President Yar’Adua at age 58 died after an ongoing struggle with an acute heart condition. A state funeral will be held in his native Katsina, followed by seven days of national morning.
Goodluck Jonathan took the oath office on Thursday morning. He will serve as Nigeria’s president until the next election; it is expected to be held next year. In November President Yar’ Adua went to Saudi Arabia for care. He was treated for inflammation of tissue around his heart. He returned to Nigeria in February but remained out of public view. Jonathan has been serving as the acting president since President Yar’ Adua’s return. Yar’Adua was elected in 2007 in an election mired in controversy and accusations of vote-rigging. “There was ballot snatching, voters were molested, voters were beaten and also payment inducement to vote for certain candidates,” said Eneruvie Enakoko of the Civil Liberties Organization, a human rights group in Lagos.
Despite the alleged incidences, President Yar’ Adua will be remembered as a peacemaker who fought to improve the lives of 150 million people. “Our collective goal is to deliver for our children a Nigeria better, stronger, more peaceful, more secure and more prosperous than we met it.” Yar’Adua said. United States President Barrack Obama and the United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon conveyed their condolences. U.N. Chief, Ban Ki-moon said, “He will be remembered, among other things his efforts to bring peace and stability to the Niger Delta region and for his commitment to democratic governance and electoral reforms,” Ban said in a statement.
President Obama praised his efforts, “to promote peace and stability in Africa through his support of Nigerian peacekeeping efforts as well as his strong criticism of undemocratic actions in the region.” Many will remember President Yar’ Adua’s decision to offer amnesty to militants in the trouble oil-rich Niger Delta, an action that lead to fragile peace in area that was affected by years of conflict.