Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has paid tribute to the former American Ambassador in Nigeria, Walter Carrington, recalling how the envoy offered him political asylum in the United States during the regime of General Sani Abacha in 1995.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi on Tuesday, Obasanjo conveyed his condolence message to the wife of the late ambassador, Mrs Arese Carrington.
The former President stated that he, however, turned down the asylum offer, despite its tempting and assuring nature.
“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,” he said.
The ex-President also praised Carrington for the role he played in easing the move to democratic rule in the country.
According to him, the envoy was one of the responsible, mature and respected voices to take Nigeria out of the unwholesome situation it had found itself.
“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 Ambassador 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.
“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 said.
The late ambassador died on August 11 at 92.
Following his demise, President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu among others have eulogised Carrington, describing him as a true friend of Nigeria.