On this day, 10 years ago, 5th of May 2010, Nigeria lost her 13th President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
He once said: dead or alive, Nigeria will become one of the greatest on earth.
Here are ten (10) things you should know about him:
- He was born on 16th August 1951 into a titled Fulani family in Katsina; his father, Musa Yar’Adua, was a Minister for Lagos in the First Republic
- Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was the first Governor to declare his assets in 1999 and remains the only Nigerian Head-of-State to publicly declare his assets on his own free will.⠀
He had ₦856,452,892 in assets, ₦19 million of which belonged to his wife. He also had ₦88,793,269.77 in liabilities.
- He went to Saudi Arabia in 2009 to receive treatment and returned on 24th February 2010 but he died on 5th May 2010 at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
- Umaru Yar’Adua married Turai Umaru Yar’Adua of Katsina in 1975 with seven childrenand (five daughters and two sons) and was married to Hauwa Umar Radda from 1992 to 1997; they had two children.
- Three of his daughters are married to former Governors – Zainab is married to Kebbi State governor Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari; Nafisa is married to the former Isa Yuguda the former Governor of Bauchi State; Maryam is married to Ibrahim Shema the former Governor of Katsina State.
- 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.
- During the transition programme of General Ibrahim Babangida to the Third Republic, Yar’Adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples Front of Nigeria with other members such as Atiku Abubakar, Baba Gana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Wada Abubakar, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
- He defeated his closest rival, Rochas Okorocha on 16 – 17 December 2006 as the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP for the April 2007 election, receiving 3,024 votes from party delegates; Okorocha received 372 votes.
- He won the 21st April 2007 Presidential Election, with 70% of the vote (24.6 million votes) against Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar
- Yar’Adua proposed a government of National Unity when he assumed office hence two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), agreed to join his government. His new cabinet was sworn in on 26 July 2007. It included 39 ministers, including two for the ANPP.
His tenure also had the following positives:
- Increased Minimum wage
- Increased Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police Force salary
- Increased NYSC allowance
- Reduce petroleum price
- Gave amnesty to the Militants
Former President Goodluck Jonathan eulogised him thus:
“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.”