Tributes have begun to pour in for the late former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, with President Muhammadu Buhari describing him as a man of unequalled patriotism.
He said he was imbued with integrity, diligence and humility.
Similarly, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, described Shagari as a man of peace who dedicated the greater part of his life to the service of his fatherland.
Expressing sadness over the death of Buhari, the president said his death was the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
President Buhari expressed gratitude to God that Alhaji Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life.
He urged Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate the late former president.
“Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office until his demise and will forever miss his wise counsels,” the president said.
He prayed that Almighty God would comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourned him and would grant the soul of the late nonagerian eternal rest.
In his tribute to Shagari, Saraki said he was the last of the First and Second Republic titans.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Ilorin, described the late Shagari as a man of peace who dedicated the greater part of his life to the service of the fatherland.
He noted that Shagari would be remembered for his immense contributions to the political and socio-economic development of the country as well as his peaceful disposition.
He also commiserated with the immediate and larger family of the deceased, the government and people of Sokoto State, and the entire country over the loss of the former president.
He stated: “Let’s be consoled by the fact that Alhaji Shagari lived his life in the service of God and country.
“My family and I join the entire nation to mourn the passing of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who led our nation during the Second Republic. He was a quintessential public servant; having served in seven cabinet positions and as a legislator. He was the first elected President who was Chief Executive of the country. He dedicated his best years in the service of our nation and its people and will be dearly missed.
“He was a man who worked for the unity of Nigeria and stabilised the country during the 50 months of the Second Republic despite the challenges of the then new presidential system of government operated by the country. Since his exit from power, he has remained a silent beacon of strength for the country.”
He prayed Allah to grant the soul of the late former President a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus and his family, loved ones and the entire country the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.