Abeokuta – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday extolled the late former president, Shehu Shagari’s role in Nigeria’s pre- and post-independence politics.
Obasanjo gave the eulogy in a condolence letter addressed to Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta.
He described late Shagari as a humble, patriotic, amiable and notable Nigerian leader.
Obasanjo expressed his deep respect for the achievements of the late Shagari in the course of his long life, describing him as one of the principal actors in Nigeria’s pre-independence and post-independence politics.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say how deeply grieved I was to hear of the death of His Excellency, President Shehu Usman Shagari.
“On behalf of my family and on my own behalf, I wish to commiserate with you, the entire members of his family and the good people of Sokoto State over the passing of this humble, patriotic, amiable and notable Nigerian leader.
“He held various positions as a parliamentarian in the Federal House of Representatives representing Sokoto West in 1954, as a Parliamentarian Secretary 1958-1959, as a Federal Minister and Commissioner in different ministries and capacities between 1959 and 1975.
“I remember his role as Commissioner for Finance, while he and I served in the government of General Yakubu Gowon. He was thorough.
“And later, I saw him as my successor in government as a democratically-elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983.
“In all his national assignments, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great commitment in the discharge of his duties.
“He was a unifying force for the nation and his contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot easily be forgotten.
“In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility.
“President Shagari died at a time the country and its leadership is in dire need of such leadership, experience and wisdom to tackle the multi-faceted challenges facing the nation.
“While expressing our sympathies to you, the family of the deceased and the government and people of Sokoto State, we pray the Almighty Allah grant him eternal rest and give comfort to all those he left behind,” Obasanjo said. (NAN)