President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have expressed sadness at the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, and commiserated with his family.
President Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media & Publicity Femi Adesina, described the late Shagari as of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
He said: “On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Nigeria, it is with immense sadness that I received the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari which event happened Friday in Abuja.
“The President described the death as the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged. President Buhari recalled part of the birthday message he (Buhari) sent to him last February when he said, “ we are enthralled and regaled with the many years of unequalled patriotism, sacrifices and contributions to national development. More specifically, we celebrate the role modelling qualities of integrity, diligence and humility that have been the hallmark of your visionary leadership.
“President Buhari is, however, grateful to God that Alhaji Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life, which he urges Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate.
“Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office until his demise and will forever miss his wise counsel. He prayed that Almighty God will comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourn him and will grant the soul of the late nonagerian eternal rest”.
Former Lagos governor and All Progressives Congress national stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on his part, described Second Republic President Shagari as a statesman, patriot and political stabilizer who served the country well in different capacities.
In a statement last night by his Media Office signed by Tunde Rahman, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “Former President Shehu Shagari was a statesman, patriot and stabilizer who believed in and worked for the unity of this country.
“He served Nigeria in different capacities -administrator, provincial secretary, House of Representatives member, minister in several ministries and president- and in each capacity he did excellently well. He contributed his quota to the growth and development of the country.
“He particularly helped in advancing our democracy. President Shagari had the temperament for good leadership. He was a decent man.
“In the Second Republic, as the first executive president, his was a moderating voice, a stabilising factor. Even within the defunct NPN, with all its reputation, he was of a different type. He wore integrity on his collar like a badge of honour.
“His background as a school teacher, his maturity and moderation helped to mould his politics. He was true and pure. He was humble and humane. He led a Spartan way of life. He was modest and unpretentious. Truthful and sincere. He was generally a good man.
“He saw the good qualities of his political opponent, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he gifted him the highest honor in the land, the GCFR award.
“Although we never wish our elders leave us, it is nonetheless pleasing that President Shagari left us at an advanced age. My condolences to his family and associates. Our prayer is that Almighty Allah grant him Aljannah Fridaus. May He also grant the family the strength to live without him and to carry on with President Shagari’s legacies of commitment to national unity and excellence in service.
“I commiserate with Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the government and people of Sokoto State. I commiserate with the Muslim Ulamma in Nigeria and the world. May our country be blessed with more of people like President Shagari”.