My Mentor/Role Model Umar Musa Yar’adua (RIP)
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (born 16 August 1951), also known as Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, is the 2nd President of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic . He served as 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 is a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Yar’Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina; his father, a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic, held the royal title of Mutawalli (custodian of the treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title which Yar’Adua has 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 and received a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College in 1971. He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, attaining a BSc in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to achieve 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 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.
Early political career
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. 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. 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, or Islamic law 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.
President Yar’Adua left Nigeria on 23 November 2009, and is reported be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. He has not been seen in public since and his absence has created a dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria. There has been speculation that Yar’Adua has suffered serious brain damage and can no longer recognise his wife and personal aides, and that his true condition is being covered up by the first lady. The Government of Nigeria was left leaderless at the crucial period following the alleged attempted bombing of a US airline by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23 year old Nigerian man. This left many calling for the swearing into office of the Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan.
On January 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the Federal Ministries of Nigeria had 14 days to decide on a resolution about whether he “is incapable of discharging the functions of his office”. The ruling also stated that the Federal Ministries should hear testimony of five doctors, one of whom should be Yar’Adua’s personal physician.
Marriage and family
Yar’Adua has been married to Turai Umaru Yar’Adua since 1975; they have seven children (5 daughters and 2 sons). Their daughter Zainab is married to Kebbi State governor Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari. Their daughter 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.