Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has described the late former American Ambassador in Nigeria, Amb. Walter Carrington, as his true friend and brother.
Obasanjo said this in a condolence letter to the wife of the late Ambassador, Mrs Arese Carrington, a copy was obtained from his Special Assistant (Media) Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
He said that Carrington leaked the information of his pending arrest by late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha (retd.), in 1995 to him.
According to Obasanjo, having met Nigeria under the military rule, which had run consecutively for over a decade and bred a culture of arbitrariness, flagrant abuse of human rights and disdain for the rule of law all of which relegated our dear country, Nigeria, to the unenviable league of pariah status in the comity of nations.
“Carrington was one of the responsible, matured and respected voices to take Nigeria out of the unwholesome situation it had found itself – permanently in crisis, regularly threatened with disintegration, prolongingly devoid of democracy, and economically plundered and mismanaged.
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“Indeed, I recall, sometime in 1995, that on one of my trips to Copenhagen to attend 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. I can proudly say he was a true friend and brother.”
He added, “I write to convey, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, our profound sympathy and solidarity with you over the death of your beloved husband and one of the most outstanding diplomats of our time in the world, Amb. Walter Carrington.”