By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday night in Abuja described the demise of the first executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari, as the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
According to a statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president said he received the news of Shagari’s transition with sadness.
He was quoted as saying, “On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Nigeria, it is with immense sadness that I received the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari which event happened Friday in Abuja.”
Furthermore, Adesina said Buhari recalled part of the birthday message he (Buhari) sent to the deceased last February, quoting him as saying in the message, “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 statement also said the president expressed gratitude to God that Shagari attained a ripe age and led an exemplary life, which he urged Nigerians in all walks of life to emulate.
The president was also quoted as saying, “Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office until his demise and will forever miss his wise counsels.”
The statement added that Buhari prayed the Almighty God to comfort the family of the ex-president and all who mourn him and grant the soul of the late nonagerian eternal rest.