Friday, January 15, 2016

Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the Best Civlian President and Head of State of Nigeria

Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR, Turakin Sakkwato, was duly elected as President of Nigeria in 1979 to usher in the Second Republic and his administration remains the most incorruptible and most democratic Nigerian government since independence of Nigeria. But the unfortunate military coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 1983 ended the Nigerian Dream of the Second Republic.
The flimsy excuses for the coup have shown us over the years that there was no realistic justification for the coup, except selfish ambition of young military officers who were impatient with the democratic development for the nation building of a New Nigeria.
When we look back now to that era, we become nostalgic, because since then Nigerians have been going through a sociopolitical nightmare and far from the Nigerian Dream of Shagari defined in his book My Vision of Nigeria edited by Aminu Tijjani and David Williams in 1981.

Shagari is greeted by BGEN Archer Durham upon his arrival for a visit. Location: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, United States of America.
Shagari was almost as incorruptible as the first Prime Minister of independent Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa whom Shagari worked for as Parliamentary Secretary and later as Minister of Economic Development in 1960, Minister of Internal Affairs in 1962 and Minister of Works and Survey in 1965; from when he was only a young man of 35 to when he was 40. From when young Shagari started his historic political career with his election to the Federal House of Representatives in 1954 when he was only 29 to when he became the second President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he remained an astute and resolute statesman.

I so much admired him that I made a life portrait of him in 1980 at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos and before his overthrow in December 1983, I was invited to represent Nigeria at two international children's books fairs in Japan for my children's book illustrations promoting the agricultural programme of Shagari's administration. And I was also the youngest participant.
The death of my great father, Sunday Eke on November 19 and the overthrow of Shagari's government the following month December 1983 changed the course of my life and the course of the Nigerian Dream of majority of Nigerians.

Read more about one of the greatest democratic leaders of modern Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari on

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Author of The Prophet Lied, In the House of Dogs, Diary of the Memory Keeper and other books.


Jan 15, 2016

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