Umaru Musa Yar'Adua

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Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
Yar'Adua in 2007.
13th President of Nigeria
In office
29 May 2007 5 May 2010
Vice PresidentGoodluck Jonathan
Preceded by Olusegun Obasanjo
Succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan
Governor of Katsina
In office
29 May 1999 29 May 2007
Preceded by Joseph Akaagerger (military administrator)
Succeeded by Ibrahim Shema
Personal details
Born(1951-08-16)16 August 1951
Katsina, Katsina State, Nigeria
Died5 May 2010(2010-05-05) (aged 58)
Aso Villa, Abuja, Nigeria
Political party People's Democratic Party (1998–2010)
Other political
Alma mater

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (16 August 1951 5 May 2010) [1] [2] [3] was the 13th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was governor of Katsina State in northern Nigeria from 29 May,1999 to 28 May,2007. He was declared the winner of the controversial Nigerian presidential election held on 21 April,2007, and was sworn in on 29 May,2007. He was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). In 2009, Yar'Adua left for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for pericarditis. He returned to Nigeria on 24 February,2010, where he died on 5 May. [4]

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.

Katsina State State in Nigeria

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria. Its capital is Katsina, and its Governor is Aminu Bello Masari, a member of the All Progressives Congress. Katsina State was carved out of old Kaduna State in 1987.

Peoples Democratic Party (Nigeria) Political party in Nigeria

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) is a major contemporary political party in Nigeria. Its policies generally lie towards the centre-right of the political spectrum. It won every Presidential election between 1999 and 2011, and was until the 2015 elections, the governing party in the Fourth Republic although in some cases, amid a few controversial electoral circumstances. Currently, PDP controls 14 states out of 36 states in Nigeria.


Family and early life

Former First Lady Turai Yar'Adua. Turai Yar'Adua.jpg
Former First Lady Turai Yar'Adua.

Yar'Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina; [5] his father, a Minister for Lagos during the First republic, held the chieftaincy title of Matawalle (or custodian of the royal treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title which Yar'Adua inherited. [6] [7] He started his education at Rafukka Primary School in 1958, and moved to Dutsinma Boarding Primary School in 1962. He attended the Government College at Keffi from 1965 until 1969. In 1971 he received a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College. [8] He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, where he obtained a B.Sc. degree in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to pursue an M.Sc. degree in Analytical Chemistry. [8]

Fula people A large ethnic group in Sahel and West Africa

The Fula,Fulani or Fulɓe people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. Inhabiting many countries, they live mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa but also in South Sudan, Sudan, and regions near the Red Sea coast. There are an estimated 150 million people of Fulani descent in West Africa in total.

Lagos Metropolis in Nigeria

Lagos is a city in the Nigerian state of the same name. The city, with its adjoining conurbation, is the most populous in Nigeria and on the African continent. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and one of the most populous urban areas. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa; the megacity has the fourth-highest GDP in Africa and houses one of the largest and busiest seaports on the continent.

Barewa College Secondary school in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria

Barewa College is a college in Zaria, Kaduna State, northern Nigeria. Founded in 1921 by British Governor General Hugh Clifford, it was originally known as Katsina College. It switched its name to Kaduna College in 1938 and to Government College, Zaria in 1949 before settling on Barewa College. It is one of the largest boarding schools in Northern Nigeria and was the most-celebrated post-primary schools there up to the early 1960s. The school is known for the large number of elites from the region who attended and counts among its alumni five who were Nigerian presidents including the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua married Turai Umaru Yar'Adua of Katsina in 1975; [9] they had seven children (five daughters and two sons). [10] Their daughter Zainab is married to Kebbi State governor Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari. [11] Their daughter Nafisa is married to Bauchi State governor Isa Yuguda. [12] [13] Their daughter Maryam is married to Katsina State governor Ibrahim Shema. Yar'Adua was married to Hauwa Umar Radda as a second wife from 1992 to 1997. They had two children. [14] [15]

Turai YarAdua First Lady of Nigeria

Hajiya Turai Umar Musa Yar'Adua is the widow of former Nigerian President and former Katsina State Governor Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. She was the First Lady of Nigeria from 2007 until the death of her husband, President Yar'Adua, on May 5, 2010.

Kebbi State State in Nigeria

Kebbi is a state in north-western Nigeria with its capital at Birnin Kebbi. The state was created out of a part of Sokoto State in 1991. Kebbi State is bordered by Sokoto State, Niger State, Zamfara State, Dosso Region in the Republic of Niger and the nation of Benin. It has a total area of 36,800 km².

Usman Sa'idu Nasamu Dakingari was elected governor of Kebbi State in Nigeria in April 2007, taking office on 29 May 2007. He is a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP). He was reelected on 26 April 2011. However, on 24 February 2012 the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Kebbi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified his election, and ordered a fresh election within 90 days. He was elected again on 31 March and took office on 2 April.

Professional career

Yar'Adua's first employment was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975–76). He later served as a lecturer at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State, between 1976 and 1979. In 1979, he began working as a lecturer at College of Art Science, remaining in this position until 1983, when he began working in the corporate sector. [16]

Zaria LGA and city in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Area. Formerly known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. Today, it is known for housing Nigeria's largest university, Ahmadu Bello University, as well as being home to a number of prominent Nigerians.

Yar'Adua worked at Sambo Farms Ltd in Funtua, Katsina State, as its pioneer General Manager between 1983 and 1989. He served as a Board Member of Katsina State Farmers' Supply Company between 1984 and 1985, Member of the Governing Council of Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology Zaria and Katsina Polytechnic between 1978 and 1983, Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company (KIPDECO) between 1994 and 1996. He served as a director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd, 1995–99; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd, 1987–99, Hamada Holdings, 1983–99; and Madara Ltd, Vom, Jos, 1987–99. He was Chairman of Nation House Press Ltd, Kaduna, from 1995 to 1999.[ citation needed ]

Funtua LGA and town in Katsina State, Nigeria

Funtua is a Local Government Area in Katsina State, Nigeria. Its headquarters is in the town of Funtua on the A126 highway.

Early political career

Yar'Adua Umaru YarAdua 080630-F-1644L-173.jpg

During the Second Republic (1979–83), Yar'Adua was a member of the leftist People's Redemption Party, while his father was briefly the National Vice chairman of the National Party of Nigeria. During the Transition Programme of President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Yar'Adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples Front, a political association under the leadership of his elder brother, the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. That association later fused to form the Social Democratic Party. Yar'Adua was a member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly. He was a member of the party's National Caucus and the SDP State Secretary in Katsina and contested the 1991 Governorship election, but lost to Saidu Barda, the candidate of the National Republican Convention and an ally of Babangida. In 1999, he ran for the same position and won. [6] He was re-elected in 2003. He was the first governor to publicly declare his assets. [17]

Peoples Redemption Party Nigerian political party

The People's Redemption Party was a political party in Nigeria. The Second Republic incarnation of the Northern Elements Progressive Union and the Fourth Republican incarnation of a similar namesake, the party was created by the supporters of Mallam Aminu Kano after his withdrawal from the National Party of Nigeria. The PRP was highly regarded as a progressive left of center political party. Some well known members of the party included Governors Abubakar Rimi, Balarabe Musa, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Michael Imoudu, Dr. Edward Ikem Okeke, Bala Usman, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Sule Lamido and Chinua Achebe — who served briefly as Deputy National President in the early 1980s.

National Party of Nigeria Nigerian political party

The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was the dominant political party in Nigeria during the Second Republic (1979–1983).

Ibrahim Babangida Head of State of Nigeria

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, is a retired Nigerian Army General who was President of Nigeria from 27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993. He previously served as the chief of army staff from January 1984 to August 1985. Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria.

In the year of 2000, during Yar'Adua's administration as governor, Katsina became the fifth northern Nigerian state to adopt sharia, or Islamic law. [18] In 2002 Amina Lawal, a woman from Katsina, was sentenced to death by stoning by a sharia court in the town of Bakori for committing adultery; the story attracted international attention. Her sentence was at first upheld by a court in the town of Funtua, then overturned a year later following an appeal. [19]

According to a public hearing that was carried out shortly after his death in May 2010, there has never been a Governor like him in the history of Katsina State.

Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State has attributed the achievements recorded in the state to the sagacity of former governor and late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The late Yar’Adua was governor for eight years in Katsina State from 1999 to 2007 before he was succeeded by the incumbent.

James Danjuma Reported to the National Mirror on May 30, 2013 that;

Shema said the late Yar’Adua worked very hard as governor to provide dividends of democracy for his people and after he had left, people were still talking about the good things he did.

The governor said some of the important projects the late Yar’Adua had begun before he became President were completed by his administration because they had positive bearing on the people.

Shema, who was speaking during the Democracy Day celebration event in the state, thanked stakeholders for supporting his administration in the last six years in its efforts to provide dividends of democracy for the people. Yar'Adua said with two years before the end of his administration, the policy of free education for primary and secondary school students would be maintained. [20]

Presidential nomination

On 16–17 December 2006, Yar'Adua was chosen as the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP for the April 2007 election, receiving 3,024 votes from party delegates; his closest rival, Rochas Okorocha, received 372 votes. [21] Yar'Adua's success in the primary was attributed to the support of incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo; [21] [22] At the time of his nomination he was an obscure figure on the national stage, and has been described as a "puppet" of Obasanjo who could not have won the nomination under fair circumstances. [22] Shortly after winning the nomination, Yar'Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa State, as his vice-presidential candidate. [21] [22]

Another view of the support he received from President Obasanjo is that he was one of few serving governors with a spotless record, devoid of any suspicions or charges of corruption. [22] He also belonged to the People's Democratic Movement (PDM) – a powerful political block founded by his late brother, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who was also Obasanjo's vice president during his military rule.

In 2007, Umaru Yar'Adua, who suffered from a kidney condition, challenged his critics to a game of squash in an endeavor to end speculations about his health. [23] On 6 March 2007 he was flown to Germany for medical reasons, further fomenting rumors about his health. His spokesperson said this was due to stress and quoted Yar'Adua as saying he was fine and would soon be back to campaigning. Another report, which was rejected by Yar'Adua's spokesperson, claims that Yar'Adua collapsed after suffering a possible heart attack. [24]


Seal of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Seal of the President of Nigeria.svg
Seal of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
At the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2007 (Yar'Adua at the very right) Heiligendamm G8 2007 008.jpg
At the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2007 (Yar'Adua at the very right)
Yar'Adua with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev whilst the latter was on a state visit to Nigeria in June 2009. Dmitry Medvedev in Nigeria 24 June 2009-5.jpg
Yar'Adua with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev whilst the latter was on a state visit to Nigeria in June 2009.

In the presidential election, held on 21 April 2007, Yar'Adua won with 70% of the vote (24.6 million votes) according to official results released on 23 April. The election was highly controversial. Strongly criticized by observers, as well as the two primary opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC), its results were largely rejected as having been rigged in Yar'Adua's favor. [25]

After the election, Yar'Adua proposed a government of national unity. In late June 2007, two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), agreed to join Yar'Adua's government. [26] On 28 June 2007, Yar'Adua publicly revealed his declaration of assets from May (becoming the first Nigerian Leader to do so), according to which he had 856,452,892 (US$ 5.8 million) in assets, ₦19 million ($0.1 million) of which belonged to his wife. He also had ₦88,793,269.77 ($0.5 million) in liabilities. This disclosure, which fulfilled a pre-election promise he made, was intended to set an example for other Nigerian politicians and discourage corruption. [17]

Yar'Adua's new cabinet was sworn in on 26 July 2007. [27] [28] It included 39 ministers, including two for the ANPP. [28]

Buhari and Abubakar filed petitions to have the results of the 2007 presidential election invalidated due to alleged fraud, but on 26 February 2008 a court rejected the petitions. Buhari and Abubakar said that they would appeal to the Supreme Court. Marred by corruption, many argued that this election was rigged by Obasanjo as well, as he wanted his successor to have the same basic ideals that he possessed as President. [29]

Seven point agenda

In August 2007, the administration unveiled a seven point agenda to be the focal point of the administration's solution to developmental challenges and stated goal of elevating Nigeria to be among the twenty largest economies in the world by 2020. But by 2010, the administration was struggling to realize many of stated goals. [30] The power sector was not adequately funded, infrastructural deficit was not closed down and the troublesome process of reforming land use regulations hampered a reform of the land tenure law. [30]

The agenda

  • Critical infrastructural development in power, energy and transportation
  • Focus on development issues in the Niger Delta. The government created a new ministry for Niger Delta affairs
  • Wealth creation through diversification of the economy and source of government revenue. A movement away from a fossil fuel dependent economy to a diversified economy.
  • Human capital development
  • Review of land tenure regulations towards a reform oriented goal
  • Security
  • Food security [30]

Electoral reforms

A few months after his inauguration, the president established a presidential electoral reform committee to look into the legal factors, social and political institutions and security issues that affects the quality and credibility of elections in the country and also, to make recommendations on improving the credibility of elections. The reform committee was headed by Muhammadu Uwais, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The twenty member committee submitted its report in December 2008, by then Yar'Adua's health was failing. [31] Among the recommendations of the committee was constitutional measures to make INEC truly independent, removing some of the activities of INEC with the creation of an electoral offenses commission and a parties registration agency. It also recommended speedy resolution of legal challenges of elections, presumably before the swearing in ceremony of the victor of the seat being challenged. [31]

Illness and death

President Yar'Adua left Nigeria on 23 November 2009, and was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. He was not seen in public again, and his absence created a dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria. [32]

In December 2009 Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stated that Yar'Adua should have handed over power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in an acting capacity during his illness, a statement that was backed up by the NBA national executive committee. [33] On 22 January 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had fourteen days to decide a resolution on whether Yar'Adua was "incapable of discharging the functions of his office". The ruling also stated that the Federal Executive Council should hear testimony of five doctors, one of whom should be Yar'Adua's personal physician. [34]

On 10 February 2010, the Senate controversially used the "doctrine of necessity" to transfer Presidential Powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, and declared him Acting President, with all the accompanying powers, until Yar'Adua returned to full health. The power transfer, considered illegal by some, has been called a "coup without the word" by opposition lawyers and lawmakers. However, there are others that felt the power vacuum would lead to instability and a possible military takeover. [35]

On 24 February 2010, Yar'Adua returned to Abuja under the cover of darkness. [36] His state of health was unclear, but there was speculation that he was still on a life support machine. [37] Various political and religious figures in Nigeria had visited him during his illness saying he would make a recovery.

Yar'Adua died on 5 May at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. [38] [39] [40] An Islamic burial took place on 6 May in his hometown in Katsina. [41] [42]


The Federal Government of Nigeria declared a seven-day mourning period. [43] Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said "Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight. As individuals and as a nation we prayed for the recovery of Mr President. But we take solace in the fact that the Almighty is the giver and taker of all life." [44]

US President Barack Obama offered condolences, stating: "He was committed to creating lasting peace and prosperity within Nigeria's own borders, and continuing that work will be an important part of honoring his legacy." [40]

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, in his tribute, wrote, “What passes for the Nigerian nation is nothing more than a tragic arena, and Yar‘Adua is only the latest tragic figure. The vampires, including those within his own family, turned him into a mere inert resource for their diabolical schemes. They have a reckoning with their conscience, assuming they know what the word means. One can only hope that, while mouthing sanctimonious platitudes such as ‘Power belongs to God,’ they have now learned that the politics of Do-or-Die cannot guarantee who does and who dies. They must stop playing God. I pray for the repose of the soul of their latest, much abused innocent victim." [45]

See also

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  40. 1 2 "CNN Reports Yar'Adua's death". CNN. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  41. Clayton, Jonathan (6 May 2010). "President Yar'Adua's death may spark power struggle in oil-rich Nigeria". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  42. "Yar'Adua Buried Amidst Tears, Tributes …Jonathan Steps In As President". The Tide News.
  43. News Agency of Nigeria. Archived 6 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
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Commons-logo.svg Media related to Umaru Yar'Adua at Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote-logo.svg Quotations related to Umaru Musa Yar'Adua at Wikiquote

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Akaagerger
Governor of Katsina
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Shema
Preceded by
Olusegun Obasanjo
President of Nigeria
Succeeded by
Goodluck Jonathan
Party political offices
Preceded by
Olusegun Obasanjo
People's Democratic Party presidential nominee
Succeeded by
Goodluck Jonathan
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Blaise Compaoré
Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States
Succeeded by
Goodluck Jonathan