Shehu Musa Yar'Adua

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Shehu Musa Yar'Adua
4th Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters
President Olusegun Obasanjo as Military Head of State
Preceded by Olusegun Obasanjo
Succeeded by Alex Ekwueme as 1st elected Vice President of Nigeria
Personal details
Born(1943-03-05)5 March 1943
Katsina, British Nigeria
Died8 December 1997(1997-12-08) (aged 54)
Alma mater Nigerian Military Training College
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Branch/service Flag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg Nigerian Army
Years of service1961–1979
Rank Major General

Shehu Musa Yar'Adua (March 5, 1943 – December 8, 1997) was a retired Nigerian Army major general who served as the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters under General Olusegun Obasanjo's 1976 - 1979 military government.

Nigerian Army Land warfare branch of Nigerias military

The Nigerian army (NA) is the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and is responsible for land warfare operations. It is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). It bears the brunt of the nation's security challenges, notably the Boko Haram insurgency.

Olusegun Obasanjo Nigerian politician

Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, GCFR, Ph.D. is a former Nigerian Army general who was President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation's head of state: He served as a military ruler from 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979 and as a democratically elected president from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. From July 2004 to January 2006, Obasanjo also served as Chairperson of the African Union. Obasanjo is the first Nigerian to serve as a military head of state and a civilian president. Today, he is an icon in the Nigerian political landscape.


Early life and education

Yar'Adua was born in Katsina into a titled Fulani family. His father, Musa Yar'Adua, was a teacher who later became the Minister for Lagos Affairs from 1957 to 1966 [1] during Nigeria's First Republic. His father held the traditional title of Mutawallin Katsina (keeper of the treasury). [2] Yar'Adua's grandfather, Mallam Umaru, was also the Mutawallin, and his younger brother, Umaru Yar'Adua, became the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007.

Yar'Adua attended Katsina Middle School and then Katsina Provincial School (now Government College, Katsina) for his secondary education; at the provincial school, he was classmates with current Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. [3] At the urging of his father and his father's friend, the defense minister Muhammadu Ribadu, Yar'Adua took the entrance exam of the Nigerian Military Training College. [4] He passed and was enlisted in the army in 1962 as part of the course 5 intake of the Nigerian military training school. Yar'Adua was selected for further training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Sandhurst, England.

Muhammadu Ribadu was a Nigerian politician, who was the first Minister of Defence after independence. The son of a district head from Adamawa's Balala district, he was educated early on at a Koranic school before proceeding to the middle school at Yola.

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst British Army officer initial training centre

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is one of several military academies of the United Kingdom and is the British Army's initial officer training centre. It is located in the town of Sandhurst, Berkshire, though its ceremonial entrance is in Camberley, southwest of London. The Academy's stated aim is to be "the national centre of excellence for leadership". All British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. Sandhurst is the British Army equivalent of the Britannia Royal Naval College and the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.

Sandhurst, Berkshire town in Berkshire, England

Sandhurst is a small town and civil parish in England of 7,966 homes and 20,803 inhabitants, primarily domiciliary in nature with a few light industries. It is in the south eastern corner of the ceremonial Royal County of Berkshire, within the Borough of Bracknell Forest, and is situated 32 miles (51 km) west-southwest of central London, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north west of Camberley and 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Bracknell.

Military career

In 1964, after he returned from Sandhurst, Yar'Adua was posted to the first infantry battalion of the Nigerian Army in Enugu under the command of Col Adekunle Fajuyi as second lieutenant. From 1964 to the end of the Nigerian Civil War, he held various positions including platoon commander in 1964, and from 1965 to 1966 adjutant of the First Infantry Battalion in Enugu. He was a battalion commander in 1967, and in 1968 became a Brigade Commander. During the civil war, he commanded the 6th infantry brigade under the leadership of Murtala Mohammed, commander of the second division. [5]

Adekunle Fajuyi Nigerian politician

Francis Adekunle Fajuyi was a Nigerian soldier of Yoruba origin. and the first military governor of the former Western Region, Nigeria.

Nigerian Civil War 1967–1970 civil war in Nigeria

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War and the Nigerian-Biafran War, was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the state of Biafra. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Biafran people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain's formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included ethno-religious riots in Northern Nigeria, a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta played a vital strategic role.

Murtala Mohammed Nigerian politician and general

Murtala Rufai Ramat Muhammed was the military ruler of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassination in 1976.

In October 1967, Yar'Adua was given the responsibility for the capture of Onitsha [6] after two (2) unsuccessful attempts by the Nigerian troops.

The First Invasion of Onitsha was a large military conflict between Biafran and Nigerian forces. The Nigerian 2nd Division managed to seize control of Onitsha for less than one day before being massacred by Biafran soldiers.

Yar'Adua became a Lt Col in 1972. In 1975, he was an active participant in the coup that deposed Yakubu Gowon as Nigeria's Head of State. [7] After the success of the coup, he served as Transport Minister in General Murtala Mohammad's regime. As Transport Minister his major task was to decongest the Lagos port. Prior to the coup, officials of the previous regime had ordered 16 million tonnes of cement to build military barracks around the country. However, the berthing facilities of the port were inadequate. The financial implications became more striking because the Nigerian government was liable to pay demurrage fees by the shippers. The Mohammed regime decided to transfer some of the cargoes to neighboring ports and introduce cement management firms to clear and sell the cement and build the new Tin Can Island Port. [8]

Yakubu Gowon Nigerian politician and Military general

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Apapa LGA in Lagos State, Nigeria

Apapa is a Local Government Area in Lagos, located to the west of Lagos Island. Apapa contains a number of ports and terminals operated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), including the major port of Lagos State and Lagos Port Complex (LPC).

Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) is located in Apapa, the port for the city of Lagos. Tin Can Island Port is seven kilometers due west of the center of Lagos across Lagos Harbor.

Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters

In 1976, Yar'Adua became the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters after the assassination of Murtala Mohammed in an abortive coup. His office was assigned the task of managing operations of Operation Feed the Nation, a self-reliant agricultural policy of the new Obasanjo regime. [9] Operation Feed the Nation, known as OFN, was an initiative to boost local production of agricultural produce, especially staple crops such as rice and wheat, so as to improve self-sufficiency of food crops and reduce growing food deficits. Mechanisms used to promote the objective included the distribution of heavily subsidized fertilizers and seeds to farmers, [10] loans to small scale farmers to enable them to purchase equipment, and an educational outreach programme manned by Corpers to teach peasant farmers how to use modern agricultural equipment. However, by 1979 the policy had not achieved its primary goal of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. [11]

Yar'Adua also guided the Supreme Military Council's initiatives on local government reforms which led to the conduct of local government elections in 1976. The local government reforms excluded traditional rulers from certain governance issues and limited their control over property rights. [12] The reforms also granted recognition to local government as a third tier arm of government.

Political career

President Babangida started his political transition program in 1987 with the establishment of a Political Bureau, and a Constituent Assembly was later inaugurated to deliberate on a proposed draft constitution. Though Yar'Adua was not a member of the assembly and a law had proscribed certain old breed politicians from political activities, his associates who represented his political leanings at the forum and was active in the formation of political associations during the transitional period, [13] Yar'Adua and his group formed the People's Front of Nigeria. [14] Members included Babagana Kingibe, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Magaji Abdullahi, Ango Abdullahi, Ahmadu Rufa'i, Yahaya Kwande, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Wada Abubakar, Babalola Borishade, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Sunday Afolabi, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso,M.S.Buhari Chief Gbazueagu N.Gbazueagu, Tony Anenih,Disu Oladipo,Haliru Kafur, Abubakar Koko, Sergeant Awuse, Titi Ajanaku, and Farouk Abdulazeez. The organization later merged with other groups to form the Social Democratic Party of Nigeria. People's Front and PSP, became the two dominant factions within SDP. However, Yar'Adua's group was very organized and able to win the majority of the elective posts within SDP. [15] During the Governorship and House of Assembly elections, SDP had a slight numerical edge over NRC. [16]

In January 1992, Yar'Adua spent a short stint in detention, jailed for contravening a law banning certain persons from active politics. However, the law was repealed and Yar'Adua subsequently announced his presidential election. His campaign political structure covered the country; he had a national campaign directorate, and each state had its own campaign coordinator and ward mobilizers. Members of his campaign group included former PDP chairman Anthony Anenih, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former minister Dapo Sarumi, Bola Tinubu, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Sunday Afolabi. Yar'Adua was leading the SDP presidential field before results were annulled. A new election was later conducted on June 12, 1993 which was won by M.K.O. Abiola. After the June 12 elections were annulled, the Yar'Adua faction negotiated an arrangement for the inauguration of an interim government. In November 1993, the interim government of Ernest Shonekan was booted out and Sani Abacha became the new military Head of State.

In 1994, Yar'Adua won a seat representing Katsina to a new National Constitutional Conference. He was an outspoken delegate and in early 1994 organized a political conference at the Nigerian Union of Journalist office in Lagos that earned the attention of the military leadership who detained him for four days.

Yar'Adua, Obasanjo, Lawan Gwadabe and others were arrested in March 1995 on allegations of plotting a coup to overthrow the Abacha regime. He was sentenced to death by a military tribunal in 1995, after calling on the Nigerian military government of Gen. Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to reestablish civilian rule. The sentence was commuted to life in prison but died in captivity on 8 December 1997.

Personal and business life

Shehu Yar'adua married Hajia Binta in 1965, and they have five children, including Murtala Yar'Adua, former Nigerian Minister of State for Defence.

After retiring from the military, he established a holding company called Hamada Holdings. He was an investor in the Nigerian branch of Habib Bank. He also started a publishing house called the NationHouse Press and published a now defunct daily newspaper called the Reporter.

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  1. Bayode Ogunmupe (2011). Nigerian Politics in the Age of Yar'Adua. Strategic Insight Publishing. p. 30. ISBN   9781908064011.
  2. Biography, Yaradua Center, archived from the original on July 19, 2015, retrieved August 1, 2015Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. "UPDATE: I graduated alongside Yar'Adua, had Grade II –Buhari". The Punch. January 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2015.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. Farris, J. W, & Bomoi, M. (2004). Shehu Musa Yar'Adua: a life of service. Abuja, Nigeria: Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation. p27
  5. Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Europa Publications. p. 1851. ISBN   9781857432176.
  7. Siollun, p. 176-180.
  8. Farris, p. 102-103.
  9. Toyin Falola; Ann Genova (2009). Historical Dictionary of Nigeria. Scarecrow Press.
  10. John Iliffe (2011). Obasanjo, Nigeria and the World. Boydell & Brewer.
  11. E.O. Arua. "Achieving food sufficiency in Nigeria through the operation 'feed the nation' programme". Agricultural Administration Volume 9, Issue 2, February 1982, Pages 91–101
  12. A. Carl LeVan (2004). Dictators and Democracy in African Development. Cambridge University Press.
  13. Larry Diamond, 1997, p. 173
  14. Larry Diamond, 1997, p. 173
  15. Marcus G. Ajibade. Shehu Musa Yar'adua: The Recurring Decimal in Contemporary Politics, p8. 1999
  16. Larry Diamond; Anthony Kirk-Greene (1997). Transition without End: Nigerian Politics and Civil Society under Babangida. Lynne Rienner. pp. 235–237.

Further reading