Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Former President of Nigeria
Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua was born in Katsina Town, Katsina State in 1951. He started his primary education at Rafukka Primary School, Katsina in 1958. He left Rafukka for Dutsinma Boarding Primary School in 1962 from where he completed his primary education in 1964.
Between 1965-1969, Umaru Yar’adua was at Government College, Keffi in present-day Nasarawa State for his secondary education. He then moved to the famous Barewa College Zaria for his Higher School Certificate between 1970-1971. For his university education, Yar’adua attended the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria from 1972-1975 where he obtained the B.Sc Education/Chemistry. He returned to the same University from 1978-1980 for his M.Sc Degree in Analytical Chemistry.
Umaru Yar’adua’s working career began at the Holy Child College, Lagos for the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) between 1975 and 1976. He was a Lecturer at the Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria between 1976 and 1979. He moved to Katsina Polytechnic, also as a Lecturer in 1979 and was there until 1983 when he left the public service.
Yar’adua’s movement to the private sector started at Sambo Farms Ltd in Funtua, Katsina State as its pioneer General Manager between 1983-1989. He served as a Board Member, Katsina State Farmers’ Supply Company between 1984-1985, Member Governing Council of both Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology Zaria and Katsina Polytechnic between 1978-1983, Board Chairman of Katsina State Investment and Property Development Company (KIPDECO) between 1994-1996.
Umaru Yar’adua served as a Director of many companies, including Habib Nigeria Bank Ltd. 1995-1999; Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd. 1987-1999, Hamada Holdings, 1983-1999; and Madara Ltd. Vom, Jos, 1987-1999. He was Chairman, Nation House Press Ltd, Kaduna between 1995-1999.
Yar’adua’s foray into party politics began as a Lecturer when he became an active member and mobilizer for the defunct Peoples’ Redemption Party (PRP). During the Transition Programme of President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Yar’adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples’ Front, a political association under the leadership of his elder brother, the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’adua. That association later fused to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Yar’adua was a member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly. He was a member of the party’s National Caucus and the SDP State Secretary in Katsina and contested the 1991 Governorship election, but lost to the candidate of the National Republican Convention.
At the inception of General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s transition in 1998, Yar’adua founded the K34 political association which later teemed up to form the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He contested and won election as Governor of Katsina State in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003.
Governor Yar’adua is best remembered as the first Governor to publicly declare his assets and has promised to do same again at the end of his tenure.
During his tenure as Governor, the state has gone through an unprecedented development, culminating in profoundly transformation of the educational and health institutions, provision of rural and urban roads, electrification, water supply and agriculture. Today, people of Katsina State can boast of a Governor with proven record of prudence, accountability and transparency. Under his leadership, Katsina State now has a surplus of N6.5billion from a near empty treasury and back log of debts in 1999. No wonder, Umaru Yar’adua won the National Primary Education Productivity Merit Award in 2004 and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Best Governor Award under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in 2005. Yar’adua’s primary health care delivery system and primary education policies have become models with compelling national appeal. His determination to make taxation the major source of public finance in Katsina State has currently pre-occupied his administration with implementation of plans to process and make viable neem production in the State. This is expected to bring in export revenue in excess of USD2billion to farmers and people of Katsina State. The Governor further expects 25% of this or USD500 million to accrue to the state treasury as revenue for the sustenance of his efforts. He was honoured with many other awards for prudence and accountability, among which are NUJ Abuja Council (2003); NUJ Kaduna Council (2005) and Leadership Watch (2004).
Yar’adua is happily married to Hajia Turai Umaru Yar’adua and they are blessed with children.
He enjoys reading and playing squash.