By Aminu Ahmed Garko
Former Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed heartfelt condolences to the family of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR who died today.
Shagari died at the National Hospital in Abuja , after a protracted illness.
Babangida, one of the military officers that toppled Shagari’s government in December 1983, issued a statement of condolence, in which he also described Shagari as the “quintessential public servant who was “Beckoned to Serve”.
Shagari was just three months old in his second term when the military officers removed him in a bloodless coup and cut short the Second Republic.
“My heart and prayers go to his Family, the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate and Sokoto state”, Babangida wrote..
” Nigeria and indeed Africa has lost a statesman and democrat whose wisdom, counsel, presence and experience and his sterling qualities of honesty and transparency are needed in these very trying moments of our national life.
“President Shehu Shagari was a great patriotic leader and an accomplished gentleman, at first a teacher, an administrator, a technocrat and an honest decent unassuming simple Nigerian Leader.
“He will be remembered for his tolerance and politics of peace without bitterness.
” President Shehu Shagari was a nationalist who never showed any discrimination due to ethnicity or religion and was a very dependable bridge builder.
“To keep his memory alive Nigerian politicians and indeed all fellow Nigerians must put to practice all his ideals of peace and party politics without rancour, irrespective of any form of provocation.
Babangida urged all persons vying for political offices to emulate him and keep alive the political principles of the late Turakin Sokoto.
“I pray for the repose of his soul in Jannatul Firdaus. I pray that the entire nation, his Family, Sokoto State and indeed the Sokoto Caliphate will accept his passing with equanimity”, Babangida added.