As Nigerians remember the late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on the 13th anniversary of his death, his wife and former First Lady, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, has said the husband never liked politics and never wanted to be president.
The late president died on May 5, 2010, exactly 13 years ago.
In a special interview with BBC Hausa, Turai stated that the late President Yar’Adua was a politician by accident as he never wanted to join politics and never planned to be president.
According to the widow of the late President, “All his life, all he ever wanted was to be a teacher, come home from school, sit with his family, and crack jokes till dusk. He wanted no politics or governance but as Allah wills, he joined politics and became the president.”
On how much she misses her husband, especially on the anniversaries of his death, she said: “I think about Yar’Adua every day, and it’s the same for me, anniversary or no anniversary – I think about him and miss him every single day.
“But I am happy on such anniversary days because the nation talks about him, and people across the country come together to say good things about him and pray for him. That truly gladdens my heart”.
Recalling the day he died, Turai narrates, “After he fell sick, I started fasting every day, and on that faithful May 5, 2010, at about iftaar time, I held his hands and told him, I am stepping out for iftaar and he nodded.
“A few minutes into my iftaar somewhere close, I was called back and I came back and met him gone. I still think I shouldn’t have gone for that iftaar. I should have stayed.
“But I thank the Almighty Allah for honouring me with Yar’Adua as a husband. It is the biggest privilege of my life and I am forever grateful to have spent a reasonable part of my life with this honourable man.
“Yar’Adua is a very simple man. He is humble and down to earth; he almost doesn’t care about comfort or luxury. Even as a governor, I remember he wore a particular wristwatch for months until the leather of the watch tore up. Yar’Adua is like that.
“He is a very good family man and he treats me and the children like royalties. I remember my first trip after his death. I got to my destination and kept staring at my phone but there was no call from him or anyone to ask how I landed. I cried no end that night,” she explained.
Speaking on the family’s relationship with his political associates and friends after his death, Turai said, “I have a very cordial relationship with all of them; there is no problem at all. We hardly meet but when we do, we joke and respect each other a lot.”
Speaking on the expectations from the incoming administration, Turai counsels the incoming First Lady, Senator Remi Tinubu to be patient and tolerant as the road ahead is tough and bumpy.
She added that she was convinced the incoming First Lady has what it takes to succeed and help her husband grow the nation.
“When some people realised how good my husband was and how much he wanted to develop the nation, they made me the scapegoat of the administration. Even when he was sick, I was attacked and all sorts of lies were said about me.
“Only a wife can tell her husband the truth; most people around the President tell him what he wants to hear. As a wife, first lady, and mother of the nation, you have to keep your husband on the path of development, growth, and selfless sacrifice,” she concluded.