YAR'ADUA'S UNFULFILLED DREAMS

By NBF News
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He lost the opportunity to emerge governor of Katsina State in 1991 under the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP. He lost, not necessarily because of his health challenges, but because his elder brother, the late General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua worked against his ambition.

The late Shehu then felt strongly that even though his brother was politically mature, having been a member of the defunct Peoples Redemption Party, (PRP) from 1979 to 1983, he was certainly not the type of leader the state wanted at that material point in time.

But after the death of his brother in 1996, by 1999, late former President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua became the Katsina State governor in 1999. And he spent eight unbroken years as governor from 1999 to 2007.

By 2007, with sheer providence, the lot fell on him to take over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Apart from the conspiracy theory of allegedly imposing a sick man on Nigeria, analysts believe that Obasanjo had thought that his successor could be 'manipulated to do his biddings.'

However, once he was sworn in, another power bloc hijacked him and his first few appointments showed that he was not ready to toe Obasanjo's line.

Sunday Sun have it on good authority that the present Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Yayale Ahmed, was actually penciled from day one as Yar'Adua's SGF by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the late President thought otherwise and went for Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, as SGF. Kingibe was later sacked in a rather 'disgraceful manner' following alleged plots to topple his benefactor.

Once the cabinet was eventually constituted, Yar'Adua carried on as a man of his own. From the cancellation of the sale of refineries to Dangote and several reversal of Obasanjo's policies, to the perceived persecution of those regarded as Obasanjo's boys, it was clear that former President Yar'Adua was willing to pursue his course without necessarily seeking any political assistance from the structure that made him President in 2007.

With that in mind, he began a subtle move for his second term in office; at a time he was barely a year in office.

Indications that Yar'Adua may be nursing a second term ambition then first came through former Jigawa State governor and now Senator, Saminu Turaki who canvassed for a fresh two terms of seven years each for Yar'Adua, beginning from 2011.

Turaki, a member of the National Assembly's Joint Constitution Review Conference (JCRC), was of the view that the only way Nigeria could realize the vision 20-20 being canvassed by this present administration was to give Yar'Adua enough time to see to the successful implementation of the programme.

And barely three months after Turaki's proposal, without the Presidency distancing itself from the call, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its submission to the Justice Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Reform Panel also canvassed for a single term of seven years. Turaki, like Yar'Adua, is from the Northwest.

As the move to get something through the constitution amendment was going on, and apparently oblivious of his failing health which was not likely to give him the strength and energy required for a rigorous campaign, the President quickly enlisted the support of the governors through the Forum's chairman, Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State. The series of meetings held, sources say, culminated in the October 29, 2008 sack of 20 ministers from the cabinet.

The cabinet reshuffle then, Sunday Sun learnt, was one of the steps towards ensuring that the late President gets the governors on his side ahead of 2011 elections.

Sunday Sun's findings also revealed that apart from one or two of the ministers who may have been fired for incompetence then, majority of those on the casualty list were fired mostly to pave way for the governors' lackey, who would in turn pay back by ensuring the success of President Musa Yar'Adua at the polls in 2011. And the re-constituted cabinet, which was later dissolved recently by President Goodluck Jonathan, when he was still acting, eventually proved so, the source added.

Speaking to Sunday Sun then, in our November 2, 2008 edition, one of the sources had said: 'if you take a careful look at the list, you will discover that most of them were fired because of their not too good relationship with their respective state governors. And maigida (master i.e Yar'Adua) had to listen to them (governors) because he wants to return. He needs these governors to return.

'I will give an example. Look at Modibbo, when he was to be appointed last year, his governor opposed him, the State House of Assembly passed a resolution against his nomination, but Oga went ahead to make him a minister. But now that we are approaching 2009, when election fever will begin, Oga has no choice but to do what the governors want since he also requires their assistance and support to run in 2011.

He (Modibbo) may have performed below expectation, he may not be in good terms with his minister of State, but I tell you, his governor was responsible for his removal. Don't forget, Modibbo is also nursing a governorship ambition.

'Now, if you say Modibbo did not perform well in office or he is not in good terms with his junior minister, what about Sarafa Tunji Ishola? He was one of the finest ministers around before his removal. He and his junior minister have the best of working relationship. But his governor is not comfortable with him. So he had to use Saraki to ease the man out. I can go on and on like that,' the source had volunteered.

Reminded then that the state governors of some of the sacked ministers are not of the PDP, but of the ANPP, the source again then said 'right now, there are plans to return most of the ANPP governors to PDP to ensure maximum victory for Yar'Adua when the time comes. The team, led by the (then) Labour Minister, Dr. Hassan Lawal has even visited Yuguda, the Bauchi State governor. He told them to give him some time. So do not be surprised if Yuguda's nominee makes the list from Bauchi.'

Sunday Sun recalls that Yuguda has since joined the PDP.

The game in Katsina
Once the cabinet was re-constituted, Katsina, the home state of the late President became charged politically, with persons acknowledged publicly as Yar'Adua's men leading the onslaught against Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, whom was himself installed by the late President.

The group consists mainly of Yar'Adua's political appointees at the federal level, and a few lawmakers, excluding Senator Kanti Bello, but led by former Agric minister, Sayyadi Abba Ruma. Analysts therefore believe strongly that if Yar'Adua had lived to contest a second term in office as President, Shema may find it difficult returning to the Katsina State Government House. And even if he does, it would certainly not have been with the same ease he was made governor in 2007.

Nigerians Speak
However, in spite of all the misgivings about late Yar'Adua, some Nigerians still believed he tried his best under the circumstances he found himself. One such people is Senator Joseph Akaagerger, a serving Senator from Benue State and a retired military officer. Incidentally, he handed over to late Yar'Adua as Katsina governor in 1999. He described the late President as a leader who demonstrated a high level of integrity while in office.

Hear him: 'The unfortunate and unexpected passing to glory of our dear President and friend is tantamount to a fractured dream and an apparent dislocation of the foundation of accountability, transparency, rule of law and due process and servant leadership in governance.

'President Yar'Adua was a leader woven in integrity and honesty which was originally linked to his style of governance. My family and I express our sincere condolences to the first family, the government and good people of Nigeria who stood steadfast in their payers. With demonstrated competences and commitment of President Jonathan, we are assured that Nigeria, the 7-point agenda and vision 20: 20 20 are perfectly on course.

Speaking in the same vein, Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation, Senator Anyim Ude, told Sunday Sun on phone that Yar'Adua was a courageous leader with a 'decent personal lifestyle.'

According to him, the late President was committed and determined to give Nigeria a new lease of life through his 7-point agenda, adding that 'his emphasis on the rule of law, renewed anti-corruption crusade and amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta area rekindled our hopes for a better and peaceful Nigeria. May his soul rest in the bosom of his maker.'

On his part, Senator Farouk Bello Bumza, a former lawmaker, who was a leading light in the '2007 Movement,' a group of lawmakers that saw to the demise of Obasanjo's contagious third term agenda, but who is now an Executive Director with the Guarantee Trust Bank, said he received the news with great shock. He, however, prayed that God should give Nigerians the maturity and wisdom to' pass through a peaceful transition, devoid of rancor.'

Textile workers on their part, through their General Secretary, Comrade Issa Aremu, noted that the late Yar'Adua's administration raised the prospects of industrialization and wealth generation in the country more than ever before, adding that 'he delineated wealth generation vision for the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his inaugural address of May 29 2007.'

He further said that President Yar'Adua rekindled hope in industrialization and reaffirmed 'his belief in the primacy of industrial renaissance as indisputable factor in poverty eradication. The late President Yar'Adua singled out the textile industry as the 'largest manufacturing in this country that must be protected.'

For once, he transformed policy rhetoric of the past administration with respect to textile intervention fund to policy reality through disbursement of revival fund via the Bank of Industry (BOI). We also witnessed an activist Presidency through the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Mansur Muktar and his Economic Adviser, Tanimu Yakubu, taking stock of the existing collapsed industries and partnering with Kaduna state government in particular to revive the textile industries. Of course, the industries have not been revived; the late Yar'Adua's concern and sensitivity had prevented total collapse altogether.

'The challenge is for the newly sworn-in President Goodluck Jonathan to realise the vision of reindustrialization of the country, create mass jobs and put an end to the existing intolerable poverty in the land.'

Also reacting to the former President's death, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kaduna chapter, through its scribe, Reverend Joseph Ayeb said 'the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN received the news of the passing away of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua; with great shock but with total submission to the will of God who decreed that all lives must taste death.

'Again, there is time for everything and, as such, while we are mourning the late President and praying for the repose of his soul, we are also mindful that the late President has, in his capacity, demonstrated courage and sound leadership within the last three years he held sway in office, of his many legacies is the rapt attention the Niger-Delta crisis received leading to the Amnesty Programme, along with the creation of a ministry to manage the lingering crisis. He has also in his pursuance of a sound country initiated the moves to reform Nigeria's electoral process, and many other good legacies of the late President which have positive impact on the country; and will continue to stand the test of time.

'The death of Mr. President at this time calls for sober reflections and a turning point in our national life, it also calls for prayers for the continue peace and harmony in our country. By this statement we are extending our heart felt condolence to the Federal Government and the entire people of Nigeria, and his family in particular.'

Last line
If Yar'Adua were to be alive, he would certainly have run for a second term in office as President and may have perhaps succeeded in sending his perceived political enemies, including El-Rufai and Ribadu to political oblivion.