Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has declared that the December 31, 1983 coup which ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari (then Maj. Gen.) as the military head of state prevented an Igbo presidency in the country.
This was contained in the governor’s tribute to former President Shehu Shagari who died on Friday.
Obiano in the tribute signed by his Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, described the demise of Shagari as a “loss of a great friend” of the people of the state.
The tribute reads, “Anambra State has lost a great friend with the passing of ex-President Shehu Shagari on Friday, 28.
“Ex-President Shagari put his emphasis on and he found Ndi-Anambra as devoted compatriots to help him carry out his vision.
“It took the gumption of the former president to nominate the hugely cerebral Anambra son, Dr Alex Ekwueme, as his vice-president.”
He added, “Ex-President Shagari worked effectively with Dr Ekwueme to give Nigeria a participatory democracy that accommodated all sections of the vast country from 1979 to 1983. Shagari’s belief in Ekwueme led to his re-nomination of Ekwueme for the second tenure which they won before the military tragically truncated democratic rule.
“But for the military coup, Shagari had placed Ekwueme on the saddle to succeed him as President which would have effectively put an end to the marginalization agitations following the civil war.”
Obiano recalled that in the education sector, Shagari led the charge in converting the College of Arts and Science at Oko in Anambra State to a Federal Polytechnic, while also authorising the provision of requisite infrastructure to make education qualitative.