Aminu Shagari, three-term House of Representatives member and lawyer son of the late President Shehu Shagari, has apologized to the former Nigerian president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Aminu said he helped to bring down Jonathan’s government to ensure Muhammadu Buhari emerged despite that as a military officer he led a coup that dethroned his father in 1983.
Mr. Shagari, who was president between 1979 and 1983, passed away on December 28, aged 93. He was removed in a military coup led by Nigeria’s current president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Years after, Mr. Buhari was elected as a civilian president in 2015 and while preparing to run for another tenure in 2019 he traveled to Sokoto to pay a condolence visit to the family of the former president.
He also ordered that flags should be flown at half-mast for three days at all military formations and public places in the country.
After his visit, Aminu called him out Buhari by stating that the President never gave “words of comfort” during his visit.
He said: “We didn’t hear such because he didn’t say anything. We gave him the condolence register. He only signed and put the date. Personally, I was very disappointed with that. I expected that at least, as Muslim, he would write, ‘May Allah forgive him and may Allah forgive us when our time comes.’ That makes me extremely disappointed in him.”
And in a recent interview with Punch, Aminu stated that Buhari has not contacted his family or deliver the promises to immortalize their father.
“I was never contacted and the Presidency has not contacted our family, to the best of my knowledge. Nothing has changed; the only thing I remember is that, at a campaign rally in Bauchi, after his visit to our father’s residence in Sokoto, prayers were offered for my dad. This probably was an afterthought following the backlash that followed his (Buhari) mere signing of the condolence register, with no written or verbal condolence message.
“This is somebody we really supported, campaigned for and mobilised people for his election because we obediently adhered to our father’s dictate to forgive and let bygone be bygone. The same Muhammadu Buhari, in the condolence letter he gave the state governor (Aminu Waziri Tambuwal), promised to immortalise our dad. Close to two years after his death, he has yet to fulfil his promise. Whereas he recently named certain landmarks after some Nigerians who are still alive, including former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Let me use this opportunity to tender a public apology to former President Jonathan and seek forgiveness because I helped to divide the Peoples Democratic Party and bring down his government, but, I have found out that what we thought about his stewardship was not entirely true. I expect President Buhari to also ask for forgiveness having found out that most of the things he accused my dad’s and President Jonathan’s administrations of are not true.”
Speaking on the current state of Nigeria, Aminu said “I am very disappointed.” He noted that Nigeria’s only hope is in good governance.
“I believe if we get it right in this aspect of our national life, our story would turn from bad to good within a short time. With emphasis, all we require is a credible and sincere leadership that will maximise our God-given talents and resources. A lot of us committed so much to bring this administration on board. As an individual, I assumed that, if nothing else, we would get the issue of security right, and every other thing would follow.
“Unfortunately, our security situation has degenerated from bad to worse and the President has refused to listen to every voice of reasoning. Rather, he has turned a deaf ear to what people are saying and insisted on keeping the service chiefs.
“Just recently, the government slammed the entire citizenry with a double post-COVID-19 assault – fuel price hike and increase in electricity tariff, without considering the income of Nigerians. With the minimum wage, in the face of the depreciating value of the naira, how do you expect an average Nigerian worker to survive, meet their family’s financial needs, and be happy?.”