LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, long plagued by poor
health, has died at age 58, almost three months after his vice
president assumed control of Africa's most populous nation, Yar'Adua's
Yar'Adua died at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Aso Rock
presidential villa with his wife Turai at his side, presidential
spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi told The Associated Press, his voice cracking
with emotion. Adeniyi did not give a cause of death. A Muslim, Yar'Adua
will be buried on Thursday.
Yar'Adua took office in 2007 in a
country notorious for corruption and gained accolades for being the
first leader to publicly declare his personal assets when taking office —
setting up a benchmark for comparison later to see if he
misappropriated funds. But enthusiasm for his presidency waned as time
passed and he made no headway in fighting entrenched corruption.
had tried to peacefully end an insurgency in Nigeria's oil-producing
Niger Delta that had attacked the petroleum infrastructure, allowing
Angola to overtake Nigeria as Africa's no. 1 oil exporter. Those efforts
frayed after Yar'Adua became gravely ill.