By Mujaheed Ya’u Musa Nakaka
“It is still morning in Nigeria, Democracy is just 8 years old, our Nation has changed for the BETTER. But there is Much left to do” – Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua
“Serving humanity is like service to God” – Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua
Good people die every day. Yet not all of them affirm for us the goodness in humanity and leadership the way Umaru Musa Yar’adua did. He passed away 10 years ago but left a legacy of positive experiences for anyone. Most likely we don’t know Yar’adua but we can learn from the legacy he left.
In the death of Alh. Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Nigeria has lost one of its greatest leaders and one who at the time of his death was justly considered the dean of his specialty. The passing of Yar’adua is an incalculable loss to Nigeria, Africa and the world in general, to the lay public and to his many admirers and friends.
Umaru Musa Yar’adua was a Chemistry lecturer, then a Governor (Katsina State). Despite being a lecturer, he has passion for serving the public. Likewise, he didn’t take this path because it was easy. If that were true, Yar’adua wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with it.
His passion and hard work led him to become a great leader with the ability to navigate an elected council, and lead a country like Nigeria and take tons of public criticism with finesse and grace.
President Umaru Musa Yar’adua & The people
Yar’adua loved people, and was willing to do the hard work it takes to build all kinds of relationships. Because he worked on the taxpayer’s dime, not everyone was satisfied.
Yet Yar’adua made friends from enemies. He intentionally built the kind of relationships in other to bring people together and along. Because he was so good at relationship building, things got done.
It would have been easy for him to slip into an authoritative power mode, but Yar’adua’s humility was the real power he had in the relationships he cultivated. Being humble helped him to be known as someone who acted out ethically even while others in similar positions did not.
And of course, he was human. Yar’adua made his share of mistakes. The difference between him and other leaders is that he pondered those mistakes and quietly learned from them. They weren’t made a second time, and he grew and developed because he had a learning mindset.
His humanity extended to his family, friends, and anyone else who knew him. People liked him. He was easy to know, an open book. We all thought we knew him, but now we know that we would have liked to have known him even better and had him stay around longer.
It is hard to find suitable words to pay a tribute to this truly remarkable man.
Yar’adua brought to end the militancy in the Niger Delta region when he invited the militants to Aso Rock and urged them to lay down their arms. He also kicks started the amnesty programme which reabsorbed the militants into the society and rehabilitated them ending the years of crisis in the region.
Yar’adua reversed the fraudulent sale of Nigeria’s assets by the Olusegun Obasanjo government, which sold the assets to cronies of Obasanjo at give-away prices. The late Nigerian leader discarded political loyalty for the sake of the nation and reversed the sales which could have mortgaged Nigeria’s future into the hands of a few.
President Umaru Musa Yar’adua pioneered the policy of returning unspent funds to the national treasury at the end of the fiscal year. He is also the first president in the history of Nigeria to declare his assets before assuming office. These policies and actions endeared him to majority of Nigerians.
Yar’adua courageously released the N10 billion Lagos state local government council funds withheld by the Obasanjo administration because of political differences with then then governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Yar’adua’s government initiated the dredging of the River Niger bank, Abuja metro line, Abuja-Kaduna rail and the Abuja-Kano rail.
President Umaru Musa Yar’adua was the first leader to own up that the election that brought him into office was marred by fraud and violence.
He will be remembered for his 7 point agenda:
a. Power Supply
d. Mass Transportation
e. Land Ownership
f. Wealth Creation
g. Fighting Corruption
May you Rest in Jannatul Firdaus
Mujaheed Ya’u Musa Nakaka is from the Department of Public Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
5th May 2020