- Junaid Mohammed, a Second Republic lawmaker, said President Buhari’s tribute to late Shehu Shagari is not sincere
- Buhari had, in a statement by a spokesperson, paid tribute to Shagari who died on Friday, December 28
- Mohammed, however, criticised the president’s tribute saying he can’t mourn him after bring his government down
- Shagari was Nigerian president from 1979 to 1983 and won the second term election before being dethroned by a coup d’etat that brought in Buhari as military head of state
Junaid Mohammed, a Second Republic lawmaker, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his tribute to the late Shehu Shagari, the first executive president of Nigeria, who passed away on Friday, December 28, at the age of 93.
Buhari, in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, had described Shagari’s death as the departure of a patriot, whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
However, Mohammed in an interview with The Punch stated that Shagari had gained respect by retiring and living a quiet lifestyle, unlike some in the current political class.
The elder statesman said: “Quite a number of the people who would claim to be his friends were actually his enemies and they contributed tremendously to bringing down that government and in making it impossible for us to have a meaningful democratic dispensation years after his departure from office.”
Asked about his thoughts on President Buhari’s tribute, he said: “It’s not sincere. If you’ve contributed so much in bringing down a government and bringing down a man who had nothing to gain, even though he had poor eyesight and was in poor health – he was in his late 60s then – you cannot say, from 1984 till now, you got along well. How did you get along well?
“No matter what you say about the Shagari administration, he knew how to retire from public service quietly, with a tremendous amount of nobility and self-respect. You have to give him that.
“In terms of retirement and living a quiet life and garnering more respect, Shagari is certainly one of Nigeria’s most outstanding leaders and I certainly believe the nation will continue to mourn him appropriately.”
Mohammed said he was devastated by the news of Shagari’s demise.
He added that Shagari believed in the goodness of human nature, even when human nature was not always good.
“Shagari had a very modest lifestyle. If you got to know him personally, he was very cool and had a tremendous sense of humour. He got on very well with quite a number of people. He was a very wonderful man. I really enjoyed discussing with him even though we had our political differences,” he said.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the news about Shagari's death was first broke by his grandson, Bello Shagari.
Bello confirmed that the second republic president, from 1979 to 1983, died at the National Hospital, Abuja, on Friday, December 28, at the age of 93 in a tweet.
“I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja,” he tweeted.
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