A Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has insisted president Muhammadu Buhari is not in a position to give a tribute to the late ex-president Shehu Shagari, who died on Friday at the age of 93.
The late Shagari was the first and only president in Nigeria’s Second Republic from October 1979 till December 1983.
His democratic government was overthrown by a military coup led by current president Muhammadu Buhari.
The military government led by Buhari then arrested and detained Shagari in 1984.
President Buhari had shortly after the announcement of the death of Shagari described the sad incident as the departure of a patriot, whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
But Mohammed, on the contrary, believes Buhari’s tribute to the late former president was hypocritical.
“Quite a number of the people who would claim to be his friends were actually his enemies and they contributed tremendously to bringing down that government and in making it impossible for us to have a meaningful democratic dispensation years after his departure from office,” Mohammed said in an interview.
He said Buhari’s tribute to Shagari was “not sincere” alleging that Buhari “contribute so much in bringing down a government and bringing down a man who had nothing to gain, even though he had poor eyesight and was in poor health.”
Mohammed said Buhari’s relationship with Shagari was never rosy one for him to have described the former in such a friendly manner after his death.
He (Shagari) was in his late 60s then – you (Buhari) cannot say, from 1984 till now, you got along well. How did you get along well?”
Mohammed, however, stated that Shagari had gained respect by retiring and living a quiet lifestyle, unlike some in the current political class.
“No matter what you say about the Shagari administration, he knew how to retire from public service quietly, with a tremendous amount of nobility and self-respect. You have to give him that.”
He explained that “In terms of retirement and living a quiet life and garnering more respect, Shagari is certainly one of Nigeria’s most outstanding leaders and I certainly believe the nation will continue to mourn him appropriately.”