13 Years After: “Yar’Adua not corrupt, he lived a simple life,” says Wife, Turai

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua passed away around 13 years ago. His wife, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, recently spoke about life after the death of her husband. She described the late Yar’Adua as a very simple man who was neither corrupt nor wasteful.

On Saturday, Turai participated in a conversation with the BBC Hausa Service that our correspondent observed.

The former First Lady commented on how much she mourned her late husband she said, “praise be to Allah. I don’t feel anything. I’m used to it. I think about him everyday. Everyday seems like any other day. The only difference is that today; people gathered to pray for him, eulogize him and I’m happy. I thank them.”

She recalled that she had been fasting on the day that the previous president Yar’Adua passed away. In fact, I haven’t stopped fasting since he got sick, and I didn’t stop even after he passed away. He was so lying down and staring at me when it was time for me to break my fast.

” I was fasting on that day. In fact I’ve been fasting non stop from when he fell ill, even after he died I did not stopped. So when it was time for me to break my fast, he was lying down looking at me.

“I felt he does not wanted me to leave. I told him I was going to break my fast. He then shook his head and I left. I was later called and I met him struggling with his breath. That moment still lingers in my mind. I even quarried myself on why I left to break my fast, I should’ve stayed.”

When asked about her current situation, she said, ” I’m a Muslim. I know life and death are realities. I know Allah gives and takes life.So what can I do ?I can only thank Allah who gave me and had taken away. I can’t be angry with Him for taking his life. Praise be to Allah.”

She described Yar’Adua’s life and his unassuming personality, saying that he was “simple.” “He was not carried away by worldly things. For example, he can be using a wrist watch continuously until the strap gets broken into two.”

“Unless if I sees it, he would continue to use it like that. He was a very simple person who did not attached importance to worldly things. Even leadership, Allah destined he would be but he wasn’t that ambitious about it.”

Regarding the joyful times they shared, she remarked, ” Our marriage was full of happiness. In fact people were saying they had never seen our kind of relationship. I was like a new bride everyday. That was why he always returned home straight, from the office.

“So, even if I travelled, once I reached my destination he would be the first person I would call. That was what I really missed. The first time I travelled and no one called me to say “Turai how was your trip?” That was the first time I cried over his death.”

Hajiya Turai spoke about her life after leaving the government, “Thanks be to Allah. Even while in government, I was not deeply involved. In my life, I value the home front. I was with my children and grand children. If you see me going to the First Lady’s office, then there was work to be done.

“If there’s no work to be done, I can stay home for 3 months without going to the office. I belonged to the home and even after his death, I continued looking after the children and grand children. I thank Allah, they are all very successful. None has gone astray. I thank Allah for that.”

After her husband’s passing, she spoke about her ties with his political allies and those working in President Jonathan’s government, saying,
“We thank Allah. We’ve been together. But truly, I’m a woman who does not involve myself in affairs that are not mine. Even after his death, most of my children were in London studying. So most of the time I was there. But if I meet them, we exchange pleasantries as normal. But truly, there’s no problem.”

In response to the question of whether she planned to get involved in politics, she stated “No no, I don’t. I knew what’s politics. I was in politics during my school days when my husband was President of Katsina Students Union. I was an executive member. I was in politics since then. But when Umaru died, my politics also died. But the children and grand children, by the will of Allah.”

She asked if any of her children had political aspirations, she responded: “Well, you know even my husband was not keen about politics. It was Allah who made him so. His life ambition was to teach and return home to me and his children. But for my children and grand children I will continue to pray for them, for whichever pathway Allah has chosen for them. “

“Thanks be to Allah,” she added, offering advise to the next First Lady. “My advice for her is that she should be patient and continously be patient.” This is because if her husband would be like Umaru, who stood for the right course, she would be the target. That was what happened to me. My husband was not taking alcohol, he does not go after women, he was not corrupt. So the only thing they could do to upset him because he loved his wife, was to attack his wife.

“So she should be patient and never relent in advising him. She is the only one that will genuinely advise him. Others would only tell him what he wants to hear. The wife is the only one that would give him information and ask him to investigate. She should leave other things to Allah.”

She responded, “Well, even he ( Yar’Adua) knew it was coming,” when asked about how she handled critiques back then. So he often said, ” Turai please be patient. This is the price you’ve to pay for being my wife.” But husbands love their wives. Anyone who would say my husband loves me; he too loves his wife. So it’s natural. Whatever he doesn’t like, I don’t like either. When I was First Lady, I was cooking. I cook food for him.

“Even though I met a kitchen, I set up my own kitchen and engaged a private cook who I paid. So if you have a good understanding with your wife and you don’t quarrel, they would say your wife dominates you. It’s nothing but understanding. If you want to stay peacefully with your husband, avoid what he doesn’t like. That’s the panacea for peace.”

“My advice to Nigerians and looking at how this country has become, they should continue to pray,” she said when asked for advice for the people of Nigeria. Only prayers can heal Nigeria. The way things happened, only Allah will remedy the situation.

“Any mortal who says he can, is telling lies. So both Muslims and Christians should pray for Nigeria. We’ve no any other country but Nigeria. Even if we go on exile, we shall return to Nigeria, where we have our relations. May Allah uplift Nigeria and bring an end to these myriad of problems in an easy way.”


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