WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Because Shehu Shagari, since his removal via military coup, has largely remained outside of the limelight in his native Sokoto State. He assumed the posture of dignified statesman after the military sacked his regime for corruption, and would not criticize subsequent national leaders. His state, Sokoto, which is presently gripped by potentially violent partisanship, and the country need his calm peaceful disposition at a time of great political and social turbulence.
Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, Nigerian president from 1979 to 1983, has died at the National Hospital, Abuja.
His grandson, Bello Shagari, used his Twitter account to announce the demise of the former president, who was ousted from office by soldiers on December 31 1983, months after winning disputed elections to secure his second presidential term.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari, current Nigerian president, who was not part of the coup plot, subsequently assumed leadership and immediately commenced a probe of all political office holders. Many elected government officials were found guilty of corruption and punished with long prison sentences, but Shagari was only held under house arrest and was never prosecuted.
The cause of Shagari’s death is not immediately known. The statement announcing his death also did not state when Shagari was admitted to the National Hospital or the ailment for which he visited the hospital.
Shagari was one of four former president still living, all of whom belong to the exclusive club of the Council of State and are recipients of the highest national honor, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Bello Shagari said the former president will be buried on 29 December 2019, at his hometown, Shagari Local Government Area, in Sokoto State. The burial will likely be conducted according to Muslim rites.
The federal government has not officially responded to the news of Shagari’s death, but it likely will accord to the former president official respects, including declaring a day of national mourning and sending a strong federal government contingent to Sokoto for the burial.
We will keep you updated as we get more facts about his death.