Before becoming the handpicked successor of Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's new President, Umaru Yar'Adua, was the little-known Governor of a remote northern state. But as the new leader of Africa's most populous nation and its largest oil producer, his decisions now have a global impact. Shortly before his May 29 inauguration, Yar'Adua, 56, spoke with TIME's Gilbert Da Costa about Nigeria's future, corruption, and being his own man.
TIME: Some critics claim you are Obasanjo's puppet.
Yar'Adua: Puppet? You obviously don't know me. I'm nobody's puppet.