UMARU MUSA YAR’ ADUA: TRIBUTE TO A NIGERIAN LEADER, BY DR. CAIRO OJOUGBOH

The 4th of May 2010 was a sad day for every Nigerian; I mean patriotic citizens of this country because it was a day that Nigeria lost one of its best. Late Umaru Yar’adua was one of the best; indeed, very best that happened to the country since its return to democracy in 1999. Yar’adua was that leader who had Nigeria at heart; he came with a vision and mission of transforming this country to greater heights. His track record as governor of Katsina State and as the President of this country is a good testimony to that.

I happened to serve him as a Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, I can strongly testify to his courage and zeal of moving this country forward, but because of his ill health, a dream that did not come to reality but the patriotism and the good intention he had are enough reason for every excellent citizen to celebrate him and pour tribute on finest man. He was a very simple man; he fondly calls me ‘The Hon. Cairo of Africa’ with a huge smile in his face…Yar’adua’s was a results oriented and goal driven, in one of his manifesto during campaign, he said; “if I become the President of Nigeria, my priority will be to ensure adequate peace and security, power and energy, human capacity development and physical infrastructural development that are critical to the development of a modern economy”.

That was what Umaru Musa Yar’adua stands for, that’s what he advocates for and that’s the dream he died for Nigeria. Not only that, he was the only Nigerian President that admitted the irregularities that brought him to power during elections; and that is what committed him to constitute the Uwais electoral reform committee which Nigerians benefited from. For instance, the super honest President Buhari’s electoral was stolen for several time, but Yar’aua’s electoral reform are the among other things that brought one of Nigeria’s most loved leader into the leadership mantle.

Yar’adua will be remembered for his uprightness, integrity, dedication and patriotism to the Nigerian cause. His seven-point agenda were critical to the development of this country which had it been it was continued by his successor, as such Nigeria is on the right cause to its greatness. They were:1. Power and Energy 2. Food Security and Agriculture 3. Wealth Creation and Employment 4. Mass Transportation 5. Land Reform 6. Security 7. Qualitative and Functional Education.

1. POWER AND ENERGY – The infrastructural reforms in this critical sector through the development of sufficient and adequate power supply will be to ensure Nigeria’s ability to develop as a modern economy and an industrial nation by the year 2015, which was neglected, until recently President Buhari signed an agreement with German government to supply Nigeria with required power.

2. FOOD SECURITY – This reform is primarily agrarian based. The emphasis on the development of modern technology, research, financial injection into research, production and development of agricultural inputs will revolutionalize the agricultural sector leading to a 5 – 10-fold increase in yield and production. This will result in massive domestic and commercial outputs and technological knowledge transfer to farmers.

3. WEALTH CREATION – By virtue of its reliance on revenue from non-renewal oil, Nigeria has yet to develop industrially. This reform is focused on wealth creation through diversified production especially in the agricultural and solid mineral sector. This requires Nigerians to choose to work, as hard work by all is required to achieve this reform.

4. TRANSPORT SECTOR – The transportation sector in Nigeria with its poor roads networks is an inefficient means of mass transit of people and goods. With a goal of a modernized industrialized Nigeria, it is mandatory that Nigeria develops its transport sector. While the reforms might take some time to take effect, it is a need that must be addressed.

5. LAND REFORMS – While hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost through unused government-owned landed asset, changes in the land laws and the emergence of land reforms will optimize Nigeria’s growth through the release of lands for commercialized farming and other large scale business by the private sector. The final result will ensure improvements and boosts to the production and wealth creation initiatives.

6. SECURITY – An unfriendly security climate precludes both external and internal investment into the nation. Thus, security will be seen as not only a constitutional requirement but also as a necessary infrastructure for the development of a modern Nigerian economy. With its particular needs, the Niger Delta security issue will be the primary focus, marshaled not with physical policing or military security, but through honest and accurate dialogue between the people and the Federal Government.

7. EDUCATION – The two-fold reforms in the educational sector will ensure firstly the minimum acceptable international standards of education for all. With that achieved, a strategic educational development plan will ensure excellence in both the tutoring and learning of skills in science and technology by students who will be seen as the future innovators and industrialists of Nigeria. This reform will be achieved through massive injection into the Education sector.

May the soul of Late Yar’adua rest in peace, Nigerians shall continue to remember him as one of their great leaders with golden heart. I am happy that our dearest Buhari is bringing great happiness to the greatest number. Yar’adua in his peaceful repose will be thinking of how Nigeria is doing! I say to my late boss, Nigeria is in the right hand – Buhari is in-charge…

Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Executive Director, Projects, NDDC writes from Port-Harcourt.

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