Thursday, 26 February 2015 10:08

Nigeria's Ex-President Shagari Clocks 90

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Shehu-Shagari-birthday-01Alhaji Shagari became the first democratically-elected president following the end of Nigeria-Biafra War in 1970. He was in office from 1979 till December 31, 1983, when he was overthrown in a military coup that was led by General Muhammadu Buhari. Ironically, Buhari is now the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Born on February 25, 1925, Shagari worked as a teacher for a brief period before entering politics in 1954 upon his election to the federal House of Representatives. In 1958, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to then-Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Shagari later went on to hold the positions of minister of Economic Development in 1960, minister of Internal Affairs in 1962 and minister of Works and Survey in 1965.

Since his exit from power, Shagari has kept a low profile, shunning the limelight and barely getting involved in controversial national discourse.

On Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan led four former Heads of state to felicitate with Shagari on the occasion of his 90th birthday in Sokoto State. The former leaders include Chief Ernest Shonekan and retired Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalam Abubakar.

Speaking on the occasion, President Goodluck Jonathan hailed Shagari as a role model for Nigerian leaders, especially the members of the National Council of state: ”He is a role model, always very calm and always want Nigeria to grow and be united, ” Jonathan said.

”Shagari has been diligently serving Nigeria in many capacities since during his youthful age.

” He has been working diligently and tirelessly too to keep Nigeria one and peaceful, and he has never stopped,” he added.

While congratulating Shagari on the occasion, the president prayed God to continue to give the former president wisdom, piety and strength to work for the unity and peace of Nigeria.

All the four former Heads of state on the entourage also eulogised Shagari at 90, saying that, he is an elder statesman to the core.

They described their visit as historic and a token appreciation of his tremendous contributions to the socio-economic development, peace and unity of Nigeria,” they added.

In his response, Shagari commended Jonathan and the four former Heads of state for the gesture, saying that, it would l spur him to do more for the nation.

” We will continue to support Jonathan to work for the country and move it forward, ” Shagari, said.

The occasion featured the presentation of a birthday card signed by the leaders, to the celebrant.

It also featured the cutting of a birthday cake by Shagari.

-Uhuruspirit/with additional reports by Vanguard (Nigeria)

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