Nigeria is mourning the loss of President Umaru Yar'Adua, and the people of the United States join with them in honoring his commitment to public service and his passionate belief in his nation's great potential and bright future.
Elected in 2007 in the first transfer of power from one civilian president to another since Nigeria's independence in 1960, President Yar'Adua worked to promote peace and stability in Africa, supporting peacekeeping efforts and speaking out against undemocratic actions in the region. He was committed to creating lasting peace and prosperity within Nigeria's own borders, even as he struggled with the illness that forced him to step back from his governing duties earlier this year.
Continuing that work will be an important part of honoring his legacy. Elected democratically, he believed in building strong democratic institutions based on constitutional processes, and he hoped his country will continue on this civilian, democratic path.
The mantle now passes to the nation's new president, Goodluck Jonathan. The United States applauds his timely inauguration and his efforts to unify the country in the face of the many challenges facing it. At this time of mourning, the Nigerian people should know they have a friend and enduring partner in the United States.