Obasanjo, Okowa mourn Shagari, praise his leadership qualities

David Adenekan
David Adenekan
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Olusegun Obasanjo

Top Nigerians have continued to pay tribute to the late former President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as forthright, dedicated and a committed leader.

Similarly, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State described Shagari as a leader who worked assiduously to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people of the country.

Obasanjo, in a condolence letter addressed to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State said he commiserated with the entire members of his family and the good people of Sokoto State over the passing of “this humble, patriotic, amiable and notable Nigerian leader.”

Said Obasanjo:  “He held various positions as a parliamentarian in the Federal House of Representatives representing Sokoto West in 1954, as a Parliamentarian Secretary 1958-1959, as a Federal Minister and Commissioner in different ministries and capacities between 1959 and 1975.

“I remember his role as Commissioner for Finance, while he and I served in the government of General Yakubu Gowon. He was thorough.

“And later, I saw him as my successor in government as a democratically-elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983.

“In all his national assignments, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great commitment in the discharge of his duties.

“He was a unifying force for the nation and his contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot easily be forgotten. In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility.

“President Shagari died at a time the country and its leadership is in dire need of such leadership, experience and wisdom to tackle the multi-faceted challenges facing the nation.

“While expressing our sympathies to you, the family of the deceased and the government and people of Sokoto State, we pray the Almighty Allah grant him eternal rest and give comfort to all those he left behind.”

In his tribute, Governor Okowa of Delta State, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said Shagari’s regular counsels on national issues and mediations for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.

He said Shagari worked very well to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people through the Green Revolution where he embarked on the distribution of seed and fertilliser to farmers to increase nationwide productivity in farming.

He added that “Shagari was a legendary public servant who dedicated his life to the service of our nation in several capacities as minister, legislator and finally President.”

The governor affirmed that Shagari’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria had been a major encouragement to many governments, recalling the personal sacrifices he made in helping to lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria before he was overthrown in 1983.

He said as a country, Nigeria would miss his wise counsel on national issues and peaceful co-existence especially at a time the nation was entering an election year.

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