Shagari was warned I was a coupist –IBB

President Goodluck Jonathan, and five former Nigerian leaders, on Wednesday attended the 90th birthday of Nigeria’s Second Repub­lic president, Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari.

It was an occasion for the incum­bent and former leaders to extol the virtues of the celebrant. One of them, General Ibrahim Bad­amasi Babangida, recalled how Alhaji Shagari ignored a piece of advice that he be kicked out of the military for being a serial coup plotter.

Shagari was on 31 December 1983 sacked by a military junta of which Babangida and a key member. Major General Mu­hammadu Buhari, who is the current presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), headed the military gov­ernment that sacked Shagari. Babangida became the Chief of Army Staff of the junta and on 27 August 1985 led another mili­tary coup that ousted Buhari.
Babangida revealed that he was not only emotional about Shagari but also remained eter­nally grateful to the former Pres­ident. According to the former military ruler, Shagari’s kind­ness was the reason he attained the position of General in the Army and subsequently becom­ing Head of State.
He recalled that Shagari re­jected a recommendation that he be kicked out of the military while in office.
“In 1979, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was advised that I should be kicked out of the Nigeria Army, the reason being that I was in­volved in all the coups in this country, so I shouldn’t be there. But Alhaji Shehu Shagari said no. Therefore, I want to specially thank him at his 90th birthday for allowing me to rise up to the rank of a General, and to become the Chief of Army staff and sub­sequently a Military president”.
Also at the event were Chiefs Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan as well as Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Bad­amasi Babangida and Abdul­salami Abubakar, all of whom were Nigeria’s leaders at differ­ent periods.
In his speech, President Jona­than recalled that he was an un­dergraduate when Shagari was president, noting that the elder statesman was a role model for all Nigerians.
“It is not easy to endure 90 winters, especially in a coun­try that attaining 50 is not even easy. Even at the age of 90, Alhaji Shehu Shagari is still very, very committed to contributing his quota to the development of Ni­geria,” Jonathan observed.
Looking at the faces around the celebrant, President Jona­than admitted that he was happy because of the unity and love for the country among her past lead­ers.
“I am happy because in Nige­ria, former Head of States come together. One of my happiest days was when all the Head of States attended the council of states meeting,” he said.
While recognizing the up­rightness of Alhaji Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon said he brought the Second Republic President into his government to take over from the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Minister of Finance because of his cred­ibility.
“He performed exceptionally well for this country as Minister of Finance in my government”, Gowon affirmed.
Also playing glowing tribute to the celebrant, General Abuba­kar described Shagari as not only his mentor but also an ad­viser and a confidant whose ser­vice to the nation would forever to be remembered.
On his part, Chief Shonekan, who said it was heart-warming that Shagari attained the age of 90, expressed confidence that the Second Republic President would continue to contribute his quota to the development of the country.
Insisting that, Nigeria is a par­adox, Obasanjo said to Shagari: “You have seen it all: The good, the bad and the not so good. When we were in power, we had a lot of people who called them­selves friends but we only know true friends when we are out of power. We thank God for your life, services to the country and the ability to bear it all”.
Responding, former presi­dent Shagari who was full of joy, thanked Almighty Allah for his life’s sojourn, and pledged to continue contributing his quota to the development of the coun­try as long as he is alive.


  1. I pray dat as an elder u need nothing again in life but d truth because d night is close so dat u can enjoy with Allah on d judgment day playing politics at this age or spoiling one another and not having a forgiven mind of d past can affect ur interaction with God but as and elder u need nothing but prayer for d nation happy birthday

  2. Indeed , this is hilarious. IBB , the Evil Genius has just told us that Shagari was a FOOL. Period. Isnt it ?

  3. I beg to disagree that Our Elder Statesman is a fool. In fact, the simple and basic lifestyle in has maintained in and out of power shows he is full of wisdom and we are the ones to check ourselves. Life is not a do or die. Who knows if IBB was one of those who made the coup a bloodless one since we all know him as a strategist. Shagari and IBB are both still alive today. One said sorry and thank you to the other. A lesson for us all. Awari

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