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Shehu Shagari: President of the Second Republic

By Njideka Agbo
29 December 2018   |   4:30 am
Nigeria’s former president Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari died on the 28th of December 2018 at the age of 93. Shagari was born in 1925 in Shagari village, founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa’I Shagari. He attended Kaduna College in 1941 and graduated in 1944. That same year, he enrolled at the Teachers Training College (TTC),…

Nigeria’s former president Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari died on the 28th of December 2018 at the age of 93.

Shagari was born in 1925 in Shagari village, founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa’I Shagari.

He attended Kaduna College in 1941 and graduated in 1944. That same year, he enrolled at the Teachers Training College (TTC), Kaduna.

In 1951, Shagari entered politics and became the secretary of the Northern People’s Congress. In 1952, he graduated from the TTC and was appointed a member of the Federal Scholarship Board in 1954.

Also, in 1954, Shagari was elected into office as a member of the federal House of Representative for Sokoto west.

Upon the completion of his service in the scholarship board in 1958, Shagari was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and as the Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries.

He held several other positions including Minister for, Pensions, Internal affairs, Works and Finance.

After the civil war, Shagari became the Federal Commissioner for Economic Development, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction by General Yakubu Gowon.

In 1979, he became the 1979 presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) of which he was one of its founders. The NPN’s motto “One Nation, One Destiny” will influence and play a role in winning the election. His vice president was Alex Ekwueme.

Shagari is best remembered for introducing the Green Revolution for farmers, low-cost Housing scheme, the building of the Kaduna refinery and starting it that same year, completion of the steel plant at Ajaokuta and the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, launched road networks across the country.

He ran for a second term in 1983 and won in an election allegedly riddled with manipulation of results. On the 31st of December, he was overthrown in a coup by General Muhammadu Buhari who is also Nigeria’s current president.