May 6 2010
• Jonathan to be sworn in 8 a.m.
• FG declares 7 days mourning, public holiday today
NIGERIA’S President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is dead. He had been sick of terminal diseases including kidney failure, brain damage/haemorrhage, and acute pericarditis.
Spokesman for the late president, Mr. Segun Adeniyi confirmed that Yar’Adua passed on in Abuja at about 9 p.m on Wednesday.
He will be buried today according to Islamic rites.
Goodluck Jonathan, who had been serving as acting president since February, is expected to be sworn in as substantive president this morning.
At the time of filing this report, sources said that the nation’s security team was meeting.
The late Yar’Adua was Nigeria’s 13th head of state. He served as governor of Katsina State from May 29 1999 to May 28, 2007. He was declared the winner of the controversial presidential election held on April 21, 2007, and was sworn in on May 29, 2007. He is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Yar’Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina State and his father, a former minister in the First Republic, held the royal title of Mutawalli (custodian of the treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title which Yar’Adua inherited.
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. He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, attaining a B.Sc in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to bag an M.Sc Degree in Analytical Chemistry.
Yar’Adua’s first employment was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975–1976). 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 and Science, remaining in this position until 1983, when he began working in the corporate sector.
He worked at Sambo Farms Ltd. in Funtua, Katsina State as its pioneer General Manager between 1983 and 1989. He served as a board member, Katsina State Farmers’ Supply Company between 1984 and 1985, member, 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.
Yar’Adua served as a director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd. 1995–1999; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd. 1987–1999; Hamada Holdings, 1983–1999; and Madara Ltd. Vom, Jos, 1987–1999. He was Chairman, Nation House Press Ltd., Kaduna, from 1995 to 1999.
During the Second Republic (1979–1983), 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 (NPN). During the transition programme of President Ibrahim 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. He was re-elected in 2003. He was the first governor to publicly declare his assets.
In 2000, during his administration as governor, Katsina became the fifth northern Nigerian state to adopt sharia. 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.
In 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. Yar’Adua’s success in the primaries was attributed to the support of incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo.
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. Shortly after winning the nomination, Yar’Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa State, as his vice-presidential candidate.
Another view of the support he received from President Obasanjo is that he is one of few serving governors with a spotless record, devoid of any suspicions or charges of corruption. 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 deputy during his military rule.
In 2007, Yar’Adua, who suffered from a kidney condition, challenged his critics to a game of squash in an endeavour to end speculations about his health. On March 6, 2007, he was flown to Germany for medical reasons, further fomenting rumours 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, claimed that Yar’Adua collapsed after suffering a possible heart attack.
In the presidential election held on April 21, 2007, Yar’Adua won with 70 per cent of the vote (24.6 million votes) according to official results released on April 23. The election was highly controversial. Strongly criticised by observers, as well as the two primary opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC), its results were largely rejected as having been rigged in Yar’Adua’s favour.
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. On June 28, 2007, Yar’Adua publicly revealed his declaration of assets from May (becoming the first Nigerian leader to do so). This disclosure, which fulfilled a pre-election promise he made, was intended to set an example for other Nigerian politicians and discourage corruption.
Yar’Adua’s new cabinet of 39 ministers, including two members from ANPP, was sworn in on July 26 2007.
President Yar’Adua left Nigeria on November 23, 2009, and was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. He was brought back to the country on February 24, 2010 in a shroud of mystery and was not seen in public until his death on Wednesday.
On February 9, 2010, the Senate determined that presidential power should be transmitted to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan. He will serve as Acting President, with all the accompanied powers, until Yar’Adua has returned to full health. The power transfer been called a “coup without the word” by opposition lawyers and lawmakers.
Yar’Adua got married to Turai in 1975 and they have seven children (five daughters and 2 sons). Their daughter Zainab is married to Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari. Another one, Nafisat is married to Bauchi State governor Isa Yuguda. Yar’Adua was married to Hauwa Umar Radda as a second wife from 1992 to 1997. They have two children.
Meanwhile, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has declared seven days of mourning during which the national flag would be hoisted at half mast.
He also declared today as a work free day while also cancelling all official engagements, as a mark of respect for the departed leader.
Dr. Jonathan, in his official reaction to the death of his former boss, said “Nigeria has lost a jewel on its crown and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight.”
Jonathan described the death of the president as sad, unfortunate and regretable.
“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 lives,” he said.
Jonathan’s condolence was contained in a statement signed byhis Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ima Niboro, who also offered heartfelt condolences to Yar’Ádua’s widow, Hajia Turai, the entire family and people of Katsina State.
The burial of President Yar’Adua will take place at 2 p.m in Katsina today.
Meanwhile, there was a meeting of stakeholders and government functionaries at the residence of the Acting President at Aguda House. The meeting ended at 12:30 a.m. Prominent among those who attended the meeting were T.Y. Danjuma, Aliyu Gusau, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, Ibrahim Nafada, Vincent Ogbulafor and Ike Ekweremadu.
Ministers who attended the meeting included Professor Dora Akunyili, Sanusi Daggash, John Odey and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.
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