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Shehu Shagari

Shehu Shagari




Nigeria's First Democratically Elected President

Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR, the first democratically elected President of Nigeria, was born on February 25, 1925, in Shagari, Nigeria, to a Sunni Muslim Fulani family. Raised in a polygamous household, he was the sixth child of his parents, Aliyu Shagari, who served as Magajin Shagari, and his mother. After the passing of his father, Shehu's elder brother briefly assumed the role of Magajin Shagari.

Shagari's educational journey began in a Quranic school, followed by attendance at Yabo Elementary School and later Barewa College. He furthered his education at the Teachers Training College in Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria, from 1944 to 1952. Shagari commenced his professional career as a visiting teacher in the Sokoto Province from 1953 to 1958, concurrently serving on the Federal Scholarship Board.

Entering politics in 1951, Shagari became a key figure in the Northern People's Congress, advocating for independence and democratic ideals despite facing challenges. His political career burgeoned with his election to the federal House of Representatives for Sokoto West in 1954. Over the years, he held various ministerial positions, contributing significantly to Nigeria's economic and social development.

After the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, Shagari redirected his focus to education and served in various capacities, including executive secretary of the Sokoto Province Education Development Fund and Commissioner for Education in the defunct North Western States. Following the Nigerian Civil War, he played a crucial role in economic development and reconstruction efforts under General Yakubu Gowon's administration.

In 1979, Shagari's political journey culminated in his election as the presidential candidate for the National Party of Nigeria, leading to his historic victory in the general election. As president, he prioritized agriculture, industry, housing, and transportation, overseeing significant projects aimed at economic growth and infrastructure development.

However, Shagari's presidency faced challenges, including economic downturns, corruption allegations, and security concerns. Despite his efforts to stabilize the economy and promote good governance, he was overthrown in a military coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari in 1983.

Shagari's legacy extends beyond politics, as he was a devoted family man, married to three wives and blessed with several children. He authored several books, including his autobiography "Beckoned To Serve" and "The Challenge of Change," reflecting his vision and leadership philosophy.

On December 28, 2018, Shehu Shagari passed away at the National Hospital in Abuja after a brief illness, leaving behind a rich legacy of public service and dedication to Nigeria's development.


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Place of Birth: Shagari



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Date of Birth: February 25, 1925

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