Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (16 August,1951 – 5 May, 2010) 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 controversial Nigerian presidential election held on 21 April,2007, and was sworn in on 29 May,2007. He was a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 2009, Yar’Adua left for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for pericarditis. He returned to Nigeria on 24 February, 2010, where he died on 5 May.
Illness and death
President 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 dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria.
In December 2009 Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stated that Yar’Adua should have handed over power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in an acting capacity during his illness, a statement that was backed up by the NBA national executive committee. 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.
On 10 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, has been called a “coup without the word” by opposition lawyers and lawmakers. However, there are others that felt the power vacuum would lead to instability and a possible military takeover.
On 24 February 2010, Yar’Adua returned to Abuja under the cover of darkness. His state of health was unclear, but there was speculation that he was still on a life support machine. 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. An Islamic burial took place on 6 May in his hometown in Katsina.
Birthday: Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Turns 68 Today!