May 5, 2010.
News just in. President Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria has died aged 58. His office just confirmed his death. He died around 9pm Nigerian time at the presidential villa in the capital Abuja. Yar’Adua has not been seen in public since November of last year when he was hospitalised and went abroad to Saudi Arabia to receive medical treatment.
May he Rest in Peace and condolences to the Yar’Adua family.
As a Muslim, Yar’Adua will be buried in his hometown tomorrow (May 6) in accordance with Islamic rites. The customary 7 days of national mourning have been declared. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan who has been acting as President in Yar’Adua’s absence, will be sworn in as Nigeria’s substantive President. Jonathan will also have to select a new Vice-President.
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was born in Katsina in the north west of Nigeria on August 15, 1951. His father Mallam MusaYar’Adua was a minister in Nigeria’s first post independence government where he served as the Minister of Lagos. Umaru’s older brother Shehu was an army officer and was the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (de facto Vice-President of Nigeria) between 1976-1979 during the military government then headed by General Olusegun Obasanjo.
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. In 1971 he graduated from the illustrious Barewa College (which has produced four Nigerian Heads of State). He then obtained a BSc degree in Education and Chemistry from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria where he studied between 1972 and 1975. He received his MSc Degree in Analytical Chemistry from the same university in 1978.
Professional Life and Politics
He went into academia and became a lecturer, before moving into the corporate sector and holding a number of board positions. During the second republic era of President Shagari, Yar’Adua was a member of the radical left wing Peoples Redemption Party led by the veteran Aminu Kano. Yar’Adua was a member of the PRP even though his father was a senior member of the ruling National Party of Nigeria. During the aborted transition to civil rule of General Babangida, Yar’Adua joined the left wing Social Democratic Party, in which his older brother Shehu was also a member.
He became Governor of Katsina State in 1999 and the state became the fifth Nigerian state to adopt Islamic Sharia law. After serving two terms as Katsina State Governor, he was elected President of Nigeria in 2007. He was flown abroad to Saudi Arabia in November 2009 and was not seen in public again. He returned to Nigeria in controversial circumstances in February 2010, but was too ill to resume his official duties. He stayed out of the public view and was not seen by senior political figures until he died on May 5, 2010 at the presidential villain Abuja. He became the second Nigerian Head of State to die inside the presidential villa (following General Sani Abacha in June 1998). He is he first democratically elected Nigerian President to die of natural causes while still in office.
He is survived by his wife Turai and their seven children (five daughters and two sons). He also has two sons with his former wife Hauwa Umar Radda (to whom he was married between 1992 and 1997)