Nigerians are celebrating the memory of a former president, Umaru Musah Yar’Adua, who died in office nine years ago today.
The one-time Katsina State governor is revered as by far the best leader of Africa’s most populous nation since the return to multi-party democracy in 1999.
He was the second civilian president under Nigeria’s current constitution. He won controversial polls after his predecessor – Olusegun Obansanjo’s – plans to extend his stay from 1999 – 2007 got stiff opposition from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He took office in 2007 and led for 3 years. He died aged 58 in Saudi Arabia – and was flown back for burial. The known cause of death was pericarditis – inflammation of a membrane around the heart.
He was succeeded by his then vice-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Jonathan completed Yar Adua’s term and won a substantive term in 2011. He failed to secure a final term in 2015 after he was defeated by incumbent Muhammadu Buhari.
Jonathan was among the first to post a message of remembrance of his former boss on social media. The outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former vice president Atiku Abubakar and others have since done same.