Seven notable reasons Nigerians won’t forget late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua
Today makes it exactly nine years that former Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The Katsina-born politician died on May 5 2010 after a long battle with Pericarditis.
He was the 13th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was governor of Katsina State in northern Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 28 May 2007. He was declared the winner of the presidential election held on 21 April 2007, and was sworn in on 29 May 2007.
Despite the many intrigues that trailed his sickness and eventual death, Yar’Adua is still well respected and acknowledged for many changes in the nation’s polity. This is despite the fact that he was in office for just three years.
Below are some of the changes he made for which he remains beloved:
- Reduction of fuel pump price. Yar-Adua is the first Nigerian leader to carry out downward reverse of hike in fuel pump price. As soon as he was inaugurated on May 29, 2007, one of his first actions was to reduce fuel price from N75 to N65. This act was widely praised by Nigerians.
- Niger Delta Amnesty Programme. The former Katsina State Governor initiated the Niger-Delta Amnesty Programme which saw hundreds of youths in the oil-rich Niger Delta empowered. This was contrary to the popular notion that he would clamp down on the restive youths who were blowing oil installations for their grievances. The programme was well-received and doused tensions in the region, thereby shoring up oil production with many of the ex-agitators rehabilitated.
- Abuja-Kaduna rail route. Though he never lived to see its completion, Yar’Adua initiated the Abuja-Kaduna rail route. Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari went on to commission the project in July 2016.
- New Minimum wage. Workers would remember the late President for initiating the move that led to the N18,000 wage on February 22, 2011 when the Senate approve the new wage. It was Yar’Adua who inaugurated the Presidential Committee on National Minimum Wage headed by Chief Justice Alfa Moddibo through the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed. The new wage was approved by his successor President Goodluck Jonathan following recommendations of the committee.
- Dredging of River Niger. After 40 years, Yar’Adua recommended the dredging of the River Niger, which he couldn’t sadly see through until his demise.
- Declaration of Assets. He had the honour of being the first Nigerian leader to declare his assets. He declared 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. His plan, clearly, was to set a good example for public office holders and discourage corruption.
- Release of Lagos councils’ funds. For almost four years, former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to release federal allocations to Lagos state, claiming the creation of 37 Local Council Development Authority(LCDAs) by former Governor Bola Tinubu was a misnomer. But Yar’Adua, within months of assumption of power, reversed the widely criticized presidential order and released all the withheld allocations, running into billions, to Lagos.