PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari coming off the launch of his re-election campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State mourned the former president, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, who died Friday in Abuja, aged 93.
The president, in a statement by media adviser, Femi Adesina, expressed sadness at the death of the Second Republic President.
In a statement in Abuja Friday, Buhari described the death “as the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.”
Buhari, who in a coup d’etat in 1983 truncated the second term of the Shagari administration, noted that “Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of the office until his demise and will forever miss his wise counsels.”
In his previous message to Shagari during his birthday in February, Buhari had stated: “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 president showed gratitude to God that Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life, which he urged Nigerians to emulate. Condoling the family of the nonagenarian he prayed for the repose of the soul of the former president.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on his twitter handle @bukolasaraki said that he was joining “the entire nation to mourn the passing of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who led our nation during the Second Republic.
“President Shagari was a quintessential public servant; having served in seven cabinet positions and as a legislator. He dedicated his best years in the service of our nation and its people. May Allah grant him a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus.”
In his message, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu expressed deep grief over the passing on of Shagari.
Ekweremadu, who described Shagari as a “sage, democrat, and statesman,” stated that the death is “a heavy loss to the nation.”
Writing on his social media handle @iamekweremadu, the Senator said: “I received with a heavy heart the news of the passing on the Second Republic President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
“He was a democrat by nature, orientation, and conviction. He was a patriot per excellence, a detribalised elder statesman, bridge-builder, servant-leader, and an epitome of humility, who served the nation and humanity most creditably. In and out of office, Alhaji Shagari clothed the Office of the President with decorum and social grace”.
Ekweremadu said even at 93, Shagari’s “wealth of experience and treasury of wisdom would still have been most invaluable in our quest to build the Nigeria of our dreams.”