Latest posts
Home / Nigeria News / President Yar’adua and corruption in Nigeria-2

President Yar’adua and corruption in Nigeria-2

                                                  By Nasir El-Rufai  

Read part One here:
4. Early Life and Education Umaru Musa



http://www.yaradua2 php…d=14&Itemid= 26 accessed on 04/23/2009.)Yar´Adua is Nigeria´s thirteenth Head of Government and the second President of Nigeria´s Fourth Republic. He was born on 16th August, 1951 in Daudawa, a village within the then Katsina Province of the Northern Region of Nigeria.


His father, Alhaji Musa Yar´Adua was at the time the senior civil servant in charge of the farm settlement of Kamfanin Daudawa, now part of Faskari Local Government of Katsina State. Umaru´s father – Alhaji Musa Yar´Adua hailed from the Sullubawa Ruling Family of Katsina and held several aristocratic positions including royal titles of Tafida, and later the Mutawalli of Katsina (custodian of the treasury of the Katsina Emirate) until his death in 1993.Musa Yar´Adua was an active member of the Northern Peoples´ Congress – the dominant political party in Northern Nigeria at the time. He was the Minister of Lagos Affairs in the First Republic government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa between 1960 and 1966. Umaru was the third eldest male of several children of Musa Yar´Adua´s several wives.


Umaru Yar´Adua was therefore born in privilege, and grew up learning from two respected tacticians in Nigeria´s political history – his father, Musa Yar´Adua and his elder brother – Major General Shehu Musa Yar´Adua who was General Olusegun Obasanjo´s number two in the military junta that ruled Nigeria from 1976 to 1979.Umaru has always been an introvert and grew up in the shadows of his flamboyant, more extroverted and military-officer elder brother Shehu. Umaru attended primary schools in and around Katsina, and went to Government College Keffi for his high school education (1965 to 1969).

He did his two year senior high (A Levels) (1970 to 1971) at the famous Barewa College, Zaria – the premier high school that produced the bulk of Nigeria´s leaders from the North. (Note: Barewa College, Zaria was established in 1922 by the Colonial Government to produce teachers of Northern Nigerian origin.

The College has so far produced four (Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar´Adua) out of Nigeria´s twelve Heads of Government, and Sir Ahmadu Bello – the Sardauna of Sokoto who was the de facto Head of the First Republic Government but chose to be the Premier of the Northern Region. See 

http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Barewa_College  for more details.) At Keffi, Umaru was a brilliant Science student who loved James Bond novels, and was nicknamed 007.

Oddly enough, according to people that knew him then – his favorite character in the novels was not Bond himself but Ernst Stavro Blofeld – the leader of the criminal extortion organization intent on achieving world domination – S.P.E.C.T.R. E.! – (Note – SPECTRE stands for the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligenc e, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – Admiring the villain in a spy novel was very strange indeed, and indicative of Umaru´s rebellious ways, or perhaps afuture sinister streak!)At Barewa College, Umaru was not a particularly conscientious student, missing classes often, was a chain smoker, and drank a lot of alcohol, contrary to College Regulations. He got a new nickname “Bad Man” for his anti-establishment and rebellious ways.


In spite of this, he was not only appointed House Captain of Mallam Smith House but was surprisingly able to pass his A Levels reasonably well enough to get admitted into a degree program. (Note – I got admitted to Barewa College in January 1972 – a few months after Umaru Yar´Adua graduated.I was a freshman in Mallam Smith House where he was House Captain, and placed under the care of Sani Maikudi, Umaru Yar´Adua´s first cousin. Umaru was a legend, admired by all for his populist, non-chalant administration of the House, and fondly remembered by his Barewa nickname – “Bad Man”).


Umaru was admitted to the Ahmadu Bello University and graduated with BSc in Chemistry/Education in 1975. He spent one year in Lagos during the mandatory National Youth Service at Holy Child College as a high school Chemistry teacher.He returned to Ahmadu Bello University in 1978 for two years for an M.Sc in Analytical Chemistry. It is noteworthy that Umaru´s upbringing and education has always been limited to the states that make up the old Northern Region.


He knew little else outside of his immediate geographic, ethnic and religious environment. This is to have some implications for his future governance roles.

Read Part three here: