7 Years After: Family Remembers Late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua

As the nation remembers the death of Umaru Musa Yar'adua, who was Nigeria's president between May 29, 2007 and May 5, 2010, on his seventh year anniversary, the ex-president's family has organised a gathering in his honour. 
Late President Umar Yar'Adua
 
Today marks exactly seven years since the death of Umaru Yar’adua, who was Nigeria’s president between May 29, 2007 and May 5, 2010.
 
Yar’adua died at the Presidential Villa in Abuja after protracted illness. His demise changed the political landscape of the country at the time due to the fact that it was plagued by intrigues, uncertainty, dilemma and constitutional crisis.
 
Family sources spoken to yesterday, said this year’s remembrance of the ex-president will be low-keyed but significant in the fact it comes on a Friday.
 
One of the sources said various mosques have been contacted in Katsina, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and many other states for special prayers to be offered for the repose of the soul of the former president.
 
“For some obvious reasons, there won’t be other events to remember the strong pillar of the family but as we’ve been doing all these years, not only during the anniversary, we’ve made contacts for special prayers for him,” the source said. 
 
Our correspondent recalls that last year, besides the elaborate prayers in Nigeria, the immediate family of Yar’adua gathered in London where they held a special remembrance for him.
 
They were led by his widow, Hajiya Turai and his former wife, Hajiya Hauwa as well as children and grandchildren.
 
DailyTrust reported yesterday that most of the family members, including others living in other places, have converged on Abuja.
 
A source at Yar’adua main family house in Katsina said the mother of the late president has been sick for some time, and is being treated in Abuja.

“That’s why this house is nearly empty now because all those that matter have gone to Abuja to monitor her recuperation; she is really old and frail and I think her state of health must have contributed to the low key anniversary of the late president,” the source said. 
 
Yar’adua’s stint as president
 
The late Yar’adua became PDP’s flag-bearer after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who presided over as president for eight years, failed to get a third term in office.
 
Several governors and others close to the corridors of power worked tirelessly to take over from Obasanjo, but the ex-president settled for Yar’adua, who was said to be suffering from a concealed ailment.
 
Former governors such as  Ahmed Makarfi  (Kaduna), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi), Peter Odili (Rivers), Donald Duke (Cross River), all made effort to court the love of Obasanjo to no avail.
 
The whole story changed when Yar’adua took ill seriously during campaigns, prompting the PDP led government to take him to Germany for treatment. 
 
And when it was rumoured that he died while receiving treatment, President Obasanjo made a dramatic phone call through to  “Yar’adua the candidate” during a campaign rally.
 
"Umaru, are you dead?" Obasanjo reportedly asked. “No, I’m alive your Excellency,” Yar’adua responded.
 
A new chapter was equally opened soon after Yar’adua won the 2007 elections as his health continued to deteriorate.
 
His life in office brought to the fore, some of the controversial political wordlists that later formed part of Nigerian political dictionary. 
 
The word ‘cabal’ entered Nigeria’s political lexicon. To them, Yar’adua’s health was held in secrecy by the likes of his wife Turai and ex-Minister Abba Sayyadi Ruma.
 
Also, the ‘doctrine of necessity, which was brought to the limelight by former Senate president David Mark, has been borrowed by many democracies.
 
It was based on it that erstwhile Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was propelled to the position of Acting President before he was later sworn  after the demise of Yar’adua.
 
Unarguably, Yar’adua had made his landmark in the annals of Nigerian history before his death.
 
Yar’adua it was, who actualized an enduring Amnesty Programme in the restive Niger Delta that brought respite to endless vandalism that nearly crippled Nigeria’s major source of income.
 
He also initiated various 10 lane express road projects that give credibility to Abuja as a model capital, the Abuja metro lane; the Abuja-Kaduna rai line, the Lagos-Kano rail line
 
Yar’adua also sanitized the banking sector when he appointed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir Muhammadu Sanusi 11 as Central Bank Governor;  reversed some and fine tune some of the decisions taken by his predecessor and jailed some corrupt politicians.
 
His successes as a president were reflective of his landmark achievements when he served as governor of Katsina State from 1999-2007.
 
Late Umaru was born on August 16, 1951 and died at the age of 59. Yar’adua became the first Nigerian graduate to become president.
 
He had seven children from his first wife, Hajiya Turai, and two from another wife, Hauwa, whom he had divorced long before he became president.
 
 

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