Nigeria’s first elected president, Shehu Shagari is dead. He died on Friday at the age of 93.
Shagari was Nigeria’s first elected president and won a second term in 1983, but his government was toppled same year.
Shehu Shagari: 1925 – 2018
From the classroom to politics and government, Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari made his mark in Nigeria.
Alhaji Shagari was born into a polygamous home in Shagari, a village founded by his great-grandfather in present day Sokoto State.
After Quranic and western education, he took up a job as a visiting teacher at Sokoto Province.
He entered politics at 26 (in 1951-1956), when he became the secretary of the Northern People’s Congress in Sokoto.
He was elected into his first public office in 1954 as a member of the federal House of Representative for Sokoto west.
(In 1958 – 1959) He would later become parliamentary secretary to the Nigerian Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
With Nigeria’s independence held important national offices as the federal minister of pensions, internal affairs, and works before the first military coup in 1966. (1960-1962), he appointed the Federal Minister for Pensions.
From 1962-1965, Shagari was made the Federal minister for internal affairs. ( From 1965 up until the first military coup in January 1966, Shagari was the Federal minister for works.)
After the Nigerian civil war (from 1970-1971), Shagari was first appointed by the military government of General Yakubu Gowon as the federal commissioner for economic development, rehabilitation and reconstruction; and then Federal commissioner of finance.
((1971-75 he served as the Federal commissioner of finance. ))
In 1978, Shehu Shagari was a founding member of the National People’s Party, on which platform he won the presidential election of 1979.
He was re-elected four years later (1983), but that election was plagued by allegations of electoral fraud, and his government was overthrown by then Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari.
There were also allegations of corruption, and during his time in office world oil prices declined, and a national finances became bad, leading to complains of hardship.
But it is to Alhaji Shagari’s credit that his administration completed the refinery in Kaduna, the Delta Steel complex and three rolling mills at Ajaokuta.