13th President of Nigeria
Assumed office May 29, 2007
Preceded by Olusegun Obasanjo
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (born July 9, 1951 in Katsina,Katsina State Nigeria) is the 2nd President of Nigeria's Fourth Republic. He served as governor of Katsina State in northern Nigeria between May 29, 1999 and May 28, 2007 . He was declared the winner of the controversial Nigerian general election of 2007, held on April 21, and was sworn in on May 29, 2007. He is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Yar'Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina; his father, a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic, held the royal title of Mutawallen (custodian of the treasury) of the Katsina Emirate. a title which President Yar'Adua has inherited.
He started his education at Rafukka Primary School in 1958, and moved to Dutsinma Boarding Primary School in 1962. He attended Government College, Keffi, from 1965 until 1969, and received a Higher School Certificate from Barewa College in 1971.
Yar'Adua attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1972 to 1975, attaining a BSc in Education and Chemistry, and then returned in 1978 to achieve M.Sc Degree in Analytical Chemistry.
His first employment was at Holy Child College in Lagos (1975-1976). He later served as a lecturer at the Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria between 1976 and 1979. In 1979 he began working as a lecturer at Katsina Polytechnic, remaining in this position until 1983, when he began working in the corporate sector. Yar' Adua's worked at Sambo Farms Ltd in Funtua, Katsina State as its pioneer General Manager between 1983-1989. He served as a Board Member, Katsina State Farmers' Supply Company between 1984-1985, Member Governing Council of Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology Zaria and Katsina Polytechnic between 1978-1983, Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company (KIPDECO) between 1994-1996.
Umaru Yar' Adua served as a Director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd. 1995-1999; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd. 1987-1999, Hamada Holdings, 1983-1999; and Madara Ltd. Vom, Jos, 1987-1999. He was Chairman, Nation House Press Ltd, Kaduna between 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 President 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 the SDP State Secretary in Katsina and contested the 1991 Governorship election, but lost to Saidu Barda, the candidate of the National Republican Convention and an ally of President Ibrahim Babangida. In 1999, he ran for the same position and won. He was re-elected in 2003. He was the first governor to publicly declare his assets.
In 2000, during his administration as governor, Katsina became the fifth northern Nigerian state to adopt sharia, or Islamic law. In 2002 Amina Lawal, a woman from Katsina, was sentenced to death by stoning by a sharia court in the town of Bakori for committing adultery; the story attracted international attention. Her sentence was at first upheld by a court in the town of Funtua, then overturned a year later following an appeal
On December 16–17, 2006, Yar'Adua was chosen as the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP for the April 2007 election, receiving 3,024 votes from party delegates; his closest rival, Rochas Okorocha, received only 372 votes. Yar'Adua's success in the primary was attributed to the support of incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo; 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. Shortly after winning the nomination, Yar'Adua chose Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa State, as his vice-presidential candidate.
Another view of the support he received from President Obasanjo is that he is one of few serving governors with a spotless record, devoid of any suspicions or charges of corruption. He also belongs to the People's Democratic Movement (PDM) - a powerful political block founded by his late brother, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua.
Yar'Adua, who suffers from a kidney condition, challenged his critics to a game of squash in an endeavor to end speculations about his health. On March 6, 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.
In the presidential election, held on April 21, 2007, Yar'Adua won with 70% of the vote (24.6 million votes), according to official results released on April 23. The election was highly controversial; it was strongly criticized by observers, and the two primary opposition candidates, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, rejected the results, believing the election to have been rigged in Yar'Adua's favor.
After the election, Yar'Adua proposed a government of national unity. In late June 2007, two opposition parties, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), agreed to join Yar'Adua's government. On June 28, Yar'Adua publicly revealed his declaration of assets from May (becoming the first Nigerian Leader to do so), according to which he had 856,452,892 naira ($5 million) in assets, 19 million naira($ 0.1 million) of which belonged to his wife. He also had 88,793,269.77 naira ($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.
In June and July 2007, several governors who served with him before 2007 are being charged by EFCC, the anti-corruption commission. Many decisions of the former government like the hike in prices of petroleum products and VAT have been overturned by his government. Many see this as a sign that he is not a puppet of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Yar'Adua's new cabinet was sworn in on July 26, 2007.