|Birth Day:||February 25, 1925|
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He taught religious recitals at an array of primary schools.
Shehu Usman Shagari was born on 25 February 1925 in Shagari to a Sunni Muslim Fulani family. Shagari was founded by his great-grandfather, Ahmadu Rufa'i. He was raised in a polygamous family, and was the sixth child born into the family. His father, Aliyu Shagari, was the Magajin Shagari (magaji means village head). Prior to becoming Magajin Shagari, Aliyu 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. Aliyu died five years after Shehu's birth, and Shehu's elder brother, Bello, briefly took on his father's mantle as Magajin Shagari.
In 1948, when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the NCNC was touring Nigeria to raise funds to send a delegation to London to ask the colonial office to abrogate Richard's constitution as undemocratic, Shehu Shagari who was a keen reader of the West-African Pilot paper was the only man of Sokoto origin to attend this meeting. When the British Provincial Educational Officer was informed of Shagari's attendance, his salary increment was postponed that year to serve as a punishment.
The West-African Pilot was banned in the northern region schools and Shagari wrote for it an article for its revival in 1948. At the same time, Shagari had started advocating for the departure of colonial rule that he had produced a Hausa pamphlet carrying poetry which he named "Anti Colonialist" and put it in circulation. In 1950, Shagari, a young teacher at 25, was nominated by a British District officer H.A.S Johnson to participate in the Ibadan Conference to debate the Richards Constitution.
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. However, his early Political activities started in 1945 when as a teacher, he founded a youth group called Youth Social Circle in Sokoto and became the secretary. The organization became one of the smaller groups that came together to be part of Northern People's Congress (NPC) 2hich was founded in 1948.
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 the pioneer Federal Minister for Economic Development of independent Nigeria where his Ministry was responsible for drawing the 1962–1968 development plan. Shagari's Ministry of Economic Development was also responsible for the establishment of the Niger-Delta Development Board. From 1960 to 1962, he the Federal Minister for Pensions which undertook the mission of Nigerianization of the civil service. From 1962 to 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 and had executed many important projects including Eko Bridge Lagos which was the first major contract of the German construction firm Julius Berger in Nigeria, and the completion of the Niger Bridge which was commissioned in 1966 by Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. In 1967 he was appointed as the secretary for Sokoto Province Education Development Fund. From 1968 to 1969, Shagari was given a state position in the North-Western State as Commissioner for Establishments.
As a Member of the Parliament and a Federal Minister, Shagari led and was part of several Nigerian missions abroad. As Minister of Economic Development, he was a member of the Nigerian delegation to the Tangiers Conference of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) which was led by Minister of Finance Chief Festus Okotie Eboh. In 1961, he led the delegation to the tenth anniversary of Libya's Independence. The same year, he was at the GATT Ministerial conference in Geneva, where he raised the issue of European Economic Community's (ECC) discrimination against African countries like Nigeria who were not then, associated with EEC. The same year, he led a delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPA) in London. He became the chairman of the next CPA Conference held in Lagos between October–November 1962.
In 1962, he led the delegation to ECA meeting in Addis Ababa to the commission's third meeting, the first which Nigeria attended as a full member where he strongly urged for price stabilization arrangement for tropical products. In 1963, Shagari was Nigeria's delegate to CPA meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Then in December 1965, just when Ian Smith made the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, Shehu Shagari attended the CPA conference in Wellington, New Zealand where he criticized and made an explicit denunciation of Ian Smith's declaration. In the same meeting. Shagari also expressed concerns about Rhodesia now Zimbabwe where he criticizes the Britain colonial policies the handling of Rhodesia's situation. Shehu Shagari's speech at the CPA conference was so significant and far-reaching that he had received many commendations from other delegates. He also made headlines on New Zealand's Christchurch Star of 4 December 1965, and The Morning Post of Wellington.
In 1962, he was made the Turaki of the Sokoto Sultanate 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.
After the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, Shagari was among the government officials who handed over government to the military leadership of Maj. Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi. He returned to Sokoto to promote education. He served as the Executive Secretary of the Sokoto Province Education Development Fund in 1967, where he built many provincial schools. He was later appointed as Commissioner of Establishment and Training and also served briefly as Commissioner for Education in the defunct North Western States before he was invited to serve under the Federal Military Government of Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
From 1971 to 1975 he served as the Federal Commissioner (a 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. Shagari as the Federal Minister of Finance also launched the present Nigerian currency Naira. In 1976, Shagari initiated the Nigeria Trust Fund in African Development Bank with the sum of One Hundred Million Dollars in order to assist poor African Countries to finance some of their developmental projects.
After serving under Gen. Yakubu Gowon, he returned to Sokoto again to serve as the Chairman of Sokoto State Urban Development Authority (SUDA) during which he started building Sokoto Modern Market. In the wake of local government reforms under the Obasanjo led government. Shagari was elected as the counselor of Yabo Local Government in 1976.
Afterward, he served in the 1977–1978 constituent assembly which drafted the 1979 constitution. 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.
In 1980, with the oil revenue, Shagari finished building the Kaduna refinery, which started operating that year. Also with the oil revenue, Shagari started the construction of Ajaokuta Steel Mill which was near completion by 1983. It is the biggest steel project ever embarked in Africa at the time of its construction. The steelworks has been called the "bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization".
There we also motor vehicle plants such as ANAMMCO in Anambra commissioned in 1980, The Volkswagen Assembly Plantvin Oyo State, Peugeot Automobile in Kaduna State, FIAT in Kano State and Styer in Bauchi State.
The Kano 1980 riot was a riot in Kano, Nigeria led by Maitatsine a heretical preacher and his followers and the first major religious conflict in post-colonial Kano. Over 4,177 civilians, 100 policemen and about 35 military personnel were killed, including Maitatsine himself, and is generally regarded as marking the beginning of the Yan Tatsine. Because of this, there was widespread impression that Nigeria's security and economy was threatened by illegal aliens and this belief was fueled by the fact that other West African nationals had aided in armed robberies. Illegal aliens from Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso along with over 6,000 Nigerian Muslim fanatics killed over 100 policemen while injuring 100 policemen. The army was called and alleviated the situation before the fanatics could overrun the country. However, official sources state that illegal aliens did not cause the trouble.
The Usman Dam was built in 1980, which was mean to meet the water needs of the future city. The city was also connected to the National grid during that time. A new airport runaway was also put in place which is now improved and upgraded as Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
In 1980, during Zimbabwe's independence celebration, President Shagari pledged $15 million at the celebration to train Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe and expatriates in Nigeria. Mugabe's government used part of the money to buy newspaper companies owned by South Africans, increasing the government's control over the media. The rest went to training students in Nigerian universities, government workers in the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria in Badagry, and soldiers in the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna. Later that year Mugabe commissioned a report by the BBC on press freedom in Zimbabwe. The BBC issued its report on 26 June, recommending the privatization of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and its independence from political interests.
Shagari's government has recorded a number of successes in Education. In his four-year term, there was a dramatic improvement in secondary schools and teachers in Teaching colleges multiplied. In 1981, a mass literacy campaign was launched and in 1982 a 6–3–3–5 system of education was introduced.
Shagari's administration also upgraded seven other existing colleges of Education to degree-awarding institutions in Abraka, Ondo,Kano,Ado Ekiti, Bidda, Port Harcourt, and Zaria and also established eight other Federal polytechnics in Ado Ekiti, Bidda, Bauchi, Idah, Uwana (Afikpo), Yola and Ilaro. The Federal Open University was also established during the end of Shagari's administration in 1981. It also offered scholarships for students studying abroad.
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, 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. The key objectives of the program were to limit import licenses, reduce government spending, and raise custom duties. However, the result of the stabilization program was minimal.
Shagari completed the Delta Steel complex in 1982. In 1983, Shagari created the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria at Ikot Abasi. Three other Steel Rolling Mills where built, they inlcude the ones in osogbo, Katsina and Jos. However, Shagari reduced the share of oil royalties and rents to state of origin from 30 to 2 percent. Shagari also established a Petroleum Training Institute
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. Shagari ran for a second four-year term in 1983 and won the general election before later being overthrown in the 1983 December coup d'ètat.
Even though Shehu Shagari was exonerated from personally being involved in corrupt practices, the Second Republic 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, leading to the regime becoming deeply unpopular with citizens.
In 1983, Shagari issued an executive order mandating immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country or they would be arrested according to the law. The order was in alleged response to the religious disturbances that had engulfed parts of the country in 1980 (Kano 1980 Riots ) and 1981. Most of the immigrants were West Africans and mainly Ghanaians. Over 2 million men, women and children were affected.
By 1983, Abuja had already become a functional city that council meetings and national celebrations were held there. When Shagari was removed, he was away in the city for a vacation. Abuja has since become a megacity and is now Nigeria Federal Capital Territory. Abuja was described as The Single Most Ambitious Urban Design Project of the 20th Century by a renowned architect Nnamdi Elleh
In Africa, Nigeria has had border disputes with Chad and Cameroun which almost led to a war situation but which Shagari cautiously avoided. Shagari's government was a great supporter of ECOWAS and allotted a plot for the building of its headquarters in Abuja. But despite Shagari's government scores in making peace with its neighbors, it exiled undocumented immigrants who were mostly Ghanaians of the in 1983. Even though popular with Nigerians, the action was widely criticized by commentators. It is known as Ghana Must Go, the Deportation of West African migrants from Nigeria
Shagari was overthrown and arrested by General Muhammadu Buhari in a military coup on 31 December 1983.
Shehu Shagari married three wives: Amina, Aishatu, Hadiza Shagari. He has several children, including Muhammad Bala Shagari and Aminu Shehu Shagari. On 24 August 2001, his wife, Aisha Shagari, died in a London hospital following a brief illness.
On 28 December 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. It was confirmed by his grandson Bello Bala Shagari and Governor Tambuwal in similar tweets at the time of his death.
Shehu was married to Hadiza and Aishatu Shagari. Shehu had three children.
Currently, Shehu Shagari is 97 years, 9 months and 10 days old. Shehu Shagari will celebrate 98th birthday on a Saturday 25th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Shehu Shagari upcoming birthday.
Alhaji Shehu Shagari @89: Happy Birthday | News Ghana
On behalf of the Government and good people of Bayelsa State, I hereby congratulate one of Nigeria?s most iconic, detribalized and foremost democrats,