Twenty years after his suspicious death in Abakaliki prison, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua will be remembered on Friday in Abuja.
The event will be chaired by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was military head of state from 1976-79 with Yar’Adua as his second-in-command.
Both Obasanjo, a retired general, and Yar’Adau, a retired major general, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 for allegedly plotting a coup against the military government of Sani Abacha.
While Yar’Adua died in prison in 1997, Obasanjo was released in 1998 by a new government and he went on to serve two terms as elected president from 1999-2007.
According to a statement issued by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, organisers of the event, a memorial service will celebrate Yar’Adua’s life of service and his commitment to national unity at the National Mosque same day.
“The 20th anniversary is an opportunity to remember one of Nigeria’s foremost contemporary leaders who died in an Abakiliki Prison on December 8, 1997,” Jacqueline W. Farris, the director-general of the foundation, said.
“Shehu Yar’Adua not only fought during the civil war to unite the country but paid the supreme price to ensure that democracy is enthroned in Nigeria”.
Others expected at the occasion are Ernest Koroma, president of Sierra Leone, Paul Tarfa, retired army general, Adamu Ciroma, former minister of finance, Kola Abiola, son of late Moshood Abiola, and Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation.
Yar’Adua Centre, the venue, is named after the late politician who unsuccessfully sought to be president in 1992.
His younger brother, Umaru, was elected president in 2007 but died in 2010.
Their father, Musa Yar’Adau, was minister of Lagos affairs in the independence era.