By Danjuma James with agency reports from Muhammad Nasir Bello & Habibu Harisu
Sokoto, Dec. 29, 2018
The remains of Nigeria’s second republic President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was laid to rest on Saturday at his hometown in Shagari Local Government Area of Sokoto State, a distance of about 50 kilometres from the Sokoto city centre.
Shagari died on Friday at the age of 93 at the National Hospital, Abuja.
His remains were received by the Governor of Sokoto State, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal at Sultan Abubakar III International Airport Sokoto at about 1: 00 p.m.
He was later buried at exactly 3.30pm in his house.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered flags in military and paramilitary formations as well as public buildings in the country to fly at half-mast in honour of the late President while Gov. Tambuwal has declared Monday, December 31 a public holiday to honor the late leader and for prayers to be offered for the repose of his soul.
Also, in honor of the departed nationalist, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki will on Monday lead a powerful delegation to Sokoto to condole with the Shagari family, the government and people of Sokoto State, on the demise of Alhaji Shagari..
The funeral prayer at the burial ceremony was led by Prof. Shehu Galadanchi, a former Vice Chancellor of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and dignitaries that attended included Wazirin Sokoto, Prof. Sambo Junaidu as well as Gov. Tambuwal and the Governors of Kebbi and Zamfara States, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu and Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, respectively.
Others were Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim, Sokoto Deputy Governor, Alhaji Manniru Dan’iya, Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Mera, former governors of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and Senator Aliyu Wamakko, former Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega as well as former Minister of Water Resources, Barrister Mukhtari Shehu Shagari.
The Federal Government delegation at the funeral was led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and Minister of Commerce, Trade and Investment, Hajia A’isha Abubakar.
Mustapha described late Shagari as a humble leader who contributed immensely to democracy in Nigeria.
The SGF enjoined Nigerians to emulate his good qualities and condoled the people of Sokoto State and Nigerians in general.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, led the military processions at the funeral.
In his condolence message, Governor Tambuwal condoled the family of Shagari, the people of Sokoto State and Nigerians at large.
Tambuwal described the death as a great loss and prayed Allah to grant him eternal bliss.
He said Shagari was a national and international statesman, who made unparalleled contributions to the development of education, as a teacher at basic level and as President of Nigeria.
He said Shagari’s administration witnessed social and economic advancement, setting the pace for the nation’s industrialisation, particularly through the establishment of the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill.
He said that Shagari’s Presidency played a frontline role in the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 and the anti apartheid struggle in South Africa.
Sen. Aliyu Wamakko (APC-Sokoto) also recalled the agricultural programme – the Green Revolution – by late President Shagari.
He described late Shagari’s death as a great loss, especially his sterling virtues of unrivalled humility, piety and patriotism.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that prayers were offered for the departed soul and the SGF extended federal government’s condolences to the deceased family, people of Sokoto and Nigerians at large.
The deceased held traditional title of Turakin Sokoto and is survived by several children and grand children and great grand children.
Shagari was President of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983 and was toppled three months into his second term in office following a military coup.
The former leader was born February 25, 1925 in Shagari in Sokoto State.
After his early education, he worked as a teacher for a brief period before entering politics in 1951.
In 1954, he was elected to the Federal House of Representatives.
He served seven times in ministerial or cabinet posts as a Federal Minister and Federal Commissioner from 1958–1975, before he was elected President in 1979.
He won a disputed re-election in 1983 that accelerated a military coup three months later after he was sworn in and the economy was on a precipitous decline.
President Buhari, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Saturday, paid tribute once again to the late President Shagari, directing that flags should fly at half-mast in military and para-military formations, as well as public buildings for three days, starting from Sunday, December 30, 2018.
Adesina said that “in a statement he personally signed, President Buhari declared: “The late President represented almost the last link with the government of our Founding Fathers under Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He was also the first elected President of Nigeria.
“The late Alhaji Shagari was a man of many parts: teacher, local authority administrator, politician, minister, and finally President. He served his country with dedication and moderation.
“Over the years, through interaction at the Council of State, he and I came to understand and appreciate each other, whatever the differences we may have had in the past.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, myself and family, I send my condolences to the people of Nigeria, particularly to the late President’s family and the Government and people of Sokoto State. May his soul rest in peace.”
Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki will on Monday lead a powerful delegation to Sokoto to condole with the Shagari family, the government and people of Sokoto State, on the demise of Alhaji Shagari..
In a statement in Ilorin Saturday, December 29, 2018, Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that Dr. Saraki saw the death of the nationalist and the last of the Nigerian titans who directed the affairs of the country in its teething days in the First and Second Republics as a national loss.
“The Senate President will be at the head of a delegation that will visit Sokoto not only to commiserate with the family of the late nationalist but with the people of Sokoto State and the entire country because late Alhaji Shagari represented so many good pages in the history book of our dear country.
“At the most critical times in the life of the nation, Alhaji Shagari was there as part of the group directing the affairs. He was part of the people who won independence from the colonialists, proved that Nigerians could direct the affairs of their country, saved Nigeria from disintegration when the unity of the country was threatened and was the pioneer elected President of Nigeria when the nation first experimented with the presidential system of government.
“Even in his retirement from politics, he silently worked for the unity and progress of Nigeria. Alhaji Shagari was a genuine democrat. He had been a stabilizing factor in Nigeria. He deserves a special honour from all Nigerians. Both the Federal and Sokoto State Governments should name befitting monuments in his honour”, Saraki stated.
A statement by the Director-General, Media and Public Affairs to Gov. Tambuwal, Abubakar Shekara on Saturday, announced that the Governor has, in consultation with the Sultanate Council, declared Monday, December 31st, 2018 Public Holiday and Special Prayer Day on the death of Alhaji Shagari.