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Moment Shehu Shagari’s body left Abuja for Sokoto

Shehu Shagari, who died at the age of 93 on Friday was the first and only President of Nigeria’s Second Republic (1979–1983), after the handover of power by General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military government.

Shagari also served seven times in a ministerial or cabinet post as a federal minister and federal commissioner from 1958–1975.

Shagari was born in 1925 in the northern Shagari village founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa’i, who was also the Village Head, and took the name Shagari as his family name. His father’s name was Aliyu and his mother’s name was Mariamu.

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His name, Usman, means “companion”. He was raised in a polygamous family, and was the sixth child born into the family. Prior to becoming Magajin Shagari (magajin means village head), Aliyu, Shehu’s father was a farmer, trader and herder. However, due to traditional rites that prevented rulers from participating in business, Aliyu relinquished some of his trading interest when he became the Magaji, or village head, of Shagari village. Aliyu died five years after Shehu’s birth, and Shehu’s elder brother, Bello, briefly took on his father’s mantle as Magajin Shagari.

Shagari started his education in a Quranic school and then went to live with relatives at a nearby town, where from 1931-1935 he attended Yabo elementary school. In 1936-1940, he went to Sokoto for middle school, and then from 1941-1944 he attended Kaduna College.

Between 1944 and 1952, Shehu Shagari, matriculated at the Teachers Training College, in Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria. From 1953-1958, Shagari got a job as a visiting teacher at Sokoto Province. He was also a member of the Federal Scholarship Board from 1954-1958.

Shagari entered politics in 1951, when he became the secretary of the Northern People’s Congress in Sokoto, Nigeria, a position he held until 1956.

In 1954, Shagari was elected into his first public office as a member of the federal House of Representative for Sokoto west. In 1958, Shagari was appointed as parliamentary secretary (he left the post in 1959) to the Nigerian Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and that year he also served as the Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries.

From 1959-1960, Shagari was redeployed to the ministry for Economic Development, as the Federal Minister for Economic Development. In 1960-1962, he was moved to the Pensions ministry as 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.

In 1967, he was appointed as the Secretary for Sokoto Province Education Development Fund. From 1968-1969, Shagari was given a state position in the North Western State as Commissioner for Establishments.

After the Nigerian civil war, from 1970-1971, Shagari was appointed by the military head of State, General Yakubu Gowon as the Federal Commissioner for Economic Development, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

From 1971-75 he served as the Federal Commissioner (position now called minister) of finance. During his tenure as the Commissioner of Finance for Nigeria, Shagari was also a governor for the World Bank and a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) committee of twenty.

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