- Former president Olusegun Obasanjo revealed that Ted Turner initially gave him $50,000 but added another $50,000 after finding out how broke he was
- During his visit to the Ford Foundation, the former president found out that the organization had been paying honorarium into his bank account, amounting to $50,000
- Obasanjo stated that he shared the miraculous experience with his children afterwards, and encouraged them to always trust God
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, has disclosed that after he was released from prison by Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, he was given the sum of $150,000 as a lifeline by Ted Turner, the founder of Cable News Network (CNN), and the Ford Foundation.
According to reports, Obasanjo made his comments in Lagos at a programme organized by Christ the Redeemer’s Friends International (CRFI) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, while speaking about his prison experience.
NAIJ.com notes that the former president disclosed that the money he received enabled him to pay his children’s fees and other important needs as he was broke after leaving jail.
He stated: “I did not have money after I returned from prison. And the experience was agonising.
“I did not even have money to settle their tuition and upkeep.
“As a father, I decided to travel first to see my children after a long time and second to encourage them, even though I did not have much with me at that time.
“To my surprise, the federal government provided me a presidential aircraft to take me to the US. I was equally surprised at the way the federal government then treated me.
“My transformation was so sudden. I said this is not ordinary. It is God in action.”
He continued: “Both Carter and Turner fought hard for my release. When I got to Carter, he was happy to see me.
“Before we started discussing, he asked me if I had seen my friend, Ted. I said I had not seen him. He said Ted had been asking of me.
“He advised me to visit him before I travelled back to Nigeria. I assured him that I would visit him. He also told me about the roles Turner played to secure my release from Abacha’s claws.
“He said he really tried for me and that I should visit him in appreciation.
“After I left Carter’s place, I visited Ted. Oh, Ted was so glad to see me. He said you would need some money.
“I asked him why he was asking such question when I just returned from prison and I had no money. He looked at me and smiled.
“Turner, then asked his secretary to give me $50,000. After I received the cash, I looked somehow unhappy and I did not say anything. He discovered I was not too excited about the money he asked his secretary to give me. He asked me why I was not looking happy.
“I told him directly that the money was not enough. I said you knew your friend had been in prison for a long time and that the money you gave me would not be enough.
“He smiled at me again and directed his secretary to add $50,000. I received $100,000 from Ted alone. I was relieved that I got some money to settle my children’s tuition.”
The former president further disclosed that from Turner’s office, he went to New York to visit the office of the Ford Foundation in New York.
He made the second visit because before he was sent to jail by Sani Abacha, he had been the sole African on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees.
Reminiscing about that second visit at the Ford Foundation, Obasanjo stated: “I was well-received. After we had short discussion, I was asked if I had checked my account balance.
“I said there was no need to check it because I did not have any money in my account. I was advised to check my bank account.
“I did not know Ford Foundation was paying honorarium into my bank account.
“Ford was treating me as though I was attending its conferences, programmes and seminars. I was surprised to find a balance of $50,000 in my bank account. I got $150,000 during my trip to the US.
“Oh, I was so happy that I had more than enough to settle my children’s tuitions and other outstanding issues.
“I later visited my children, and they were all happy to see me after a long time.
“At some point, there was no hope of meeting again with what Abacha did to me.
“I settled their tuition. I shared my experience with them. I encouraged them to always trust God. “And I returned to Nigeria after my mission. At the time I was released from the prison, I was really broke. But Ford and Ted rescued me from financial mess.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that former president of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo went down memory lane and recounted his prison experience.
In 1995, Obasanjo was sentenced to life imprisonment for his alleged involvement in the plot to overthrow that government.
However, he was released three years later, following the death of Sani Abacha.
Speaking at the 50th anniversary and founder’s day lecture of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) in Lagos, Obasanjo said that if a person believes in God, he would be able to succeed and achieve his goals in life.
Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of Obasanjo explaining why Nigeria should be treated with love: