|• Uncompleted building in his name|
After his eight years as governor, Yar’Adua became president in 2007. Even as president, he still maintained a low profile and austere lifestyle. All these are common knowledge. But what many may not know is that despite all the years he was in high public offices, controlling enormous public resources, Yar’Adua did not build or buy even a single house. While his colleagues were acquiring magnificent mansions all over the world, he was contented with the family inheritance.
Saturday Sun investigation in Katsina revealed that the late president had only one house when he was alive. The house, it was gathered, was a gift from his late elder brother, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. It is located in the Government Reserved Area (GRA), Katsina, near the Customs and Excise office.
Checks revealed, however, that while Yar’Adua did not build a house, his wife, Turai, acquired one when the former president was governor. The property, a white bungalow, located on Queen Amina Road, Katsina, is where the former First Lady and her children now live.
Sources revealed that before Yar’Adua died, some friends and associates, apparently scandalised that the president of the country did not have a befitting house, was building one for him behind Katsina Government House. The project, an elegant duplex, which is only waiting for fittings, was abandoned shortly after his death last year.
Those close to Yar’Adua told Saturday Sun that the late president’s simple lifestyle was legendary. Particularly, they say that he was not infested with the theft syndrome. They linked this to his background, having grown up in a family, where his grandfather and father, though comfortable, did not believe in excessive wealth.
It was gathered that when Yar’Adua was governor, he could hardly be distinguished from ordinary folks. Top government officials in the state, who worked with him when he was governor, revealed that the late president used to stroll out of the Government House to maitaba (cigarette shop) to buy Benson and Hedges cigarette. They said that he would light the cigarette and smoke leisurely, as he returned to his office or residence.
Offering insightful perspectives into Yar’Adua’s life, a former aide, who wished to be identified simply as Alhaji Bako, said: “When he was governor, he used to send his caps for re-treading, due to old age. Rather than buying caps all the time, which he considered a waste, he used to send his worn caps to be refurbished. He was that sort of person.”
Bako also said: “At the time Yar’Adua started to campaign for the office of president, he did not have more than 10 pairs of babanriga. It was a Katsina businessman, who sewed dozens of babanriga and gave to him. Even things as ordinary as clothes meant nothing to him.”