Umaru Musa Yar'Adua

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Umaru Musa Yar'Adua
YarAdua WEF 2008.jpg
Yar'Adua at the World Economic Forum in 2008
13th President of Nigeria
In office
29 May 2007 – 5 May 2010
Vice PresidentGoodluck Jonathan
Preceded byOlusegun Obasanjo
Succeeded byGoodluck Jonathan
Governor of Katsina
In office
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
DeputyTukur Ahmed Jikamshi
Abdullahi Garba Aminchi
Preceded byJoseph Akaagerger
Succeeded byIbrahim Shema
Personal details
Born(1951-08-16)16 August 1951
Katsina, Northern Region, British Nigeria
(now in Katsina State, Nigeria)
Died5 May 2010(2010-05-05) (aged 58)
Aso Villa, Abuja, Nigeria
Political partyPeoples Democratic Party
Other political
(m. 1975)
Hauwa Radda
(m. 1992⁠–⁠1997)
RelationsShehu Musa Yar'Adua (brother)
Children9, including Zainab
Alma mater

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua GCFR ((listen); 16 August 1951[1] – 5 May 2010) was a Nigerian politician who served as the president of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. He was declared the winner of the Nigerian presidential election held on 21 April 2007, and was sworn in on 29 May 2007.

He previously served as the governor of Katsina State from 1999 to 2007;[2] and was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In 2009, Yar'Adua left for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for pericarditis. He returned to Nigeria on 24 February 2010, but died on 5 May.[3][4]

Early life[edit]


Yar'adua was born in Katsina state, Nigeria.[5] His father, Musa Yar'Adua, was a Minister for Lagos in the First Republic and held the chieftaincy title of Matawalle (custodian of the royal treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title which Yar'Adua inherited. His paternal grandfather, Malam Umaru, had also held the title of Matawallen Katsina, while his paternal grandmother, Binta, a Fulani from the Sullubawa clan, was a princess of the Katsina Emirate and a sister of Emir Muhammadu Dikko.[6][7]

Yar'Adua married Turai Yar'Adua of Katsina state in 1975;[8] they had seven children (five daughters and two sons) and several grandchildren.[9] Their daughter, Zainab, is married to the former Kebbi state governor, Usman Dakingari.[10]

Another daughter, Nafisa is married to Isa Yuguda, a former governor of Bauchi state. Her sister Maryam is married to Ibrahim Shema, Yar'Adua's successor as Katsina state governor.[11][12] Yar'Adua was also married to Hauwa Umar Radda from 1992 to 1997, and they had two children.[13]


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 received a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College.[14] He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to pursue a master's degree in Analytical Chemistry.[14]


Yar'Adua's first employment was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975–76). 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.[15]

Yar'Adua worked at Sambo Farms Ltd. in Funtua, Katsina state, as its pioneer General Manager, between 1983 and 1989. He served as a board member of Katsina State Farmers' Supply Company between 1984 and 1985, Member of the 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 between 1994 and 1996.[citation needed]

He also served as a director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd, 1995–99; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd., 1987–99, Hamada Holdings, 1983–99; and Madara Ltd., Vom, Jos, 1987–99. He was Chairman of Nation House Press Ltd., Kaduna, from 1995 to 1999.[16]

Party politics[edit]

During the Second Republic (1979–83), 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 Babangida to the Third Republic, Yar'Adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples Front of Nigeria with other members such as Atiku Abubakar, Baba Gana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Wada Abubakar, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Abubakar Koko and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a political association under the leadership of his elder brother, the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua. That association later formed 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 Nigerian Social Democratic Party's (SDP) State Secretary in Katsina. He contested for the governorship position in the 1991 election, but lost to Saidu Barda, the candidate of the National Republican Convention and an ally of Ibrahim Babangida.[citation needed]

Governor of Katsina[edit]

In 1999, Yar'Adua won the Katsina state governorship election.[6] He was the first governor to publicly declare his assets.[17] Yar'Adua's administration saw various developments in the state. Katsina became the fifth northern Nigerian state to adopt sharia, or Islamic law.[18] Education was prioritised and several schools were built in local areas. Yar'Adua also delivered on his promise of running an efficient public administration, with corruption significantly hampered. In 2003, he was re-elected for a second term in office and his successor was Ibrahim Shema.[citation needed]

2007 presidential election[edit]

Between 16–17 December 2006, Yar'Adua was chosen as the presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party for the April 2007 election, receiving 3,024 votes from party delegates; his closest rival, Rochas Okorocha, received 372 votes.[19] Yar'Adua's success in the primary election was attributed to the support of incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo;[19][20] At the time of his nomination, he was an obscure figure on the national stage, and has been described as a "puppet" of Obasanjo, who could not have won the nomination under fair circumstances.[20] Shortly after his nomination, Yar'Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa state, as his vice-presidential candidate.[19][20] Another view regarding the support he received from President Olusegun Obasanjo is that, he was one of few serving governors with a spotless record, devoid of any suspicions or charges of corruption.[20] 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.[citation needed]

In the presidential election held on 21 April 2007, Yar'Adua won 70% of the votes (24.6 million votes) according to official results released on 23 April. The election was highly controversial. Strongly criticized by observers, as well as the two primary opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC), the result was largely rejected as having been rigged in Yar'Adua's favour.[21]


At the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2007 (Yar'Adua at the very right)

After the election, Yar'Adua proposed a government of national unity. In late June 2007, two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), agreed to join Yar'Adua's government.[22]


Yar'Adua's new cabinet was sworn in on 26 July 2007.[23][24] It included 39 ministers, including two for the ANPP.[24]

National agenda[edit]

Yar'Adua and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in October 2007

In August 2007, the administration unveiled a seven-point agenda to be the focal point of the administration's solution to developmental challenges and stated goal of elevating Nigeria to be among the twenty largest economies in the world by 2020:[25]

  • Infrastructure, power and energy
  • Food security
  • Wealth creation
  • Transport
  • Land reforms
  • Security
  • Education

Due to his illness and death, the administration was unable to realise the agenda.[26] The power sector was not adequately funded, infrastructural deficit was not closed down and the troublesome process of reforming land use regulations hampered a reform of the land tenure law.[26]

Electoral reforms[edit]

Yar'Adua established a presidential electoral reform committee to look into the legal factors, social and political institutions and security issues that affects the quality and credibility of elections in the country and also, to make recommendations on improving the credibility of elections. The reform committee was headed by Mohammed Uwais, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Among the recommendations of the committee was constitutional measures to make the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) truly independent, removing some of the activities of INEC with the creation of an electoral commission and a parties registration agency. It also recommended speedy resolution of legal challenges of elections, presumably before the swearing in ceremony of the victor of the seat being challenged.[27]

Foreign Policy[edit]

Condoleezza Rice and Yar'Adua in September 2007

During his tenure as president, Yar'Adua had tried to improve foreign relations with other countries to also help with social justice and national security. While talking with President George W. Bush, he had explained that he would help fight corruption within Nigeria and help grow the economy. Though, this turned out not to be so and instead he weakened foreign relations with other countries. For instance, as more Nigerians engaged in trips abroad and consequently increased interactions with citizens of other states, issues of maltreatment of Nigerians abroad equally escalated in equal proportion. Thus, the period between 2007 and 2010 seemed characterised of an era when globalization heavily impacted Nigeria's foreign relations rather negatively. What appears to give credence to this is the fact that many Nigerians, in an attempt to utilize opportunities offered by globalization, became victims of the integration process. During the administration, incidences against Nigerians in the course of the country's foreign relations with other states were at a high level. It was the same across Africa, into Europe, and Asia. For instance, in May 2008, South Africans unleashed xenophobic attacks on immigrants and many Nigerians suffered grievous loss and distress in the process. As Omenma (2015) puts it, prior to the xenophobic attack, there were a series of systematic and hostile campaigns of calumny against Nigeria and Nigerians including the burgling of the Nigerian embassy in that country, the height of the attack by South Africans.[citation needed]

National Security[edit]

Violence in the Niger Delta[edit]

Under Yar'Adua, Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta became increasingly militarized and insecure. Scores of civilians were murdered by armed gangs and security forces in 2007, and the violence further impeded the impoverished region's development. Much of the insecurity that plagued the Delta was directly related to failures of governance at all levels. Despite massive budget increases due to rising oil prices, federal, state, and local governments made no effective effort to address the grinding poverty and environmental degradation that lay at the heart of political discontent in the region. Instead, many regional political figures were directly implicated in sponsoring and arming militia groups that carried out violent abuses. He later brought peace into the Niger Delta.[citation needed]

2009 Boko Haram Uprising[edit]

In early 2009, Boko Haram launched a military campaign for Islamic rule in Nigeria. According to initial media reports, the violence began on 26 July 2009 when Boko Haram launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi State. Clashes between the militants and the Nigeria Police Force erupted in Kano, Yobe and Borno. Which led Yar'Adua to order an investigation into the killing of the leader of the radical Islamist sect, which was responsible for violence that left more than 700 people dead. Many are devastated and the war is still going on today.[citation needed]


Yar'Adua left Nigeria on 23 November 2009, and was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. He was not seen in public again, and his absence created a power vacuum which was usurped by a cabal.[28] On 22 January 2010, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had fourteen days to decide a resolution on whether Yar'Adua was "incapable of discharging the functions of his office". The ruling also stated that the Federal Executive Council should hear testimony of five doctors, one of whom should be Yar'Adua's personal physician.[29]

Doctrine of necessity[edit]

On 9 February 2010, the Senate controversially used the "doctrine of necessity" to transfer Presidential Powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, and declared him Acting President, with all the accompanying powers, until Yar'Adua returned to full health. The power transfer, considered illegal by some, was described as a "coup without the word" by opposition lawyers and lawmakers. However, there were others who felt the power vacuum would lead to instability and a possible military takeover.[30]

Personal life[edit]


In 2007, Yar'Adua, who suffered from a kidney condition, challenged his critics to a game of squash in an endeavor to end speculations about his health.[31] On 6 March 2007 he was flown to Germany for medical reasons, further fomenting rumors about his health. His spokesperson said this was due to stress and quoted Yar'Adua as saying he was fine and would soon be back to campaigning. Another report, which was rejected by Yar'Adua's spokesperson, claims that Yar'Adua collapsed after suffering a possible heart attack.[32]


On 28 June 2007, Yar'Adua publicly revealed his declaration of assets from May (becoming the first Nigerian president to do so), according to which he had 856,452,892 (US$5.8 million) in assets, ₦19 million ($0.1 million) of which belonged to his wife. He also had ₦88,793,269.77 ($0.5 million) in liabilities. This disclosure, which fulfilled a pre-election promise he made, was intended to set an example for other Nigerian politicians and discourage corruption.[17]

Death and aftermath[edit]

On 24 February 2010, Yar'Adua returned to Abuja under the cover of darkness.[33] His state of health was unclear, but there was speculation that he was still on a life support machine.[34] Various political and religious figures in Nigeria had visited him during his illness saying he would make a recovery. Yar'Adua died on 5 May at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.[35][36][37] An Islamic burial took place on 6 May in his hometown in Katsina.[38][39]

The Federal Government of Nigeria declared a seven-day mourning period.[40] Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said "Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight. As individuals and as a nation we prayed for the recovery of Mr President. But we take solace in the fact that the Almighty is the giver and taker of all life."[41]

US President Barack Obama offered condolences, stating: "He was committed to creating lasting peace and prosperity within Nigeria's own borders, and continuing that work will be an important part of honoring his legacy."[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adetayo, Olalekan; Ebhuomhan, Sebastine (15 July 2008). "Confusion reigns over Yar'Adua's birthday". The Punch (Lagos). Punch Nigeria Limited. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Yar'Ádua rendered sincere service to Nigeria - Buhari". 5 May 2020. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Umaru Musa Yar'Adua | president of Nigeria | Britannica". Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  4. ^ Reuters. "Nigerian president Umaru Yar'Adua dies after months of illness". Telegraph UK. Retrieved 28 January 2019. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Abatan, Tunde; et al. (21 April 2007). "Presidency: A Fulani contest". Daily Independent (Lagos), via Independent Newspapers Limited, Lagos. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b Daily Trust, Yar'Adua Interview, 3 March 2007
  7. ^ "Celebration Galore as Yaradua is Installed Mutawallen Katsina". This Day (Lagos). 4 July 2002. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  8. ^ Gabriel, Chioma (15 January 2010). "Turai Yar'Adua – a Silent But Influential First Lady". Vanguard Media. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Hajiya Turai: What Manner of First Lady?". Leadership (newspaper) (Abuja), Sunday, 3 June 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2007.
  10. ^ "Yar'Adua's Daughter's Wedding Won't Affect Guber Case". This Day (Lagos), Monday, 16 July 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
  11. ^ Danjuma, Michael (25 January 2009). "Yar'Adua concludes daughter's marriage to Bauchi Gov". This Day (Lagos), via African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  12. ^ Michael, Ishola (30 January 2009). "Drums, drinks in Bauchi, Abuja As governor carts home president's daughter". Nigerian Tribune (Ibadan). Independent Newspapers Limited. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  13. ^ "The president is a committed father—Ex–wife". Sunday Trust (Abuja). 22 September 2007. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2007.
  14. ^ a b "Biodata". Yar' adua. 2007. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2007.
  15. ^ Childs, Martins (6 June 2010). "Umaru Yar'Adua: Nigerian President who struggled to tackle the country's social and political problems". Independent UK. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  17. ^ a b Josephine Lohor (29 June 2007). "Nigeria: Yar'Adua – I'm Worth N850m". This Day. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007 – via
  18. ^ "Nigeria's Katsina state adopts Sharia". BBC News. 1 August 2000. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  19. ^ a b c Tom Ashby (17 December 2006). "Reclusive Yar'Adua wins ruling party ticket". Reuters. Retrieved 18 December 2006.
  20. ^ a b c d Steve Bloomfield (17 December 2006). "Obasanjo picks 'puppet' successor in elections". The Independent (UK). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007.
  21. ^ "Huge win for Nigeria's Yar'Adua". BBC News. 23 April 2007.
  22. ^ "Nigerian opposition parties agree to join government". People's Daily Online. Xinhua News Agency. 29 June 2007.
  23. ^ "Nigerian president names three to Cabinet energy posts, warns against graft". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2007.
  24. ^ a b "Nigerian President swears in 39 ministers". African Press Agency. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Yar'Adua's Seven Point + Two Special Interest issues Agenda for Nigeria" (PDF). Central Bank of Nigeria.
  26. ^ a b Robert, Dr & Dode, Oghenedoro. (2019). Yar'adua 7-Point Agenda, the Mdgs and Sustainable Development in Nigeria.
  27. ^ Agbese, Dan (9 March 2018). "The Uwais report and the high cost of indifference (1)". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  28. ^ McConnell, Tristan (7 January 2010). "Prove you are alive: clamour for missing Nigerian leader to show his face". The Times. London.
  29. ^ "Nigeria cabinet told to rule on sick President Yar'Adua". BBC News. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  30. ^ "Nigeria's VP takes over from ailing president". Agence France-Presse. 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  31. ^ "Candidate wants to squash health rumors". Reuters. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  32. ^ Tom Ashby? (8 March 2007). "Is Lagos candidate too ill to rule". IOL. Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2007.
  33. ^ "Yar'adua Returns To Abuja Under the Cover of Darkness". Sahara Reporters. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Where is Yar'Adua? Nigerians ask". Radio France Internationale. 25 February 2010.
  35. ^ "President Yar'Adua is dead". News Agency of Nigeria. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "Nigerian President Yar'Adua dies, reports say". BBC News. 5 May 2010.
  37. ^ a b "CNN Reports Yar'Adua's death". CNN. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  38. ^ Clayton, Jonathan (6 May 2010). "President Yar'Adua's death may spark power struggle in oil-rich Nigeria". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  39. ^ "Yar'Adua Buried Amidst Tears, Tributes …Jonathan Steps In As President". The Tide News.
  40. ^ News Agency of Nigeria. Archived 6 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ "Nigeria's president Yar'Adua dies". Al Jazeera. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Umaru Yar'Adua at Wikimedia Commons Quotations related to Umaru Musa Yar'Adua at Wikiquote

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Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Katsina
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Nigeria
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by People's Democratic Party presidential nominee
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States
Succeeded by