THROWBACK THURSDAY: SHEHU SHAGARI

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John F Kennedy and a young Shehu Shagari in Washington D.C -1961
John F Kennedy and a young Shehu Shagari in Washington D.C -1961

 

President Carter, Shehu Shagari and Mrs. Carter greeting cheering crowds from the White House balcony in 1980
President Carter, Shehu Shagari and Mrs. Carter greeting cheering crowds from the White House balcony in 1980

 

Shehu Shagari decorating current President, Goodluck Jonathan with Nigeria's highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR.
Shehu Shagari decorating current President, Goodluck Jonathan with Nigeria’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR.

Born on the 25th of February 1925, Shehu Usman Shagari was the 6th president of the republic of Nigeria. He was the president of Nigeria from 1979 -1983. Shagari is from the northern part of nigeria, He was a fulani man from Sokoto.

Shehu Shagari was born into a polygamous family from the village of Shagari in Sokoto, His father was a farmer but later gave this occupation up to rule the village. Religious recitals were mandatory Shagari village hence Shehu started learning recitals from the age of four at home, He later moved to Kaduna for further education and served as a teacher briefly.

Shagari ran for office in 1954 and he was elected into the federal house of representatives. Thereafter he held several posts and was a member of of every administration after Nigerias independence in 1960. After a military coup overthrew civilian government, He retired to his hometown in 1966. He was appointed federal commissioner of economic development under Gen Yakubu Gowon in 1971, A position he took over from Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Shagari went on in 1979 to face and defeat Gen Gowon in the presidential elections after the military government led by Olusegun Obasanjo allowed a return to civilian rule.

Nigeria was badly shaken by the international economic crisis of the early 1980s. Shagari took several steps to try to strengthen the economy—cutting the budget, calling in the International Monetary Fund, and expelling two million aliens (mostly Ghanaians) in 1983. He won the bitterly contested presidential elections in 1983, but the state of the economy and corruption in his administration worsened, and on Dec. 31, 1983, a military coup led by Maj. Gen. Muhammad Buhari toppled the government, and Shagari was arrested. Shagari was cleared of personal corruption charges and released from detention in 1986 but was banned from participation in Nigerian politics for life.

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