A flood of tributes poured Friday night as the news of the death of Nigeria’s Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari spread after the announcement by his grandchildren and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto.
Shagari was 93 years old and will be buried in his Shagari village today at 2pm.
“I regret to announce the death of former President Shehu Shagari who just passed away at National Hospital Abuja. May his Soul Rest in Peace”, wrote Tambuwal on Twitter.
Bello Shagari who first announced it on Twitter had over 5,000 retweets, as he wrote: “I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja”.
He later tweeted that the burial will take place today 29th December 2019, by 2pm at Shagari Local Government Inshaa Allah.
Nuradeen Mahe, another grandson was the person who briefed the newsmen in Sokoto about Shagari’s death and also announced the burial that he said would take place today.
Tributes then started flowing from politicians, former military men who toppled Shagari’s government in December 1983, students, the clergy including those who had opposed Shagari’s politics in the Second Republic.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who succeeded Shagari on 1 January 1984 after the bloodless coup of 31 December, 1983 was among the early mourners.
“On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Nigeria, it is with immense sadness that I received the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari which event happened on Friday in Abuja,” Buhari said in a statement by Media adviser, Femi Adesina.
Buhari described the death as the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
President Buhari recalled part of the birthday message he (Buhari) sent to him last February when he said, “we are enthralled and regaled with the many years of unequalled patriotism, sacrifices and contributions to national development.
“More specifically, we celebrate the role modelling qualities of integrity, diligence and humility that have been the hallmark of your visionary leadership.”
The Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, Sen Aliyu Wamakko, who tweeted a photograph of Shagari, said the death of Second Republic President Shehu Shagari is an irreplaceable national loss.
He added that his demise is a great loss not only to his family, Sokoto State, Sultanate of Sokoto, but to Nigeria as a whole
From Minna Hilltop also came a tribute from former military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida, one of the military officers who participated in the December 1983 coup. Shagari was just three months old in his second term when the military officers removed him.