Late President Shehu Shagari who ruled in the nation between 1979 and 1983 before he was toppled by the military has been described by governors of the Northern states as one of the greatest statesmen in his era.
The Chairman of the Northern Nigeria States Governors Forum, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, in a statement on behalf of the other governors of the region said the choice of Shagari apolitical for 35 years (since leaving office in 1983) has towered him one of nation’s best qualified statesmen since the second republic.
The governor, in a statement he personally signed on Saturday on behalf of the other 18 governor, said: “Since leaving office in December 1983, His Excellency, our late father, President Shehu Shagari made the rare and bold choice of staying out of partisan politics in Nigeria, despite his immense popularity in the country.
“He opted to remain a statesman and a father of the nation and he maintained such a dignified position till he died in December, 2018, making it exactly 35 apolitical years.
“In all these years, he measured his words and actions as a peaceful and unifying leader. To cap it up, Shagari died in Abuja, the nation’s capital which symbolizes our nationalism and unity.”
Shettima said: “Clearly, Shagari lived and died a nationalist and a true statesman.”
He added that: “Governors in the 19 northern states join family of the late former President, the federal government, Sokoto state government, northerners and millions of Nigerians to mourn the demise of such an undiluted elder statesman.”
He said: “Although he died at a time his wise counsel was needed, he has bequeathed to us, his documented lifetime of statesmanship, good character, calmness, and selfless interest in the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.”
He lamented that: “Nigeria and Nigerians will miss and mourn Shagari till eternity. We collectively pray that God in His infinite mercy grant the late elder statesman eternal rest and admit him into heaven.
“We also pray that God gives his family and all of us, Nigerians, the fortitude to bear the loss of a father to our nation”