By Akanimo Sampson
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has eulogised the late Second Republic President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, declaring that he was a true democrat and an icon of transparency.
The speaker spoke just as his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took on President Muhammadu Buhari for his conspicuous absence at the burial of highly respected former president on Saturday.
‘’President Buhari’s absence at the funeral, particularly regarding Shehu Shagari’s status, as the first Executive President of our country, is unpardonable and a very wrong precedence in our national protocol’’, PDP said.
Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s spokesman who made this known in Abuja added, ‘’this action by the Buhari Presidency has also sent a wrong signal to the international community on our national values and respect for our patriots.
‘’The PDP notes that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also absent at President Shehu Shagari’s burial and that the Federal Government has taken no concrete step to give a state honour to this very patriotic Nigerian, other than a rather belated directive to fly our national flag at half mast for just three days and a dramatic visit to Sokoto by President Buhari.
‘’Sadly, while our beloved President Shagari was at the National Hospital Abuja, passing through his last moments on this realm, President Buhari was busy at his campaign rally in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, boasting of how he, as military head of state, sacked the Second Republic, arrested and locked up President Shehu Shagari and his officials, in clear violation of our nation’s constitution.
‘’Such disdain on our respected national figure by President Buhari is completely unpresidential.We once again condole with the Shagari family, the government and people of Sokoto state, the National Council of State and the entire nation for this very huge national loss.’’
For Dogara: ‘’We have lost a father, man of peace, true democrat, patriot and a nationalist.He led an exemplary life of service to God and country worthy of emulation, he was a president for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or region.
‘’President Shagari led Nigeria with dignity and honour and respected the independence of the legislature and judiciary in the second republic under the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He was a bridge builder and one of the major highlights of his presidency was the alliance he formed between the NPN and the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) in accordance with his politics of give and take.
‘’His demise is a big loss to Nigeria and all lovers of democracy on the African continent. When anti-democratic forces truncated his government, President Shagari took it in good faith and continued to play the role of an elder statesman and father without grudge or bitterness.
‘’His death came at a time we are in dire need of his elderly wisdom and counsel as we navigate the most challenging pace as a nation. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, especially his eldest son, Hon Aminu Shagari, who is our colleague in the House of Representatives, the people of Sokoto state, the Sultanate Council and government of Sokoto over this irreparable loss.
‘’May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.’’