case already before another court.
The case involves a drug trafficking allegation by the former president against a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Buruji Kashamu.
On Wednesday, Justice Valentine Ashi found Mr. Obasanjo guilty of contempt, after he defied his directive barring him from releasing the book.