President Jonathan Promises to Uphold Yar'Adua's Legacies

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This Day (Lagos)

Imam Imam And Ibrahim Shuaibu

9 May 2010

Katsina — President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Katsina promised to uphold the legacies of his predecessor, late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

Jonathan gave the assurance yesterday in Katsina when he visited the family of his late boss.

He said: "The country has lost a gem. I promised never to allow his good legacies to fade away. I will strive hard to continue with them for the betterment of the populace."

The Third Day Prayer session for the late President Yar'Adua held in the family house yesterday.

President Jonathan, who also participated in the prayer session, said the only way to immortalise the late President was by way of ensuring continuity "in his laudable policies and programmes which we shall do. God willing, to this end, my doors will be wide open for advice and guidance."

Amidst outpouring of emotions and tears, Jonathan told Yar'Adua's mother, Hajiya Habiba Dada, that the death of the former President had devastated him personally and that he was traumatised. He described the late president as a man of honour, respect, humility and patriotism who had the interest of the country at heart.

He told the late president's mother, who was weeping as she listened to the new President alongside her daughter-in-law, former First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar'Adua, that the contributions of Yar'Adua to the socio-economic development of the country would forever remain indelible, and commiserated with the Yar'Adua family and Nigerians for the loss of the former President.

Jonathan, who arrived Katsina Airport at about 10:56 am on board a Nigerian Air Force Jet with registration number 5N-FGS, was accompanied by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, Senate President, David Mark, Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Raji Fashola (SAN); Dr. Bukola Saraki of Kwara State and Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi of Zamfara State.

Also on the President's entourage were Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) and Nigeria's High Commissioner to South Africa, Brig-Gen Buba Marwa (rtd), among other government dignitaries.

He was received at the family house by the elder brother of the late president, Alhaji Yusuf London, who later ushered him into the main house to first condole with the mother and then later, Turai.

Jonathan wrote the following words in the condolence register: "It is sad to express my feelings over the death of my boss, my brother; my friend, who asked me to join him to run the affairs of this country, will leave me behind at this time. I lack words to express my personal feelings, God knows. May his soul rest in peace."

The President, who was dressed in pink traditional Hausa attire with a cap to match, was cheered on by thousands of mourners, who thronged the family home for the Third Day Prayer.

The prayer was led by the Chief Imam of Jibiya Mosque Malam Ibrahim Sabiu. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mahmoud Yayale Ahmed, also offered a prayer on behalf of the president while they were in the inner room, with the mother of the late president.

THISDAY confirmed that after condoling the mother, Jonathan was taken to another separate room where he commiserated with Turai and her children. The incumbent First Lady, Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan, who arrived the late Yar'Adua's residence 40 minutes before her husband and three former First Ladies including Hajiya Ajoke Murtala Muhammad, Hajiya Maryam Abacha and Justice Fatima Abdulsalami Abubakar and wives of other prominent Nigerians were staying with the widow.

According to the Agence France Press (AFP), male visitors who filed in, barefooted, knelt down before Yar'Adua's widow in a customary Islamic greeting and walked out almost immediately. Dozens of women relations or sympathisers were seen in the lobby with her.

The AFP also reported that at the family house yesterday, Jonathan, whose visit took place under heavy security with dozens of armed soldiers and policemen in position around the one-storey, yellow home, had his condolence message in English interpreted to Yar'Adua's mother in Hausa language.

At the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdul Muminu Kabir Usman, Jonathan described the late Yar'Adua as a man that he enjoyed working with "right from our days as Governors and as his deputy".

He said Yar'Adua was a man of simplicity and reasoning whose interests were always how to ensure the growth and development of "our dear country".

Jonathan said: "Yar'Adua's death is indeed devastating and traumatising. I had a good working relation with him since our days when we were Governors and by the time I became his deputy, I found more beautiful things about him, which remain dear to me personally".

In his address, the Emir, Alhaji Usman, said his Emirate in Council and the people of Katsina would remain loyal to Jonathan as he manages the nation's affairs.

He said the death of Yar'Adua was a great loss to the Emirate, the people of Katsina State, Nigeria and Africa in general, but added that the people were comforted by "the Almighty Allah who gives and takes life."

The Emir advised Jonathan to carry everybody along in the discharge of his responsibilities.

Kabir, specifically, advised the President to concentrate on poverty eradication, creation of employment opportunities, food security and power supply in order to move the nation forward.

The Emir also charged the President to take bold steps to actualise the hope of Nigerians, by addressing the lingering problems of security, unemployment, poverty eradication, power supply and ensure food security.

He said: "It is God that gives power to whoever He wishes; I will advise you to please concentrate on the issue of food security, poverty eradication, security, unemployment and power supply. These are the basic things that Nigerians need".

In his condolence message, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, urged Nigerians to rally round the new president with a view to moving the country forward

He said: "I pray Nigerians should support Jonathan to continue with the laudable legacies left behind by the late president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, for the general interest of our country."

Abdulsalami spoke with reporters in Katsina shortly after the Third Day Prayer for the late Yar'Adua, and said that the call become necessary in view of the circumstances that made him president.

He also said: "Yar'Adua as a gentlemen had a vision for the country and who did the best for the country, Yar'Adua's legacies needed to be upheld by his successor."

Yar'Adua, 58, died late Wednesday in Abuja after a protracted heart ailment that kept him out of the office since November. He was buried Thursday at his Katsina home town.

Jonathan had since February been acting president of Nigeria. On Thursday, hours after Yar'Adua's death, he was inaugurated to complete the late president's mandate before elections due in May next year.

Five Nigerian heads of state have died in office so far since 1960.

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