I join all Nigerians and Nigeria, my nation in mourning the death of President Umaru Musa YarAdua, this sad news of President YarAdua’s passing was received on Wednesday evening here in New York City from my friends Ahaoma Kanu and Magaji Galadima. President YarAdua passed away, after a long, protracted and very public illness. President Barack Obama has issued a statement of condolences, on behalf of the government and people of the United States, in sympathy, with Nigerians and Nigeria, in this moment of our national bereavement, grief and mourning.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared a seven day national mourning in honor of Mr. Yar’Adua
President YarAdua was a two time governor of Kastina state before becoming the elected president of Nigeria in April 2007 and he was inaugurated as our nation’s president and national symbol, on May 29, 2007. President YarAdua’s precarious health was a very public matter, in both national and international sense.
It will be recalled that our president’s infirmity, which was known by many, saw to his hospitalization overseas for an extended period of time. President YarAdua’s prolonged stay in a foreign hospital became a vexing political and constitutional issue for Nigeria. There were tensions and fractiousness as a consequence of his physical absence and speculations were rife as to his continued fitness, physical and otherwise.
President YarAdua who left Nigeria on November 23rd 2009 in a medical emergency, returned to Nigeria on February 23rd 2010 at dawn and under very controversial protocol and surrounding circumstances.
Since retuning to Nigeria from hospitalization and medical care in Saudi Arabia, President YarAdua did not formally return to the presidency and presidential duties. He was however sighted a few times by a select few; He was reportedly seen by family and friends, a select retinue of political associates and religious leaders . But for the Nigerian public in general, he remained unheard, unseen and incommunicado.
President YarAdua did not appear publicly to the Nigerian public, whether in still pictures or in video. He did not meet with Nigerian journalists nor make public statements or pronouncements through the press or media in Nigeria.
President YarAdua who was a college professor before his foray into politics, was 58 years old. He is survived by his wife, first lady, Turai YarAdua, and their adult children.
President YarAdua is dead and his passing should be marked with a show of national unity, as our nation mourns the death of our president. Nigerians must and should show utmost respect, and accord utmost dignity to our departed president, his family, friends and political associates. This is not the time for rancor and bitterness. This is not the time for any schisms, chasms and intrigues. There are important Nigerian national and strategic interests ahead, and continuing in the hot pursuit of Nigeria’s worthy causes should be the only focus of national importance after the interment of our departed symbol.
As our nation mourn our departed president, Nigerians at home and abroad should engage in sober reflection and thorough soul searching and circumspection. President YarAdua should be given a befitting burial fit for a king, and properly put, a burial, fit for a leader and symbol of our nation, barring religious limitations and exceptions.
Nigerians and Nigeria will show our sincere sympathies and our empathies to the first lady, Mrs. Turai YarAdua, and the children of the YarAduas and the entire YarAdua families and friends.
This is a teachable moment for all Nigerians at home and abroad, this is the moment during which we must demonstrate our collective humanity and the essence of human refinement. We must put our political opinions and policy differences aside.
Our utterances, pronouncements and actions must be in accord with everything which are illustrative of the good people, the hospitable and charitable people which Nigerians are. Nigerians must sheath swords and hatchets during this time of national grief, bereavement and mourning.
May the goodness and love from 150 million Nigerians at home and abroad, afford the first lady, the YarAdua’s children, the entire YarAdua family, friends and associate the fortitude and strength to bear this irreparable loss. In this grieving, lonely and difficult moment, are hearts and supports are generously offered to the family of President YarAdua.
Nigerians and Nigeria mourn the death of our national symbol since May 29, 2007, President Umaru Musa YarAdua, GCFR, may his soul rest in perfect peace