By Jide Ajani
It is really sad but that is all we have to say. His time has come and all of us mourn his death. I know him personally as the President and even when he was the governor. I saw what he has done and what are his plans and I think that he has good plan for Nigeria but it is unfortunately his health might have prevented him from achieving what he intended to achieve. It is sad that he is gone. We wish him good rest in the hands of the Lord. May his soul rest in perfect peace. â€œGen Yakubu Gowon.
â€œWe are proud of his remarkable achievements during a lifetime of service to our nation,â€Chief Ernest Shonekan.
â€œI have known him since late 1980s when I met and became a friend and close political associate of his elder brother, Shehu Musa Yarâ€™Adua. Over the years, the ties between my family and that of the Yarâ€™Aduas have grown so strong that we have come to treat ourselves genuinely as brothers and sisters. Umaru was one of the closest state governors to me between 1999 and 2007 when he served as Katsina State Governor and I was Vice President of Nigeria, â€œformer Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
â€œFormer President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua made a great contribution to the political and democratic life of the nation, and the stability of the region. He leaves an enduring legacy which stands as an inspiration to his fellow citizens and the wider worldâ€â€” European Commission.
â€œNation has lost a honest leader that meant well for all Nigerians. His record of prudence and administrative excellence both as a State Governor and President will remain ever green in our memories. â€œHe was a rare kind, a Patriot and a detribalised leader, who was faithful to Nigeria and Nigerians. We shall all miss himâ€. David Mark.
â€œIn confronting the key challenges of the nation, he demonstrated great statesmanship, which helped to re-focus the nation. Among this was the imperative of electoral reform, over which he took significant practical measures in the setting up of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Panelâ€, â€œGov. Adams Oshiomhole.
â€œYarâ€™Adua for us in the Niger Delta region was like a saint. Never have we seen a President who pursued the interest of the region like he did. Apart from choosing Acting President Goodluck Jonathan as his deputy, he took several courageous decisions, including the creation of the Niger Delta ministry, for which the people remain eternally gratefulâ€, Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan.
â€œWe recall that, during the early months of his presidency, he twice invited members of our association to dialogue with him on the problems of the nation and we came away with the impression that, had he not been handicapped by his illness, pre-initio, he probably would have become a great president.â€ Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, President Newspaper Proprietorsâ€™ Association of Nigeria.
â€œThe nation would greatly miss an honest and committed democrat; a God-fearing leader and a great patriot who believed in justice and did all within his power to move Nigeria to where it ought to be. He was detribalized, forthright and a strong believer in the rule of law. WeÂ mourn him deeply and pray the almighty God to grant his gentle soul eternal rest.â€ -Chief Godswill Akpabio, Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
â€œThe Peoples Democratic Party will miss his kind disposition, gentle nature and commitment to the ideals of democracy, rule of law and transparency in governance. We have indeed lost a committed leader who is an inspiration to all,â€ PDP. â€œThe late President Yarâ€™Adua was ready to reform the electoral system, as he pledged during his inauguration, until the hawks in the PDP took him hostage.
To his eternal credit, he set up the Uwais panel whose recommendations have now become the basis for the ongoing clamour for electoral reform,â€ Action Congress.
He is dead, no more.
Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s quotable quotes
On his rumoured death
â€œWhen people say you are dead and you are alive watching your own obituary, it is a sign that you will live long.â€
On his health
â€œI cannot really predict what my health will be in the next year or in 2011. It is when the time comes that I will be able to tell. This issue of health, life and death does not fall within the realm of what people can speak about with certainty.â€
â€œYou can see the difficult thing about life and death. Really, there is no point talking about this issue. There are people who like to play politics and they play politics with everything.â€
â€œWell, I have even told my party that the issue of the second term should be put aside. So far as I know and as I said before, I am a normal human being, I am not a super human being. There are some people who enjoy good health throughout their lives but most people go through life being sickÂ today, being well tomorrow.â€
On his legacy
â€œFrankly speaking, one thing, one legacy I would want to be remembered most for and I know it is very difficult to achieve, but that I am determined to achieve it is the establishment of respect for the rule of law.â€
â€œAs far as I know, my wife is never a part of any decision making in my administration. This is not the first time I have been in government. I had been a governor in Katsina State for 8 years, she never interfered in my duties.â€
â€œSometimes, the type of publications I see outside amaze me. I respect my wife and theÂ reason why I respect her is that she never interferes and you can find out from ministers or anybody if she has ever talked to anybody among them on anything that is official.â€
â€œI hate to hear that he is being victimised because government does not want to fight corruption. No, that is not to say that he is being victimised. All these things are deliberately fabricated propaganda and for me, frankly speaking, this kind of things never bother me because I know all of us will account for ourselves to a higher authority…I mean to God.â€
On Nigeriaâ€™sÂ Progress
â€œProgress is a function of a combination of factors which include resources, capacity and planning….. Now one of the things we have done is to identify the enablers that will ensure that Nigeria becomes one of the modern economies within a specific time frame and that is why we have vision 20: 2020 which everybody knows about.â€
On Niger Deltaâ€™s Potentials
â€œI have a firm belief that throughout the continent, the Niger Delta region has the greatest potentials for wealth creation than any other region in Africa. If you have peace in the Area and you have infrastructure that will enable development to come to the Niger Delta, within one and half decade, it will be the petrochemical hub of the African continent.â€
On state of emergency in the power sector
â€œEmergency is really to allow government to use any national resource and to set aside any agreement entered into to ensure that the target for the production, distribution and transmission of power targets are achieved.â€
On Economic Meltdown
â€œWhat we have seen is the function of corruption which is one of the factors that have to be tackled in this country to achieve these goals and this is one of the things I hope will work and I have set up presidential task force on customs reforms.â€
On Prof Iwu being controversial
â€œAs far as I am concerned, this is the first time I have heard this. I am aware his tenure is expiring some time next year. I am not sure of the exact time, but I am going to check..â€
On Nigeriaâ€™s sliding profile
â€œYou see, on the G20, I said that as the President of Nigeria, I feel very sad that Nigeria is not among the 20 most developed economies of the world .â€
On governmentâ€™s alleged softness on corruption
â€œIt is not about them being close to my government. Not my government. It is between me and them, the ex-governors . You see, these former governors are my colleagues and we had worked together for 8years. Because I am the President, I cannot just jettison people I know, I am always very careful to separate my personal relationship with people from my state duties.â€
On Electoral Reforms
â€œThe first stage of the Uwais report has to do with the constitution and the electoral act. Other stages have to do with the functions and behaviours of the agencies and other stages has to do with the attitudes and behaviours of the politicians themselves. It is an entire process and it involves attitudinal change. I am sure that 80percent of the recommendations were accepted by the FEC and people are saying that their recommendations were not taken.â€