All human beings will live until a certain day and then die; God in the Holy Quran gives an account of the attitude commonly shown towards death in the following verse: Say: “The death from which you flee away will truly overtake you: then you will be sent back to the Knower of things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!” (Suratul Al-Jumu’ah:8).
It is exactly 10 years since the demise of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’adua, who died after a protracted illness on 5th May 2009. He became the first civilian president to replace another since independence in 1960.
Another unique feature about President Yar’adua was that he was the first President with a university degree – a degree in chemistry, masters in analytical chemistry and proud teacher of reputable standing. He comes into office after a hotly contested election marred by fraud and violence.
He took office as president promising to pursue electoral reforms and listing the seven-point agenda including improving power supply, boosting agriculture, reducing food insecurity, fighting corruption, and raising education standards.
Yar’adua also proposed government of national unity where two opposition parties: the ANPP and the PPA agreed to join his government.
The late President’s frugality and incorruptibility are well known. Here is a man who won the election with 70% of votes cast in a fraudulently poll but promptly declared it flawed. He is the first Nigerian President both military and civilian to publically declare his assets on assumption of office unlike some who preached transparency and accountability but later proved to be cesspools of sleaze. The declaration showed that he had N856,452,892 in assets, N19 million belonging to his wife, and N88,793,269 in liabilities.
He also canceled the sale of Kaduna Refinery to a company largely owned by business moguls Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola as well as inaugurated Justice Muhammad Uwais –led electoral reform committee to purify the electoral system according to global standards.
Yar’adua, no doubt, performed creditably both as Governor of Katsina and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was a servant leader with a legacy of a seven-point agenda as well as an apostle of rule of law and due process.
Even though he could not achieve all the 7-point Agenda, all that could pass for his legacy is the creation of the Niger-Delta Ministry and the amnesty he offered militants in the restive Niger Delta, which restored peace and stability in the oil-rich area almost miraculously.
Late President Umaru’s dispositions exude discipline, absolute humility and simplicity not readily associated by Nigerian politicians.
Under his presidency, extensive banking reforms were introduced under Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In these reforms, the rot in the industry becomes apparent. Powerful and influential names in the banking industry found to have abused customer confidence and mismanage depositors’ funds were fired and prosecuted for their role in various alleged scams of the industry.
To the credit of President Yar’adua was the bold step in approving a long-standing government plan to dredge the River Niger. The project with huge economic potentials for the country, the plan had been on drawing boards of successive administrations since independence, but no concrete decision was taken to advance it until Yar’adua make the courageous move.
President Yar’adua’s profound decency and integrity, his deep commitment to public service, and his passionate belief in the vast potential and bright future of Nigeria’s people are amazing. He worked to promote peace and stability in Africa through his support of Nigerian peacekeeping mission efforts as well as his strong criticism of undemocratic actions in the African region.
Yar’adua’s greatest strength lies in his love for peace in Nigeria and Africa. As President, he chose dialogue, peace and worked to resolve the lingering crisis in the Niger-Delta region, the same way he chose a peaceful method in resolving other political crises that have erupted in parts of the West African sub-region.
During his tenure as Chairman of Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS between 2009 and 2010, he was very active in spearheading regional efforts towards ensuring that the goals of regional integration, in particular, peace and security, were achieved.
His 30 months tenure was marked by a sense of national rebirth and development as a committed patriot and true servant of the people who believed strongly in peace and equity as a key panacea for national development. His commitment to vision 20:2020 was aimed at giving Nigeria and Nigerians a new lease of life.
As you mark a decade in the great beyond, may Allah forgive all your shortcomings and reward your good deeds with Jannatul –Fir-Daus. Amin.
Danyaro wrote in from Abuja and can be reached on ahmaddanyaro email@example.com
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily