Since Independence in Nigeria, there is currently been a total number of fifteen Presidents/Head Of States recorded in Nigerian history, some of which their memories are better off lost in time than remembered.
But one president has succeeded in gaining public approval for the work he churned out during his short but very productive tenure, right before the cold hands of death snatched him away from Nigerians, talking about the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Fresh from leaving office as governor of Katsina State in 2007, Yar’Adua was pretty much an obscure politician at the national stage before he was projected with the help and influence of the outgoing president, Olusegun Obasanjo, to become the presidential flag bearer of the PDP in the 2007 election. He successfully won the election in an emphatic manner to become the thirteenth president/Head Of State and also the 2nd of the Fourth Republic to assume office, after amassing 70% of the votes cast with two of his closest rivals being General Muhammadu Buhari of the then All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AP).
He proceeded immediately to choose his cabinets and then rilled out the seven point agenda which comprised of critical infrastructural development in power, energy and transportation, focus on development issues in the Niger Delta, creating a new ministry for Niger Delta affairs, wealth creation through diversification of the economy and source of government revenue, a movement away from a fossil fuel dependent economy to a digulations towards a reform oriented goal, security and food security.
One of his very notable achievements as president was granting amnesty to the Niger-Delta militants as well as creating an amnesty programme which was geared at reintegrating the militants into the society, successfully ended the crises plaguing the area. He was so interested in bringing lasting peace in the Niger-Delta that he also formed a ministry for the sole purpose of improving the state and well being of the area where the chief source of Nigeria’s export revenue is gotten from.
He proceeded to reduce the fuel pump price from 75naira to 65naira. This received a heart felt commendation from Nigerians who by now are beginning to trust their newly elected president.
He went on to start off the dredging of the River Niger in order to ensure the free flow of vessels to Onitsha port and it’s environs and also to ease the congestions of the Apapa shipping port. Yar’Adua also approved the payment of 18,000 minimum wage which was initially 7,500 at the time. This gave staff and workers within the minimum wage bracket a breath of fresh air as there would be more funds for their needs. Although the implementation of the minimum wage came to fruition in 2011 by his successor, Goodluck Jonathan, it was the late president’s project.
The construction of the Kaduna-Abuja railway route is credited to have been kick-started by the late president who saw the need to have an alternative transport system to compliment other forms of transportation and moreso, to make it easier for low income earners to have access to quality transport system.
It is an overwhelming feat for the late president, considering that he only stayed in power for three years and was not opportuned to finish his first tenure before passing away.
Regardless, history will be kind to late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua for he has successfully carved a space in the hearts of the Nigerian masses and majority will always fondly remember the short but very productive days of the late president. One can only but imagine what feat he would have achieved going forward if he had gone on to lead for a maximum of two tenures of eight years.
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