The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has described the late Shehu Shagari as a patriot, nationalist, and president with respect for the dignity of labour.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, said this in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday in Abuja.
Wabba said Shagari would have industrialised Nigeria if he had not been removed in a coup led by Muhammadu Buhari in 1983.
The statement read: “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress would like to join the Nigerian government, world leaders, family members and other Nigerians in mourning the death of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, Elder statesman and first Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“As President, Shagari, as he was popularly known, was humble, personable, considerate and broad-minded, some of the reasons that explained his popularity amongst the ordinary people.”
“Shagari initiated some of the landmark projects including iron and steel and petrochemicals in his quest to make Nigeria an industrial hub.”
“Not a few hold the view that but for the coup that removed him from power in 1983, unceremoniously cutting short his second term, Shagari would have seen through his vision of a highly industrialised Nigeria.”
“We similarly hold the view that given his urbane and simple and straightforward lifestyle, Shagari would have built an enduring culture of democratic succession in spite of some of the disputed elections in his time.”
The NLC president said Shagari’s removal did little to diminish his towering stature as no act of corruption or wrongdoing was traced to him.
Wabba said in retirement, the late Shagari was both a respected voice of moderation and wisdom from which succeeding leaders befitted until death took him away.