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How Umaru Musa Yar’Adua emerged

By Jide Ajani
Perhaps, Matthew Okikiolakan Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo should be blamed for foisting Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Nigeria as President.

First, Obasanjo pulled all the stops, bruising noses, breaking limbs, threatening men of means and substance, all in his bid to ensure that Yar’Adua emerged as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

A cross section of children of deceased, Late President Umaru Yar'adua as the body was taken for interment from the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

For a man who had already got an appointment to teach in the university after his gubernatorial stint for eight years in Katsina, Yar’Adua was the last person Nigerians expected to bid for the presidency.

In a field which had heavyweights like Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a disengaged General of the Nigerian Army and former military President; Aliyu Muhammed Gusau, another disengaged General of the Nigerian Army who served as National Security Adviser, NSA, to Obasanjo for almost eight years; former governors of Rivers, Kaduna, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Cross River, Jigawa, Imo, Peter Odili, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Adamu Mu’Azu, Adamu Abdullahi, Obong Victor Attah, Chimaroke Nnamani, Donald Duke, Saminu Turaki and Achike Udenwa, Obasanjo muscled all of them into submission – even the expected keen voting at the convention between Gusau and Yar’Adua became a no-competition as the sea slide victory of the latter put paid to many a presidential ambition.

And with the instrumentality of the presidency, muscling Vice President Atiku Abubakar out of the PDP, and even creating landmines on his path to contesting as a candidate on another platform, and the mushrooming of presidential candidates from over 40 nondescript political parties, the coast was all but clear for the emergence of a Yar’Adua presidency.

….And The Emergence of a Cabal:  Shaping a Presidency

For Yar’Adua, it was bad enough that his emergence was one which suggested that Obasanjo was bent on installing a successor.  Nigerians suffered him for all of over two years as President but when on Tuesday, November 23, Yar’Adua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia for medical attention, a new face of his administration emerged.  The emergence was such that Nigerians were at once reminded that a Yar’Adua, either capable or incapable, was voted for by Nigerians as their President; and until he dies, he would rule, even by proxy.

The remain Late President of Umoru Musa Yar'Adua was buried yesterday after Muslim Prayer in Katsina, Katsina State,Pix Shows: Remains of Late President carried by military men Photo Gbemiga Olamikan

And so, Turai, wife, first lady, powerful and not new to power games became Nigeria’s Evita in breach; Inuwa Baba, (aka Distinguished); ADC, Mustapha Onoyiveta; CSO, Yusuf Tilde; Dr. Abba Ruma, leads the Katsina Mafia, Minister of Agric and Water Resources; Tanimu Yakubu, Chief Economic Adviser; Serki Muhktar, Brigadier-General (rtd), National Security Adviser, NSA; Michael Aondoakaa, Attorney General and Minister of Justice; Mansur Muhktar, Finance Minister; all became the new face of the Yar’Adua administration.

In the early days of Yar’Adua’s absence from Nigeria, a certain Senator Abba Aji, National Assembly Presidential Liaison, was also in the picture as one of those calling the shots.

Even from far away Saudi Arabia, there was Ambassador Aminci who was always involved in all manner of summersaults regarding Yar’Adua’s state of health.

But the most troubling part of the activities of these people listed was to be located in their manipulative skills and take-over of the reigns of governance from a somewhat docile (so it seemed) Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, at that time.

Nigerians watched with bewilderment how a few individuals manipulated even information management at the expense of governance for Nigerians.

The worst was to take its effect on the nation when it was discovered that orders were being issued from far away Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Jonathan in Nigeria all in the name of a President still in charge.

But because Katsina State is not the same as Nigeria, Yar’Adua’s people were to discover very late in the day that they were doing more harm to the ailing man than good.

Yar’Adua’s return

Therefore, when Yar’Adua was ferried from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria suddenly, the attempt to continue the manipulative magic experienced daylight, and the house began to crumble.

Nigerians rose against the first attempt wherein Jonathan was referred to as Vice President; then came the issue of the seat of the President and Commander-in-Chief.  But Nigerians were solidly behind Jonathan.

Soon, Jonathan was to find his voice in his new capacity as Acting President.  The rest is history.


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