The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the former President Shehu Shagari’ funeral last Saturday.
In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said:
“President Buhari’s absence at the funeral, particularly regarding Shagari’s status as the first executive president of our country, is unpardonable and very wrong precedence in our national protocol.”
PDP noted that Buhari only visited Shagari’s family after the funeral.
“This action by the Buhari presidency has also sent a wrong signal to the international community on our national values and respect for our patriots,” the party declared.
Noting that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also absent at the burial, the PDP expressed dismay that “the Federal Government took no concrete step to honor Shagari, other than a rather belated directive to fly the national flag at half-mast for just three days and a dramatic visit to Sokoto by President Buhari.”
The statement further reads:
“Sadly, while our beloved President Shagari was at the National Hospital, Abuja, passing through his last moments on this realm, President Buhari was busy at his campaign rally in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, boasting of how he, as military head of state, sacked the Second Republic, arrested and locked up the then President Shehu Shagari and his officials, in clear violation of our nation’s constitution.
“Such disdain on our respected national figure by President Buhari is completely ‘unpresidential.’”
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on Nigerians to imbibe the good habits of forgiveness, simplicity, and integrity of the late Shagari.
He made the call on Monday when he condoled with the family.
Obasanjo, who arrived Shagari’s resident in Sokoto at about 9:50 a.m and was received by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, described the deceased as an epitome of integrity with a deep commitment to Nigeria.
He recalled that they both served as Federal Commissioners during Yakubu Gowon regime, noting that the deceased was honest and transparent.
“The late Shagari should not be mourned, but be celebrated as a true, honest and sincere leader who was a nationalist to the core. Nigerians has lost a gem.”
Responding on behalf of the family, the late president eldest son, Bala Shagari appreciated Obasanjo for the visit and recalled that he assisted his father to own a house in Abuja.
Also, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has commiserated with the family over the demise of the ex-president.
In a statement yesterday signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mark Longyen, the governor described Shagari as a man of exemplary character who epitomized patriotism, integrity, humility and maturity.
“Shagari’s death has indeed robbed Nigeria of a great nationalist and uncommon elder statesman whose wise counsel will be missed by the nation, especially in this critical epoch of her nation-building efforts.”
Shagari’s last minister for youths and sports, Senator Benett Birabi, has described the exit of the former president as the end of the era of altruistic politics in Nigeria.