A former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, has said the passing away of the former civilian president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was a loss not only to Nigeria but Africa at large.
Shagari died on Friday at the National Hospital in Abuja after a protracted illness.
In a condolence message on Friday night, General Babaginda said the former President died at a time Nigeria, nay Africa needed his wise counsel most.
“Nigeria and indeed Africa has lost a statesman and democrat whose wisdom, counsel, presence and experience and his sterling qualities of honesty and transparency are needed in these very trying moments of our national life,” IBB noted.
He said ex-President Shagari was a great patriotic leader and an accomplished gentleman, who was first a teacher, an administrator, a technocrat and an honest, decent, unassuming simple Nigerian leader.
According to him, the late former leader would be remembered for his tolerance and politics of peace without bitterness.
“President Shehu Shagari was a nationalist who never showed any discrimination due to ethnicity or religion and was a very dependable bridge builder.
“To keep his memory alive, Nigerian politicians and indeed all fellow Nigerians must put to practice all his ideals of peace and party politics without rancour, irrespective of any form of provocation.
“I urge all persons vying for political office to emulate him and keep alive the political principles of the late Turakin Sokoto, Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, the quintessential public servant who was “Beckoned to Serve”,” he said.
He commiserated with the family of the late Shagari, the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate and Sokoto State for the sad loss.
He prayed for the repose of the soul the late leader in Jannatul Firdaus and that the entire nation, the family, Sokoto state and indeed the Sokoto Caliphate would accept his passing with equanimity.