Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR, (February 25, 1925 – December 28, 2018) was a Nigerian politician who served as the first and 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 1958–1975.
Shagari was made the Turaki of the Fula Sokoto Caliphate in 1962 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.
He worked as a teacher for a brief period before entering politics in 1951 and in 1954 was elected to the federal House of Representative
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. His father's name is Aliyu and his mother's name is Mariamu.
His name, Usman, means "companion". 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.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.
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
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
Shehu Shagari married three wives: Amina, Aishatu, Hadiza Shagari. 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.
Shehu Shagari died on 28h December 2018, at 1:30PM (WAT) at the National Hospital in Abuja at the age of 93.
Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR)
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. It was also confirmed by his grandson Bello Bala Shagari and Governor Tambuwal in a publication at the time of his death