Tributes have continued to trail the death of the former president Shehu Shagari who was buried today, Saturday, December 29, 2018, in Shagari Village, Shagari Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
Among the numerous personalities who paid glowing tributes to the man generally seen to be a Nigeria patriot and gentleman, were the former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Chief James Onanefe Ibori, a former governor of Delta state.
Chief Obasanjo in his tribute extolled the late former president Shagari’s role in Nigeria’s pre- and post-independence politics. He gave the eulogy in a condolence letter addressed to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta.
He described late Shagari as a humble, patriotic, amiable and notable Nigerian leader.
Obasanjo expressed his deep respect for the achievements of the late Shagari in the course of his long life, describing him as one of the principal actors in Nigeria’s pre-independence and post-independence politics.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say how deeply grieved I was to hear of the death of His Excellency, President Shehu Usman Shagari.
“On behalf of my family and on my own behalf, I wish to commiserate with you, the entire members of his family and the good people of Sokoto State over the passing of this humble, patriotic, amiable and notable Nigerian leader.
“He held various positions as a parliamentarian in the Federal House of Representatives representing Sokoto West in 1954, as a Parliamentarian Secretary 1958-1959, as a Federal Minister and Commissioner in different ministries and capacities between 1959 and 1975.
“I remember his role as Commissioner for Finance, while he and I served in the government of General Yakubu Gowon. He was thorough.
“And later, I saw him as my successor in government as a democratically-elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983.
“In all his national assignments, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great commitment in the discharge of his duties.
“He was a unifying force for the nation and his contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot easily be forgotten.
“In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility.
“President Shagari died at a time the country and its leadership is in dire need of such leadership, experience and wisdom to tackle the multi-faceted challenges facing the nation.
“While expressing our sympathies to you, the family of the deceased and the government and people of Sokoto State, we pray the Almighty Allah grant him eternal rest and give comfort to all those he left behind,” Obasanjo said.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki in his tribute expressed sadness over the death of the first elected President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Shagari as the last of the First and Second Republic titans.
He said that Shagari was a man of peace who dedicated the greater part of his life to the service of the fatherland.
He noted that the former President would be remembered for his immense contributions to the political and socio-economic development of the country as well as his peaceful disposition.
“Let us be consoled by the fact that Alhaji Shagari lived his life in the service of God and country.
“He was a quintessential public servant; having served in seven cabinet positions and as a legislator. He was the first elected President who was Chief Executive of the country. He dedicated his best years in the service of our nation and its people and will be dearly missed.
“He was a man who worked for the unity of Nigeria and stabilized the country during the 50 months of the Second Republic despite the challenges of the then new presidential system of government operated by the country.
“Since his exit from power, he has remained a silent beacon of strength for the country”, the Senate President stated.
In his tribute and condolences to Governor Nigerians, and to the Government and people of Sokoto State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State in a statement today by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, commiserated with the entire Shagari village, the Sokoto Caliphate, and the Shagari family, over the loss of the former President, noting that the deceased’s regular counsels on national issues and mediations for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.
The statement read in part: “On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta State, I join the entire nation and the people of Sokoto State to mourn the passing of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was President in the Second Republic.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa believes Alhaji Shagari worked assiduously to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people through the Green Revolution where he embarked on the distribution of seed and fertilliser to farmers to increase nationwide productivity in farming, adding that “Shagari was a legendary public servant; who dedicated his life to the service of our nation in several capacities as minister, legislator and finally President.
“The Governor affirms that Shagari’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria had been a major encouragement to many governments, recalling the personal sacrifices he made in helping to lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria before he was overthrown in 1983.
“As a country we will miss his wise counsel on national issues and peaceful co-existence especially now that the nation is entering an election year.
“The Governor prays that the almighty God will receive the soul of the former President, and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
For Chief James Onanefe Ibori, a former governor of Delta State who also joined the throng of Nigerians to mourn the passing of former President Shehu Shagari, described Shagari as a gentlemanly President who showed that power, no matter how mighty, could be used moderately. He showed us that a President was first of all a citizen just like every other Nigerian and was only a President to serve the cause of the citizenry.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Ibori said that Nigerians should do well to learn the right lessons that abound in the life of Shagari.
“Even after leaving office on the first day of 1994, he maintained a dignity that was uncommon in our shores. He gave his advice to the nation or the leaders when it was necessary, always desirous of pointing out the right way in every matter, never forgetting for once that as a man who was voted into the exalted office of the President, the nation had become his constituency,” Ibori stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation led the Federal Government delegation to the burial of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari in Sokoto today.
Shagari, 93, was laid to rest in his hometown Shagari, in Shagari Local Government Area of Sokoto state at about 3.30 pm.
The funeral prayer was led by Professor Shehu Galadanchi, former Vice Chancellor, Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University Sokoto.
Shagari’s corpse arrived at the Sultan Abubakar Airport, Sokoto earlier and was received by Governor Aminu Tambuwal, alongside members of the state executive council.
Other dignitaries that attended the funeral prayers included governors of Kebbi and Zamfara states, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, former Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, Senator Aliyu Wamakko and former Minister, Mukhtar Shagari.