Umaru Musa Yar’adua

Umaru Musa Yar’adua was a former president of Nigeria (2007-2010). His tenure was the first time in Nigeria’s history that a civilian president would hand over power to another civilian and democratically elected president. He succeeded Olusegun Obasanjo and preceded Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

Umaru Yar’adua’s Early life

Umaru Musa yar’adua was born on August 16, 1951, in Katsina state. Umaru’s birthplace was popularly known as an important Centre of learning. He was born into an elite Fulani family well known for their involvement in traditional and modern politics. 

Yar’adua’s father, Musa Yar’adua, is a politician and a traditional ruler. He was a minister for Lagos in the first republic and the Matawalle(custodian of the royal treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title he passed down to Umaru Yar’adua.

Umaru Yar’adua’s Education and pre-political Career

In 1958, Yar’adua attended Rafukka Primary School and later went to Dutsinma Boarding Primary School in 1962, and In 1971, he attended Barewa College for his higher school certificate.

In 1975, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and education from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. That same year, Yar’adua got his first job at Holy Child College in Lagos.

In 1976, he lectured at the College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State. In 1978, he returned for a master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry. He continued as a lecturer until 1983, when he left the educational sector to a corporate sector.

From 1983 to 1989, he served as the first General Manager of Sambo Farms Ltd in Funtua, Katsina State. In 1984 he worked as a Board Member of Katsina State Farmers’ Supply Company. In 1994, he became the Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development.

Yar’adua also worked as a director of several companies. Some of them are Hamada Holdings(1983), Lodigiani Nigeria Holding(1987), Madara Ltd, Vom Jos (1897), Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd(1995). And between 1995 and 1999, he served as the Chairman of Nation House Press Ltd, Kaduna.

Umaru Yar’adua Political Career.

Yar’adua’s political career started as a mobilizer for the People’s Redemption Party (PRP). And in 1989, he joined the People’s Front as a founding member. People’s Front is a political association led by his elder brother Shehu Musa Yar’adua, and the association later became the core of the Social Democratic Party.

Yar’adua started focusing on state politics in 1991 when he contested for governor of Katsina State but lost the election.

In 1999, Yar’adua contributed to creating the K34 political party, which eventually merged with the people’s democratic party PDP.

He contested again for governor of katsina state, and this time, he won the election and the reelection in 2003.

As the state governor, he was known to be financially prudent. He paid back the massive debt accumulated by the previous government and amassed $50 million extra into the treasury.

In 2006, president Olusegun Obasanjo chose Yar’adua as the PDP candidate for the 2007 presidential elections, a choice that surprised Nigerians.

Yar’adua won the elections with 70% of the nation’s vote, even though he ran against prominent Politicians and Nigerian military leaders.

However, the election was defaced with pervasive violence with reports of vote-rigging and received immense criticism by observers, both home and abroad.

Irrespective of the agitations, he was sworn in as the 13th president of Nigeria on May 29, 2007, in Abuja. 

The inauguration ceremony was a special one in the history of Nigeria, as it marked the first time that a democratically elected civilian president will hand over power to another civilian president.

Umaru Yar’adua’s Presidency

Yar’adua was confronted with a massive assignment of maintaining the projects and developmental programs already started by Olusegun Obasanjo. He was faced with the challenge of restoring peace and harmony in the Niger Delta and continuing the fight against the deep-rooted corruption in the country.

During his tenure, there were rumours about his health, as he frequently travels outside the country due to medical reasons. And these visits were before and during his term as president. The people began to question his ability to serve as president while struggling with health issues after he travelled to Saudi Arabia to treat heart and kidney problems. This was in November 2009.

When Yar’adua was absent from Nigeria for some weeks, the government got complaints about the vacuum left by the president, and they suggested that he should hand over power to vice president, Goodluck Jonathan.

There was a court ruling on January 29, 2010, concerning this issue, and it was stated that the president was not obligated to transfer power to the vice president while he was abroad taking care of his health. And this increased the controversies by the critics.

This led the National assembly to decide on the next course of action, having Jonathan as the acting president of Nigeria. On February 9, 2010, There was a vote in the national assembly, it was agreed that the vice president should assume full control over the country until the president was healthy enough to perform his duties.

However, Yar’adua never recovered from his illness and died on May 5 2010, after which Nigeria mourned him for seven days.

Umaru Yar’adua Personal Life

In 1975, Umaru Yar’adua got married to Turai Umaru Yar’adua, and they are blessed with seven children(five daughters and two sons).

Three of his daughters are married to former state governors.

Zainab is the wife of former governor of Kebbi state-Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari, Nafisa is the wife of the former governor of Bauchi state-Isa Yuguda, and Maryam is the wife of the former governor of Katsina state-Ibrahim Shema.

Between 1992 and 1997, Yar’adua was married to Hauwa Umar Radda and they had two children together.

Umaru Yar’adua Net Worth

Yar’adua was the first Nigerian president to declare his assets publicly. On June 28, 2007, he revealed that he had $5.8 million in assets, $0.1 million which belonged to his wife, $0.5 million in liabilities.

Leave a Reply