Senate President Bukola Saraki alongside Senator David Mark and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Yakubu Dogara have mourned the death of the first elected Nigerian President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who passed away on Friday night after a protracted illness in Abuja.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Ilorin, the Senate President described Shagari as the last of the First and Second Republic titans.
“My family and I join the entire nation to mourn the passing of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who led our nation during the Second Republic.
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“He was a quintessential public servant; having served in seven cabinet positions and as a legislator. He was the first elected President who was Chief Executive of the country. He dedicated his best years in the service of our nation and its people and will be dearly missed.
“He was a man who worked for the unity of Nigeria and stabilized the country during the 50 months of the Second Republic despite the challenges of the then new presidential system of government operated by the country.
“Since his exit from power, he has remained a silent beacon of strength for the country”, Saraki said.
Also in a separate statement on Friday by the Speaker’s media aide, Turaki Hassan, Dogara described the late Shagari as a true democrat and an icon of transparency.
“We have lost a father, man of peace, true democrat, patriot and a nationalist.
“He led an exemplary life of service to God and country worthy of emulation; he was a president for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or region.
“President Shagari led Nigeria with dignity and honour and respected the independence of the legislature and judiciary in the Second Republic under the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
“His demise is a big loss to Nigeria and all lovers of democracy on the African continent.
“When anti-democratic forces truncated his government, President Shagari took it in good faith and continued to play the role of an elder statesman and father without grudge or bitterness.
“His death came at a time we are in dire need of his elderly wisdom and counsel as we navigate the most challenging pace as a nation.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, especially his eldest son, Hon Aminu Shagari, who is our colleague in the House of Representatives, the people of Sokoto state, the Sultanate Council and the government of Sokoto over this irreparable loss,” Dogara stated.
Also reacting to the death of the ex-president, a former Senate President, Senator David Mark, said Shagari’s death has created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill.
In a statement by the Media Assistant to Senator David Mark, Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark said that late Shagari was a rare leader who believed in the sanctity of one indivisible Nigeria that must not be compromised no matter the odds.
“He worked for the peace and unity of Nigeria. He was a man with a large heart and was ever conscious about the well being and welfare of the citizenry”, Senator Mark noted.
He however urged Nigerians especially the government and people of Sokoto state to take solace in the fact that the late President left his indelible foot print on the sand of time.
The trio prayed Allah to grant the soul of the late former President a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus and his family, loved ones and the entire country the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.