Friday, December 3, 2021

Shagari Lost The Ability To Speak Long Before Death – Eldest Son Says

Former president Shehu Sahagri was buried in his modest private residence in Shagari town Sokoto state and the decision was in accordance with his will.

His eldest son, Bala Shagari, made this known while speaking with journalists in Sokoto on Sunday. He also said there was no last word from the late ex-President because he had stopped talking a long time ago due to poor health.

The Second Republic and first Executive President of Nigeria died on December 28 at the National Hospital in Abuja at the age of 93. He was buried on Saturday.

Bala explained why his father was buried at his private residence as against popular expectation that the corpse would be buried at the Hubbare cemetery.

Hubbare cemetery was where the remains of the late Jihadist, Usman Dan Fodio, were buried and had always been the exclusive cemetery for the late Sultans and departed members of the Sultanate Council. The late Shagari was the Turaki Sokoto, a ranked member of the Sultanate Council.

Bala stated, “Although there was an offer from the Sultan that the remains of the late President should be buried at the Hubbare cemetery, his will must be respected.

“He willed to be buried beside his son, the late Abdulrahman, at his Shagari residence which was carried out yesterday. There was no last word from him as he had stopped talking for a long time due to poor health.”

He added that the late President died without having malice against anybody as he had forgiven all who offended him before his death.

“He had forgiven everybody before his death and the only reason why he was not attending functions was because of his Ill-health as he hardly went out for some period.”

Dignitaries, including President Muhammadu Buhari and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, were in Sokoto State on Sunday, where they paid tributes to the late former President Shehu Shagari.


Buhari, who was at the private residence of the late ex-President at Shagari town, condoled with the family of the first executive President of the country.

Buhari was received at the Sultan Abubakar Airport by the state Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; his Kebbi State counterpart, Abubakar Bagudu, Senator Aliyu Wamakko and other All Progressives Congress leaders in the state.

The President and Tambuwal were received by the eldest son of the ex-president and District Head of Shagari, Alhaji Bala Shagari; former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa; a former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Sulaiman, traditional rulers, among others.

He condoled with other immediate members of the family including his widows before joining other sympathisers on the premises.

The condolence message of the President was read by Tambuwal. In the message, Buhari described the late President as a “landmark figure; being virtually our last link with the first independent government and the first executive elected President of Nigeria.

The message reads, “The Federal Government will in due course institute a suitable memorial to the late former President. Please accept our conferences.”

Responding, the eldest son of the deceased thanked Buhari for the visit.

Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan arrived at the late ex-President’s house at 2.30pm and described the deceased as an amiable leader that meant well for Nigeria and the world at large.

Jonathan was accompanied by the 2019 vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Peter Obi; Tambuwal and other PDP leaders in the state.

He said, “A unique habit of the late former President which only those who had interacted with him would tell is that he was a very simple and humble man in spite of the various positions he held.

“He possessed a very clean and good heart which he had shown clearly in lifetime through various engagements and activities.

“We are mourning today, but we are still happy because it is not easy reaching the age of 93. I believed he had done all the works Allah has asked him to do on earth.”

Peter Obi, who said he was representing both the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and himself, urged Nigerians to emulate the lifestyle of the late President for the betterment of the country.

The eldest son of the late Shagari, Bala, said they were happy with the visit and recalled that during the Jonathan regime, he hardly spent two weeks without calling to know about the health of their late father.

But for Buhari’, Shagari would have made Igbo president —Obiano

Meanwhile, the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has described the demise of Shagari as a “loss of a great friend” of the people of the state.

In a tribute to Shagari through his Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, Obiano recalled how cordially Shagari worked with the late Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, in the Second Republic.

The tribute reads, “Anambra State has lost a great friend with the passing of ex-President Shehu Shagari on Friday, 28.

“Ex-President Shagari put his emphasis on and he found Ndi-Anambra as devoted compatriots to help him carry out his vision.

“It took the gumption of the former president to nominate the hugely cerebral Anambra son, Dr Alex Ekwueme, as his vice-president.”

He added, “Ex-President Shagari worked effectively with Dr Ekwueme to give Nigeria a participatory democracy that accommodated all sections of the vast country from 1979 to 1983. Shagari’s belief in Ekwueme led to his re-nomination of Ekwueme for the second tenure which they won before the military tragically truncated democratic rule.

“But for the military coup, Shagari had placed Ekwueme on the saddle to succeed him as President which would have effectively put an end to the marginalization agitations following the civil war.”

Obiano recalled that in the education sector, Shagari led the charge in converting the College of Arts and Science at Oko in Anambra State to a Federal Polytechnic, while also authorising the provision of requisite infrastructure to make education qualitative.

Masari, Yakasai

Also, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, has expressed sadness over the death of Shagari.

The governor declared that with Shagari’s death, Nigeria had lost one of its last standing great statesmen.

He said, “Former President Shehu Shagari was a rare gem and his death has created a wide leadership chasm that may take a long time to fill.

“His death is particularly devastating coming at a time when our nation, buffeted by multifaceted challenges, requires his wise counsel.”

In the same vein, an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, described Shagari’s death as a great loss, not only to the members of his family, the people of his Sokoto State but to the entire nation.

In a statement, Yakasai said Shagari was a complete gentleman, respected elder statesman and the most experienced politician in Nigeria’s recent history.

He stated, ‘’A truly detribalised national leader, who regarded all Nigerians as equal without discrimination whatsoever. President Shagari was the only Nigerian leader, who enjoyed almost equal nationwide support of most Nigerians, both from the North and Southern parts of the country alike.

“During his election, as President in 1979, President Shagari received the highest votes in 12 out of the 19 states and came second in the remaining seven states of the country, a feat that has never been attained by any elected President in Nigeria so far. A true democrat, President Shagari was an embodiment of humility, tolerance and perseverance.’’

Edwin Clark

A former Federal Commissioner for Information and Convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, has eulogised the late President Shehu Shagari, saying the deceased was one of the most humble politicians.

Clark and Shagari were both appointed as federal commissioners. While Clark served as federal commissioner for information, Shagari was federal commissioner for finance.

In his tribute made available to The PUNCH on Sunday, Clark revealed that Shagari after serving as a minister and holding other top positions, he returned home to serve as a councillor.

He said, “Shehu Shagari was a man of peace, well loved by the people. His humility suffused whoever was with him. I recall that after serving at the top echelon position as member of federal cabinet, he went back to his local government and served as a councillor.

“This shows how simple and unassuming he was, not swayed by the top positions he held. He was honest, dedicated and incorruptible. I remember the first car used for his presidential campaign was bought for him by a northerner from Bauchi State.

“Alhaji Shehu Shagari was very committed to his duties, focused and knew what was required.”

Meanwhile, a video in which President Muhammadu Buhari said he did not regret ousting President Shehu Shagari through a military coup has resurfaced just as Buhari went to Sokoto State to commiserate with Shagari’s family.

In the video, which was an interview with Seun Okinbaloye on Channels TV’s Politics Today programme that was recorded in December 2014, Buhari said he had no regret removing Shagari, adding that a democratic government that was corrupt could be overthrown.

When asked if he was sorry for ousting Shagari’s government, Buhari said, “No. I am not sorry because I mentioned why we did it and we proved our case.”

When reminded of the fact that the coup veered Nigeria off the course of democratic advancement, Buhari said, “So, when you are a democracy, you are entitled to steal the country dry and put our people in a pauperised position, destroying institutions and destroying infrastructure?”

However, when asked if he blames Shagari solely for the corruption, Buhari responded: “Don’t personalise it. I will blame the Second Republic for that.”

The video, which has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, attracted comments from a wide range of persons.

Many persons have tagged Buhari and his media aides to the video.

Reacting to Shagari’s death on Friday, the President said on his official Twitter handle that he would miss the former President who was a man of integrity.

He wrote, “I mourn the departure of a patriot, who served Nigeria with humility, integrity and diligence. Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office until his demise, and will forever miss his wise counsels.”

Some other Twitter users wondered why Buhari would topple Shagari’s government and put him on house arrest for nearly two years if the latter was a man of honour as claimed by Buhari in his condolence message.

Adams Oshiomhole

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has described the late first executive President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari, as a true patriot and servant-leader.

He said Shagari who reigned between 1979 and 1983 would be fondly remembered by the APC as a fine gentleman, patriot and an elder statesman who genuinely loved Nigeria.

Oshiomhole stated this in a tribute he personally signed on Sunday.

He said, “The career and political projection of the late Shagari who started out as a school teacher, who later joined politics, held numerous high offices, culminating in his election as the President under the platform of the National Party of Nigeria was the stuff of legends.

“The country has indeed lost a rare-breed leader. While the death of the late Shagari is a sad and painful loss to the family, Sokoto State, the Council of State and indeed the entire nation, we should take solace in the fact that he lived an impactful life. The late Shagari long wrote his name into the history books. Truly, the story of our democratic and political development will be inconclusive without his footprint.”

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