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Date: 2010-08-31 08:10:31

Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, born August 16, 1951, became the second President of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic after serving as two-term Governor of Katsina State from May 29, 1999 to May 28, 2007. He was declared the winner of the Presidential election held on April 21, 2007 and was sworn in on May 29, 2007, on the ticket of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Yar’Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina. His father, a former Minister of Lagos during the first Republic, held the royal title of Mutwalli (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 and obtained a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College in 1971. He thereafter attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, and bagged a B.Sc in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to obtain an M.Sc Degree in Analytical Chemistry.

Yar’Adua’s first call to service was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975-1976) as a Youth Corps Member.He later served as a lecturer at the College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria, Kaduna State, between 1976 and 1979.
He worked at Sambo Farms Limited in Funtua, Katsina State as its pioneer General Manager (1983-1989). He served as a Board Member, Katsina State Farmers’ Supply Company (1984-1985). He also doubled as Member, Governing Council of Katsina College of Arts, Science & Technology Zaria and Katsina Polytechnic (1978-1983), Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company (KIPDECO) (1994-1996). Yar’Adua served as a Director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Limited (1995-1999), Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd. (1987-1999), Hamada Holdings (1983-1999). He was also Chairman, Nation House Press Limited, Kaduna, (1995¬-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. During the Transition Programme of General 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 was the SDP State Secretary in Katsina. He 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 and was the first Governor to declare his assets.

On 17th December 2006, Yar’Adua was nominated as the Presidential candidate of the ruling PDP for the April 2007 election, polling 3,024 votes from party delegates; his closest rival, Rochas Okorocha, polled 372 votes. Shortly after winning the nomination, Yar’Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, the then Governor of Bayelsa State, as his vice-presidential candidate.

His success in the primary could be attributed to the fact that he was one of the 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 Vice President during his military rule.

Yar’Adua who had a medical history of 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. He later returned to continue in the Presidential campaign.

In the presidential election, held on April 21, 2007, Yar’Adua won with 24.6 million votes, translating to 70 percent of the vote.He was sworn in as President on  May 29, 2007. After his inauguration, Yar’Adua proposed a government of national unity. In late June, 2007, two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), agreed to join Yar’Adua’s government. On June 28, 2007, Yar’Adua publicly declared his assets, becoming the first Nigerian leader to do so. By this feat, he had fulfilled a pre-election promise he made, intended to set example for other Nigerian politicians and discourage corruption.

In June and July 2007, several Governors who served during his tenure were charged for corrupt practices by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-corruption agency. Many decisions of the former regime, such as the hike in price of petroleum products and VAT were overturned by the Yar’Adua administration.

Yar’Adua’s maiden cabinet, which was sworn in on July 26, 2007 comprised 39 ministers, including two or the ANPP. However, two of the Presidential candidates, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar filed petitions to have the results of the 2007 presidential election invalidated, but on February 26, 2008 the Presidential Election Tribunal rejected the petitions, and confirmed Yar’Adua as President.

President  Yar’Adua late was married to Turai Umaru Yar’Adua in 1975 and they have seven children comprising five daughters and two sons. Their daughter Zainab is married to Kebbi State Governor, Usman Saidu Nasamu Dakingari, while Nafisat is married to Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda. Yar’Adua was also married to Hauwa Umar Radda as a second wife from 1992 to 1997 and they have two children.  
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