WHY LATE PRESIDENT, MALLAM UMARU MUSA YAR’ ADUA DESERVES A POST HUMOUS AWARD CONFERED BY THE WORLD ASSEMBLY OF YOUTH (WAY) – MY JUSTIFICATION
The antecedent of democracy saw the change Nigeria has always clamoured for in the days of Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua as president, both in the state and federal levels, even in the corporate sector. Perhaps, though event may shape history, the National Association of Nigerian students (NANS), was evident of Yar’ Adua contributions in the growth and synthesis of the body during its dark age.
President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua will for long be remembered. History in the gape of time has taught me, recanting the days of ancient Greece, about the history of the courageous Spartans who had been led in war by a great man called Leonidas. Leonidas was reputed to have said few minutes before he and his three hundred Spartan soldiers were slaughtered by the enemy; “Strangers, go home and tell our people that here we lie in obedience to their service” Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua lived and died in the service of his countrymen and women. If our countrymen and women can’t think beyond the perfect box of time, then may Allah bless his memory!
Although as no man is perfect, his administration as the governor of Katsina state was regarded by some as crude and inhuman, while to others it was an era of principled governance, that was quite aimed to fine-tune the systematic way of life of the people. But the sum total is equipoise in the natural phenomenon of good and evil, which can characterize any type of government and governance. The life of the president was evident of what serene leadership truly contains. As the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, things turned around, haven discovered that man is but spatial in nature, and dynamic in conduct. For the urge to unify the nation, based on ethnic, religious, economic and politico sentiments, he paid the ultimate sacrifice. In addition, my eulogy will be incomplete without first giving a dorsal of what is known and certain about him.
Late President Yar’ Adua was born into an aristocratic Fulani family in Katsina; his father was the former Minister of Lagos during the first republic, who held the royal title of Mutawali (Custodian of the treasury) of the Katsina Emirate, a title which President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua inherited. A devout Muslim, a Mallam! He started his education at Rafukka primary school in 1958, and then moved to Dutsinma boarding primary school in 1962. He attended government college Keffi from 1965-1969. He received his higher school certificate (HSC) from Barewa College in 1971. He gained admission into the Ahmedu Bello University where he received his B.Sc in Education and Chemistry (1972-1973). He received his M.Sc in Analytic Chemistry (1978). It should be noted that while in the university, his extraordinary leadership achievements was put to forebear. His membership in NANS as one of its pioneers during the tribulation era of student unionism in Nigeria ushered in some level of growth in ideological base of the body. He was nonetheless the first ever NANS National Presidents, which followed with lots of achievements.
It did not just end in his political career alone, its transfused and shaped his person when he became the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For his love of Humanity, Order, Freedom, Peace and Justice, he defiled all necessary ethnic, economic and political protocol, which has routinely and in a draconian way kept us in bondage for long. His brief administration saw one of many of the spectacular transformation and revolution that are rare in the annals of African or global political history; his non-violence approach helped shaped the political culture of Nigeria. Such approach in some countries would have led to bloodshed and civil war; some nation’s ideological base would have been terror for terror
This was a President who gave teeth to the Rule of Law in Nigeria, a leadership pattern emulated by other nations in Africa. Before now, he was being accused of his Sharia Penal codes, which he introduced in Katsina. But his application of the rule of law was evident of his commitment to ride the nation of nefarious elements that pervades the Nigerian political culture and structure. Today, our democracy had its proper definition by the administration of Late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua. While it was evident that several sacred cows were brought to book by his administration, he was first of all the only Nigerian to own up to the flaws that maled our electoral system in recent time. The rule of law ushered in transparency, accountability, probity and fair-play in our political, social and economic arena.
Amidst this was his support and implementation of the Millennium Development Goal, the MDG was a program developed by the President Olusegun Obasanjo; but the Yar’ Adua democratic dispensation gave it the meaning it bears today. His administration saw the need to strengthen all ties and commitments to ensuring growth and development in both rural and urban communities. With the clamour for resource control and the spike of marginalization, that characterized the rural and urban centers alike, His administration saw a need to align with NGOs in promoting economic and human capital development. His administration helped revamp the economy thereby declaring a state of emergency in the economic, agricultural and power sector. Today, so many communities are certainly closer than we think to the national government through the maintenance and sustainability of the MDG projects of the Late President’s 7 point agenda.
While the above are glaring; in the darkest moments of Nigeria’s political history, disunity threatened our federal structure. Agitation was tolerated, and within few months, his administration achieved a score card, that was first of its kind in the 21st century. The cry of marginalization by the people of Niger Delta, and the agitation for resource control had characterized the region, and climaxed at the exit of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. The intervention of the Yar’ Adua/Jonathan Administration embraced the problem, and immediately pondered on solution index with all hands on deck towards providing lasting peace in the area. The South-South Geopolitical region was a case sensitive nomenclature before this time.
On Friday, 26 June 2009, President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua declared Amnesty for more than 40 thousand freedom fighters in Niger Delta, those that were first hand considered as criminals by sympathizers of the federal government of Nigeria. For instance the coordinator of the presidential committee on amnesty setup by the Federal government of the Yar’ Adua administration, which claimed the big catches, and it was recorded when Ebikabowei Ben Victor aka General Boyloaf and his boys surrendered their cache of arms and ammunitions to the Governor of Bayelsa state and Kile Selky Torughedi aka ‘Young Shall Grow’ surrendered to the committee through the presidential advisor on Niger Delta. Sweet Crude gathered that 74 automatic rifles, 21 machine guns, assorted weaponry over 80,000 rounds of ammunition and three gun boats were submitted. Similarly, when Commander Africa Ukprasia, Commander Joshua MacIver and Ezizi Ogunbos surrendered to the amnesty committee, 532 arms, 13 gunboats and over 100,000 rounds of ammunition were submitted.
Analysts have argued that, weapons submitted were well over 240,000 arms, sophisticated ammunitions, gunboats. According to security report, analysts further argued that, currently there were still more than 78,000 AK-47, 230,000 Ammunitions, and other sophisticated weapons in the hands of sectionalist movement MOSOB, and other militants that didn’t meet the deadline of October 4, within January and March 2010 retrieving just a handful of weapons. But in this, the post-Amnesty initiative, a continuation of the Yar’ Adua Legacy has retrieved more than 60% percent of this ammunitions. In addition, just recently more militant youths about
1,700 stormed Abuja to enroll in the amnesty program, having monitored the progress of the program.
Haven enumerated on his achievements, the late President has made history in Nigeria in terms of Peace, Freedom, Unity, and Justice. And by agreeing to disagree with the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama in his condolence letter stating:
“He was committed to creating lasting peace and prosperity within Nigeria’s own borders, and continuing the work will be an important part of honouring his legacy”.
While this statement is so valid, it has its own limitations. Although Yar’ Adua shared no power play with anyone, had no intentions to indict the innocent, and no preposterous move to humiliate and violate his citizens fundamental human rights for some political gains; yet as member of one global family, it will be wrong to say his Peace initiative efforts should be limited to only Nigerians and Nigeria. In as much as there were other nationals, even foreign multinational companies’ presence here, and his strategy and policy to avert furtherance of Militancy in Niger Delta, hence his policy was felt by Nigerians home and abroad. This reduced a phenomenon of Kidnap, Assassinations, Destructions of Company’s facilities, Hostage taking, etc, that led to loss of billons of foreign earnings from partners that had their investments here.
For his peace initiative, Nigeria is now transformed into a haven of tourism and investments. Late President Yar’ Adua did not only contributed to Peace and Prosperity in Nigeria, West Africa, his contribution and service was for the whole World, and his Amnesty initiative was a major decimal in the global campaign for peace. He died achieving Peace, through service and sacrifice.
His philosophy of Islam was Peace and tolerance. As a Mallam he had gone through the epitaph of great prophets, unraveled the Qur’an and its application was seen in his life. The ideology of Jihad he saw was not tantamount to conquering, dividing and annihilating the enemy, but to draw closer the one inner energy that remains in and identify us with God (Allah). It was this application that some think-tank groups who were friends of Niger Delta saw the need to unravel this master plan, in collaboration with his Qu’ranic philosophy that lead to the granting of amnesty to labeled criminals, freedom fighters, Militants etc. Although religious consideration should not be put into question, but however one can live a religious life devoid of any fanaticism, extreme and fundamental qualms. For all we know, if such a man can pay the ultimate price, his life for a nation as Nigeria; he deserves among so many things, a “Post Humus” Award for Peace and Youth development in Nigeria, Africa and the world over.
Therefore such a man insofar as credence is paid to great men all over the world for their contributions towards Peace, the legacy of late Mr. President Yar’ Adua should not be drawn back for want of philosophic and political husbandry. If H.E. the Prime Minister of Malaysia is being given such a meritorious Award for his achievement in Peace and Prosperity in Malaysia and the world over, then we argue and appeal for the motion that our late President, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua deserves an auspicious “Post Humus” award for Peace, Unity, Justice and Prosperity, first as a Nigerian citizen, and second as a citizen of the World. It is only truly then, the World Assembly of Youth’s (WAY) theme for this year’s gathering; “Youth Rise for Peace” will have its sound meaning. For this will represent this year’s Global Youth support for Peace anywhere in the World.
I hope this is a enough justification to authenticate his legacy, and such can be reviewed by the WAY’s committee; as we make our preparation for a summon to appear before International WAY EXCO; as we are making frantic efforts to solidify arrangements with the Nigerian government, and perhaps a consent from the family to go ahead with this laudable project.
For and Behalf of:
Comrade Preye Ketebu-Brown
Alhj. (Dr.) Sherreef M. Farouk
Alhaji Uba Adamu
The Yar’ Adua Family
Comrade (Dr.) Carl-Collins Ogunshola Oshodi (PhD)
Conflict Management Consultant
Strategic Security Analyst