By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government will in due course institute a suitable memorial to immortalize the country’s first Executive President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who passed away Friday December 28, 2018, aged 93.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari made the promise Sunday in Sokoto while paying a condolence visit to the Shagari family.
In a letter to the Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, read by the governor at the event, the President stated:
“I received the very sad news of the passing away of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This, indeed, is a grievous loss, which will be felt throughout Nigeria, irrespective of any difference. The late Alhaji Shagari was a landmark figure being virtually our last link to the post-independence government of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa , and the first elected Executive President of Nigeria.
“Please convey to his immediate family, the government and the people of Sokoto State my heartfelt condolences on the passing away of this great statesman.
“The Federal Government will in due course institute a suitable memorial to the late former President.
“May his soul rest in peace.”
Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party had called for the immortalisation of former President Shehu Shagari who died Friday.
Uche Secondus, the national chairman of the party, said Nigeria had lost one of its “most compassionate and humane leaders”.
Mr Secondus, in a statement issued by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, on Saturday, said that Mr Shagari was the last man standing among principled leaders upon whom the democratic foundation of the country was established.
He said that Mr Shagari as president in the Second Republic ensured that his reign caused minimal pain to the people because of his humane approach to governance.
The national chairman said that Nigeria would miss Mr Shagari ’s fatherly counsel, especially at this time when the country is passing through difficult challenges ahead of a major election.
“The Second Republic president will be remembered for his principled approached to governance and his God-fearing disposition as evidenced in the way and manner he piloted the affairs of the country within the ambit of the rule of law, without nepotism, bias of religion, tribe or geography from 1979 to 1983,” Mr Secondus said.
The PDP national chairman further said that the former president’s legacies in the political evolution in the county would endure.
He added that Nigerian politicians had great things to learn from the way and manner the great democrat operated while he held sway in the nation’s polity.
He said that the PDP had a lot in common with the late president in the development of democracy in the country and said that he would be greatly missed.
Mr Secondus charged the people of Sokoto state and the immediate family of the late former president to take solace in the fact that Mr Shagari lived a peaceful life and left behind huge legacies as a teacher, politician, and father.
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan has also condoled with the family of late ex-President Shehu Shagari, describing him as an amiable leader that meant well for Nigeria and the world at large.
Jonathan was accompanied on the visit by Mr. Peter Obi, running mate of the 2019 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, as well as other PDP leaders in the state.
He said the late former president played a key role in the development of Nigeria and the democratic system.
“A unique habit of the late former President, which only those who interacted with him will tell is, 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 showed clearly in his life time thorough various engagements and activities.
“We are mourning today however, we are still happy because it is not easy to reach the age of 93.
“I believe he has done all the works Allah has asked him to do on earth,’’ Jonathan said.
The former President encouraged family members of the deceased to be happy because their father impacted on all Nigerians.
Also, Peter Obi who represented the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, urged Nigerians to emulate the lifestyle of the late former President for the betterment of the country.
Responding, the eldest son of the deceased, Alhaji Bala Shagari thanked former President Jonathan for the visit.
Shagari recalled the concern and solidarity shown by former president Jonathan when their father was ill.
Similarly, the Governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in Zamfara state, Sen. Sa’idu Dansadau, also described the death of the former President as a great loss to the country, Africa and the whole world at large.
Visitors who thronged the residence of the former President included a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida among others.
Also, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has expressed profound sadness over the death of former President and Turakin Sokoto, Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari, saying that Nigeria has lost one of its last standing great statesmen.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, Governor Masari described the late leader as one of the leading conscience of the nation, who lived an exemplary life defined by uncommon simplicity, in the tradition of the late Premier of the North and Sardaunan Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello.
Shehu Usman Shagari was born in 1925 in the northern Shagari village founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa’i, who was also the Village Head, and took the name Shagari as his family name.
His name, Usman, means “companion”. He was raised in a polygamous family, and was the sixth child born into the family.