Former President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, is dead. He died on Friday at National Hospital in Abuja at 6:40pm. He was aged 93 years.
Shagari was Nigerian President from 1979 to 1983. He won a re-lection but his reign was cut shot by a coup d’etat that brought in Muhammadu Buhari as military head of state.
Late former President Shagari was born on February 25, 1925 in Shagari, Sokoto State. He joined politics in 1951 having hitherto worked for a short period as a teacher after his early education. Three years after joining politics, he was elected to the federal House of Representatives. That was in 1954.
He served seven times in a cabinet post as a federal minister and federal commissioner from 1958–1975, before he was elected Nigeria’s President in 1979. Late former President Shagari won a disputed re-election in 1983. This culminated in the military coup that took place just three months after he was sworn in for the second term.
Many well-meaning individuals both local and international, have been sending in their condolence messages to Nigeria and indeed the family. For example, former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has described him as a nation builder who sought to bridge the gap between the south and the north.
His words: “Late President Shagari was a very nice man with a clean heart. As a President he was humble, sincere and selfless in service. He was in deed a true democrat who left no one in doubt about his loyalty to his country, love for peace, desire for unity and vision for a greater Nigeria.
“Shagari was an exceptional leader and exemplary statesman whose modesty, commitment to common good and deep sense of patriotism will continue to inspire many generations of Nigerians. He will be remembered as a teacher, parliamentarian and President whose model of service was anchored on diligence, broad-mindedness and humility.”
Family sources have confirmed that the former leader will be buried tomorrow. The body of the former President will be flown to Sokoto from Abuja for burial on Saturday according to the family. This was announced today by his grandson, Nuradeen Mahe, who told newsmen in Sokoto that the late President would be buried tomorrow Saturday in accordance with Islamic rites.
According to Mahe, the late former President was flown to Abuja on Christmas Day due to his deteriorating health condition.