Shehu Shagari

Last updated

Shehu Shagari
President Sharari cropped.jpg
Shagari in 1980
6th President of Nigeria
In office
October 1, 1979 December 31, 1983
Vice President Alex Ekwueme
Preceded by Olusegun Obasanjo as Military Head of State
Succeeded by Muhammadu Buhari as Military Head of State
Federal Commissioner for Finance
In office
Preceded by Obafemi Awolowo
Succeeded by Asumoh Ete Ekukinam
Federal Commissioner for Economic Development, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction
In office
Federal Minister for Works
In office
Succeeded byS.O. Williams as Minister of Works and Housing [1]
Federal Minister for internal affairs
In office
Federal Minister for Pensions
In office
Federal Minister for Economic Development
In office
Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries
In office
Personal details
Born(1925-02-25)February 25, 1925
Shagari, Sokoto State, Nigeria Protectorate
DiedDecember 28, 2018(2018-12-28) (aged 93)
Abuja, Nigeria
Political party National Party of Nigeria
Children Muhammad Bala Shagari
Aminu Shehu Shagari
Relatives Bello Bala Shagari

Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR (February 25, 1925 – December 28, 2018) was a Nigerian politician who became the first democratically elected President of Nigeria. He served as the 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 to 1975.

Order of the Federal Republic

The Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) is one of two orders of merit, established by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1963. It is senior to the Order of the Niger.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.

President of Nigeria Head of state and head of Nigerian government

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the head of state and head of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President of Nigeria is also the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The President is elected in national elections which take place every four years. The first President of Nigeria was Nnamdi Azikiwe, who took office on October 1, 1963. However, Shehu Shagari is the First Executive President of Nigeria elected Democratically in 1979. The current President, Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29, 2015 as the 15th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Shagari worked as a teacher for a brief period before entering politics in 1951 and in 1954 was elected to the federal House of Representatives. In 1962, he was made the Turaki of the Fula Sokoto Caliphate by the Sultan of Sokoto Siddiq Abubakar III. Turaki means an officer at court, in this case referring to the sultan's court at the palace of Sokoto. In addition, he held the chieftaincy titles of the Ochiebuzo of Ogbaland, the Ezediale of Aboucha and the Baba Korede of Ado Ekiti.

Fula people A large ethnic group in Sahel and West Africa

The Fula,Fulani or Fulɓe people, numbering about 40 million people in total, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. Inhabiting many countries, they live mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa but also in South Sudan, Sudan, and regions near the Red Sea coast.

Sokoto Caliphate independent Islamic Caliphate, in West Africa from 1804 to 1903

The Sokoto Caliphate was an independent Islamic Sunni Caliphate in West Africa that was founded during the jihad of the Fulani War in 1804 by Usman dan Fodio. It was abolished when the British conquered the area in 1903 and established the Northern Nigeria Protectorate.

Sir Siddiq Abubakar III (1903–1988) was a Nigerian Muslim leader. He served as the sultan of Sokoto between 1938 and 1988.

He was overthrown by General Muhammadu Buhari in a military coup on 31 December 1983.

Muhammadu Buhari Nigerian president

Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.

The Nigerian military coup of December 31, 1983 was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military, led to the ouster of the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari, and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State.

Early life

Shehu Usman Shagari was born in 1925 in the northern Shagari village to a Fulani family. Shagari village was founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa'i, who was also the Village Head, and took the name Shagari as his family name. [2] [3] His father's name is Aliyu and his mother's name is Mariamu. [4]

Shagari, Nigeria LGA and town in Sokoto State, Nigeria

Shagari is a Local Government Area in Sokoto State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Shagari on the A1 highway. The LGA shares a border with Zamfara State in the south.

Village Small clustered human settlement smaller than a town

A village is a part of a world clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though villages are often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighborhoods. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement.

His name, Usman, means "companion". [5] 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. [4] 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. [4]

Teaching career

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. [4]

Political career

Shehu Usman 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, Shehu 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 to 1960, Shagari was redeployed to the ministry for economic development, as the Federal Minister for Economic Development. From 1960 to 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.

Following the Nigerian civil war, from 1970 to 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 to 1975 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.

In 1978, Shehu Shagari was a founding member of the National Party of Nigeria. In 1979 Shagari was chosen by the party as the presidential candidate for general election that year, which he won becoming the president and head of state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Shagari ran for a second four-year term in 1983 and won the general election, however, on 31 December 1983, Shagari was overthrown by major general Muhammadu Buhari. [6]


Shagari is greeted by BGEN Archer Durham upon his arrival for a visit. Location: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, United States President Sharari of Nigeria is greeted by BGEN Archer Durham upon his arrival for a visit. Andrews AFB.jpg
Shagari is greeted by BGEN Archer Durham upon his arrival for a visit. Location: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, United States

Shagari won the 1979 election with the help of his campaign manager, Umaru Dikko. The campaign had the support of many prominent politicians in the North and among southern minorities. The party's motto was "One Nation, One Destiny" and was seen as the party best representing Nigeria's diversity.

Seal of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Nigerian-Presidential-Seal1.jpg
Seal of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Oil boom

During the oil boom, Shagari made Housing, Industries, Transportation and Agriculture the major goals of his administration. In transportation, he launched some road networks across the country. He also initiated a program to foster the use of mechanical machinery in farming. This initiative favored large scale farmers in order to produce mass products. Shagari also created a low cost housing scheme.

In 1980, with the oil revenue, Shagari finished building the Kaduna refinery, which started operating that year. Also with the oil revenue, Shagari concluded the construction of an additional steel plant and three rolling mills at Ajaokuta. Shagari completed the Delta Steel complex in 1982. In 1983, Shagari created the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria at Ikot Abasi. However, Shagari reduced the share of oil royalties and rents to state of origin from 30 to 2 percent. [7]

Green Revolution

Shagari's government embarked on a "Green Revolution", distributing seed and fertilizer to farmers to increase nationwide productivity in farming.

Fall in oil prices, end of the Oil boom

The fall in oil prices that began in 1981 affected the finances of the Nigerian government. Shagari "refused to embrace" structural adjustment from the IMF and World Bank as the crisis progressed, [8] and initiated an Economic Stabilization Program to help protect the country against a hard landing from prior highs of the 1970s and to steer the economy towards positive growth. Key objectives of the program were to limit import licenses, reduce government spending and raise custom duties. However, the result from the stabilization program was minimal.

Overthrown in a military coup on 31 December 1983

The Shagari administration was plagued by allegations of corruption, including allegations of electoral fraud in the 1983 election. This, coupled with a decline in world oil prices, and a deterioration in the national finances, hardship, lead to the regime becoming deeply unpopular with citizens. Shagari was overthrown by General Muhammadu Buhari in a military coup on 31 December 1983.

Personal life

Shehu Shagari married three wives: Amina, Aishatu, Hadiza Shagari. [4] He has many children. However, His most visible children are Captain Muhammad Bala Shagari Rtd. and Aminu Shehu Shagari.

On 24 August 2001, his wife, Aisha Shagari, died in a London hospital following a brief illness.


On December 28, 2018 at about 6:30pm, Shehu Shagari died from a brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja where he was admitted to and undergoing treatment before his death. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] It was confirmed by his grandson Bello Bala Shagari and Governor Tambuwal in similar tweets at the time of his death. [14] [15]


Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) Order of the Federal Republic (civil) - Nigeria - ribbon bar.gif

See also

Related Research Articles

Ibrahim Babangida Head of State of Nigeria

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, is a retired Nigerian Army General who was President of Nigeria from 27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993. He previously served as the chief of army staff from January 1984 to August 1985. Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria.

Katsina State State in Nigeria

Katsina, usually referred to as Katsina State to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North West zone of Nigeria. Its capital is Katsina, and its Governor is Aminu Bello Masari, a member of the All Progressives Congress. Katsina State was carved out of old Kaduna State in 1987.

Ibrahim Muhammadu Maccido dan Abubakar, often shortened to Muhammadu Maccido, was the 19th Sultan of Sokoto in Nigeria. He was the son and primary aide to Siddiq Abubakar III (1903–1988) who had been the Sultan of Sokoto for 50 years. Maccido served in many functions of government during his life and served most prominently as the liaison to Nigerian President Shehu Shagari until a military coup removed Shagari from power. When his father died in 1988, the head of the military government in Nigeria, Ibrahim Babangida appointed Ibrahim Dasuki as the new Sultan of Sokoto, a decision which caused large-scale, violent protests throughout northern Nigeria.

Second Nigerian Republic

The Second Nigerian Republic was a brief formation of the Nigerian state which succeeded the military governments formed after the overthrow of first republic.

The Federal Ministry of Education is a part of the Federal Ministries of Nigeria that directs education in Nigeria. It is located at Block 5A, Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari Way, Central Area, P.M.B. 146, Garki, Abuja.

Independent National Electoral Commission Nigerian electoral body

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998, is the electoral body which was set up to oversee elections in Nigeria.

Lere is a Local Government Area of Nigeria in Kaduna State, Nigeria. It is located geographically at the latitude 10 degrees 39 North and longitude 8 degrees 57 East. The town was established in 1870, by the fifth Sarkin Lere Muhammadu Dankaka, it is the headquarters of Lere Emirate. The town and its environs has an estimated population of 94,000. Lere Local Government has an area of 2,158 km2 and a population of 331,161 at the 2006 census. Its headquarters are in the town of Saminaka.

Yabo, Nigeria LGA and town in Sokoto State, Nigeria

Yabo is a Local Government Area in Sokoto State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Yabo, and Yabo local Government is one of the oldest local governments in Sokoto. Since Sokoto, Kebbi and zamfara are known as Sokoto. by then Yabo, Tambuwal and shagari are all known as Yabo local government.

Dr. Garba Nadama was the second civilian governor of Sokoto State, Nigeria in the short-lived Nigerian Second Republic, holding office from January 1982 to November 1983. He succeeded Shehu Kangiwa, who had died in a polo accident.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is a political and cultural association of leaders in Northern Nigeria formed in 2000 which has considerable influence in the political scene. The forum is a successor to the Northern People's Congress, which collapsed after the coup of 1966. The ACF has been associated with the Arewa People's Congress (APC), a militant group set up to protect the interests of the Hausa-Fulani people in the north. However, the forum is committed to democratic processes within the Federal constitution.

Wilberforce Juta was Governor of Gongola State, Nigeria in 1983 during the Nigerian Second Republic, and later was appointed Nigerian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe.

Lawal Kaita was a Nigerian politician elected on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform as governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria, holding office between October and December 1983, when the Nigerian Second Republic ended with the coup that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.

Aliyu Mohammed Gusau is a retired Lieutenant General of the Nigerian army, who served in many senior level security, defence, and military roles. He was most recently the Minister of Defence, and served as National Security Adviser to two different presidents, Chief of Army Staff, headed different intelligence agencies, and was Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Barrister Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, CFR was appointed Nigerian Minister of Water Resources in a June 2001 reshuffle of the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was later appointed President of the African Ministerial Council On Water (AMCOW). Shagari held office until January 2007 when he left to compete for Deputy Governor of Sokoto State. He was elected Deputy Governor of Sokoto State in April 2007, and after a legal challenge was reelected in May 2008.

There have been a large number of successful and failed military coups in Nigeria since the country's independence from the British Empire in 1960. A military coup is the violent or non-violent overthrow of an existing political regime by the military. Between 1966 and 1999 the army held power in Nigeria without interruption apart from a short-lived return to democracy between 1979-1983. “Military coups and military rule became a seemingly permanent feature of Nigerian politics.Buhari was the one who lead the military coup of 1983. Buhari removed then head of state shehu shagari and imprisoned him for two years in a closed door without light.

Brigadier Ibrahim Bako was a senior officer in the Nigerian Army who played a principal role in two Nigerian military coups: the July 1966 counter-coup and the December 1983 coup. The 1983 coup ousted the democratic government of Shehu Shagari while the July 1966 coup ousted the military government of General Ironsi. Bako was killed while attempting to arrest President Shehu Shagari during the December 1983 coup d'état.

Retired Captain Muhammad Bala Shagari, is the District Head of Shagari Local Government, in Sokoto State. He holds the traditional title of Sarkin Mafaran Shagari.

Alhaji Gidado Idris, GCON was a Nigerian civil servant who served as the Secretary to the Government and Head of Service of the federation in Nigeria between 1993-1999, during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.

Bello Bala Shagari

Bello Shagari is a Youth Activist & Leader, Documentary Filmmaker and the President Of The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN)


  1. "The old Bureaucracy is coming back – Eric Teniola". Nigerian Insight. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  2. Pofile of Shehu Shagari
  3. Nuhu-Koko, Abubakar Atiku (26 February 2008). "Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR, @ 83". Daily Triumph (Kano). Triumph Publishing Company Limited, via Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Shehu Shagari, Beckoned To Serve: An Autobiography.
  5. Meaning of Usman in
  6. Obotetukudo, Solomon (2011). The Inaugural Addresses and Ascension Speeches of Nigerian Elected and Non elected presidents and prime minister from 1960 -2010. University Press of America. pp. 76–78.
  7. "Leadership, Policy Making, and Economic Growth in African Countries: The Case of Nigeria" (PDF).
  8. Badru, Pade (1998). Imperialism and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria, 1960-1996. Africa World Press. p. 91. ISBN   0-86543-603-7.
  9. "Shehu Shagari, Former President of Nigeria Dies at Age 93". OkayNG. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  10. Warami, Urowayino (29 December 2018). "Buhari, Jonathan, Saraki, Ibori others mourn". Vanguard News Nigeria. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  11. Published. "Ex-President Shehu Shagari dies at 93". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  12. Lawal, Nurudeen (29 December 2018). "Buhari mourns Shagari, describes him as man of unparalleled patriotism, humility". - Nigeria news. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  14. Oyeleke, Sodiq. "Latest News Shehu Shagari Died At National Hospital, Abuja – Tambuwal". Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  15. Shagari, Bello (28 December 2018). "I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja". @Belshagy. Retrieved 29 December 2018.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Olusegun Obasanjo
President of Nigeria
October 1, 1979 December 31, 1983
Succeeded by
Muhammadu Buhari