Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Many Nigerians, including the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, have paid tribute to late President Umaru Yar’Adua, nine years after his death.
Yar’Adua was born on August 16, 1951, and died May 5, 2010.
He was the 13th leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He won the 2007 presidential election with 70 per cent of the votes (24.6 million votes), according to official results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He was sworn in on May 29, 2007.
The election was condemned by many who argued that it was rigged.
Yar’Adua in his inauguration speech also admitted the elections were fraught with irregularities.
As president, Yar’Adua inaugurated a presidential electoral reform committee to look into the legal factors, social and political institutions and security issues that affect the quality and credibility of elections in the country and to also make recommendations on improving the credibility of elections.
On June 28, 2007, Yar’Adua publicly declared his assets to become the first Nigerian president to do so.
His administration came in with seven-point agenda. The agenda includes critical infrastructural development in power, energy and transportation; focus on development issues in the Niger Delta; a movement away from a fossil fuel dependent economy to a diversified economy; human capital development; review of land tenure regulations towards a reform-oriented goal; security and food security.
Yar’Adua was taken to Saudi Arabia in November 2009 for pericarditis treatment.
On January 22, 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave the Federal Executive Council 14 days to provide an update on the capability of Yar’Adua.
By February 10, 2010, the Senate transferred presidential powers to Jonathan as acting president, pending the time Yar’Adua would be fine.
Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria on February 24, 2010, with many unaware of his health status.
He eventually died on May 5, 2010 at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
He was buried the following day at his hometown, Katsina State.
In the early hours yesterday, Jonathan, who was Yar’Adua’s vice president, took to Twitter to pay tribute to his late boss.
“On this day nine years ago, I lost a friend, colleague, brother, and boss, President Yar’Adua. He was a selfless leader who placed national interest above personal and ethnic gains.
“Today, I remember and celebrate him for the works that he had done. Peace he lived for and homes of peace he built. Democracy he loved and democracy he nurtured. We will always remember you for your service. A servant leader truly you remain.
“He used the opportunity he had in public service to build bridges of love, foster unity and give hope to Nigerians. President Yar’Adua was a man of integrity with a humble spirit who always took upon himself the burden of national reconciliation, peace-building, and democratic consolidation.”
Also, a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, in his condolence message said: “This day, nine years ago, Nigeria lost a patriot and a compassionate leader in President Umaru Yar’Adua. May Allah SWT continue to shine His Noor on his face. Amin.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki also eulogised the late Yar’Adua
“Today, I remember the selfless statesman, former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, who passed on nine years ago. His legacy of integrity as a great leader will always remain indelible in our hearts. May the mercy of Almighty Allah (SWT) continue to be upon him. Amin.
In his tribute, Senator Shehu Sanni, said: “President Umaru Musa Yar’adua died on this day nine years ago. He was an honest man, a true democrat, respecter of the rule of law and a humble visionary. May Allah forgive his soul and grant him Aljanna Firdausi.Amin.”