Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the late first executive President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari, should be celebrated and not mourned.
Obasanjo said this when he paid a condolence visit to the Shagari’s family in Sokoto State on Monday.
He described former President Shagari as an epitome of integrity, commitment, who had faith in God.
Obasanjo, who visited the home of the deceased in company with Governor Aminu Tambuwal, said late Shagari was a man, who was committed to national interest.
He recalled his days in the military and his relationship with late Shagari, while they were federal commissioners in General Yakubu Gowon’s cabinet said the deceased was an honest, transparent and a committed Nigerian.
Obasanjo said: “I had the opportunity to work with him, immediately we were kicked out of government, I was appointed Chief of Staff and had the task of managing our colleagues back to their respective places. He thanked me for making arrangement for him to get back to Sokoto.
“Shagari should not be mourned. He should be celebrated as a true, honest and sincere leader who was a nationalist to the core. Nigeria has lost a gem.”
Obasanjo further recalled how late Shagari expressed surprise when the mantle of leadership was handed to him in 1979 by a military head of state which happened to be himself.
“He was a true friend indeed not a fair weather friend. His life was an embodiment of something to celebrate. We have learned a lot from him. If we learn the lessons of forgiveness which he taught us, Nigeria will be a good country.” he said.
Responding, the first son of the deceased, Bala Shagari recalled that Obasanjo was the man who helped his late father to own a house in Abuja and thanked the former President for the condolence visit.