A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, on Monday joined other Nigerians in extolling the virtues of a former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died on Friday in Abuja at the age of 93.
George described the late Second Republic President as a modest man with calmness of purpose.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by Mr Uthman Shodipe, his Special Adviser on Media, George said the death of Shagari had robbed the country of a great and visionary leader.
The remains of the nation’s first executive President had been laid to rest on Saturday in his village, Shagari in Sokoto State.
George, a former Military Administrator of Ondo State, described Shagari as a detribalised Nigerian who did his best in the service of the people.
He noted that his meetings with Shagari were with a noble, natural and candid man, who bore no grudges against anybody.
“Shagari was a true patriot without adornments, stripped of hubris, fully fleshed in modesty and calmness of purpose.
“His passage has robbed the nation of a man whose leadership was unforced, whose vision was focused, whose devotion to the nation was thorough without any tincture of ethnic bias. He was straight-laced in all ramifications.
“He bore no grudges nor was he embittered by any experience. He calmly moved on, undetained by enmity.
“Shagari was without malice, cheerful and confident, distant from rancor, beholding totally to the forgiven spirit, ‘’ George said.
The PDP chieftain recalled that he first met Shagari when the former President came to launch the Nigerian Naval flagship, “NNS Aradu’’ sometime in 1980.
According to George, Shagari, even as the rallying leader of the nation, he shone with certain poise and instinctive humility, while carrying about him a candid nobility, long tempered by accustomed natural simplicity.
“It is this softened, friendly, radiating defining aura that ultimately moulded the essential corpus of this great man throughout his life.
“In all, he was a testament of sincere, selfless, dedicated and honest leadership without which no society can be enhanced in greater glory.
“He will be sorely missed wherever honour, truth, devotion to the righteous vision are treasured, ‘’ he said. (NAN)