It was 10 years yesterday since the death of Major General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua (rtd), the former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, under the Murtala/Obasanjo regime.
But the day did not pass without some of his lieutenants marking it one way or the other.
Like a General that he was, the late Yar'Adua commanded a strong following such, that a decade after his demise, he is still being celebrated. This contrasts sharply with our experience in recent history where the memories of some of our leaders are fast being consigned to the dustbin, hence the question; what makes his tick?
But political observers are quick to point at his leadership qualities. They described him as a quietessential politician, strategist and manger of men and resources.
Born into a royal, family, the late Yar'Adua joined the Army in 1964 at the young age of 21. For him, from that moment, there was no looking back.
Though many are quick to point to his aristocratic background as the reason for his rather quick rise in the military, those who know attribute it to his brilliance, courage and discipline.
These attributes, they say, endeared him to his superiors. Little wonder he was one of the key, players in the bloodless coup that ousted the Gowon regime.
Upon the coming on board of the Murtala Mohammed regime, he was appointed as the transport minister. Six months later, when the Obasanjo regime took over, following the assassination of General Murtala in the Dinka putsch of February 13, 1976, Yar'Adua was appointed the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (a position which made him the second in command).
As the No 2, he wielded so much influence that he was seen as the power behind the throne.
The late Yar'Adua was to later retire with his boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979 after mid-wiving the transition programme that brought to power the Shehu Shagari administration.
Still agitle and bubbling with life at 36 when he retired from the military, he sought to try his hands on some other endeavours. Business and politics caught his fancy.
Though recorded history did not say much of his background in business, he had a rich political history. His father was the first and only Minister of Lagos Affairs in the First Republic. Hence his foray into politics did not come to many as a surprise.
He founded a political group-the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).
In business, his interest covered banking, oil and gas, maritime, etc.
Popularly referred to as the Tafida, the late Yar'Adua brought his careful planning, organisational skill and adroitness to bear on the group such that in no time, the PDM become a force to be reckoned with politically.
It was, therefore, not much of a surprise to many that in the run up to the 1992 transition programme of the Ibrahim, Babangida regimes, the Tafida was coasting home to victory in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries before the process was truncated. He, alongside other presidential aspirants, was banned from participating in the election.
Even at that, his PDM structure was instrumental to the emergence of the late Chief M.K.O Abiola as the flagbearer of the SDP.
The late Abiola went on to contest the June 12, 1993 presidential election and was presumed to be coasting home to victory until the election was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
By then, the influence of the PDM had become visible for any student of the politics and power not to note.
So, when the late General Sani Abacha took over the reins of power after he sacked the Interim National Government on November 17, 1993, he embarked on a mission to ‘clip the wings' of those he was as threats to his hold on power. And one of them was the late Yar'Adua. He was roped into what has been generally referred to as a phantom coup and arrested alongside other Nigerians, including his friend and boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Tafida was arraigned before a special military tribunal and sentenced to death.
Following public outary and widespread condemnation mixed with pleas and subtle threats, the conviction was commutted to life imprisonment.
But in a twist of fate, he died at the Abakaliki Prison where he was serving his jail term on December 8, 1997. And when the others that were convicted with him were released to savour the air of freedom, following the death of Abacha on June 8, 1998, he could not. He had died. But even at that his political structure-the PDM was reputed to have provided the platform upon which former president Olusegun Obasanjo rode to power in 1999. Indeed, most of the leading members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at inception are leading members of the PDM.
Political pundits are quick to point to this as the reason behind the prominent roles some PDM members played in the first term of the Obasanjo presidency.
For instance, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged from the group. There were other members of the PDM who held strategic positions.
Though, it is a decade since his demise, many of his lieutenants still bestride the political space, pulling their own weight too. From North to South, East to West.
Some of them include the former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju bola Tinubu, former Presidential Adviser on Women Affairs, chief (Mrs) Titi Ajanaku and former Chairman, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Others are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Amb. Babagana Kingibe, former Minister of Special Duties, chief Yomi Edu and former Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Chief Duben Onyia, just to mention a few.