But I had a mind that explored and I went in search of history as written by the people those Leaders disliked and I saw the flaws they’d hidden.
So if they disliked/hated someone, the records bore them witness because they put it on record.
Or an example like Olaiya Fagbamigbe for instance...
The man however fell out with Awo’s party UPN in 1983 and went to the NPN then suddenly became a demon whose name was wiped out.
Corruption, Impunity, Gbatueyoism etc are among the things the man was accused of - as APC would later do to GEJ/PDP.
And Shagari himself wrote a book “Beckoned To Serve” - where he describes himself in his own words - and he was quite open.
No charge of corruption ever stuck on Shagari either for his time before or after office - although many were brought.
Ironically, Ige wrote about that saga with pride.
But this is about Shehu Shagari as I see him...
Shagari was one of those who could truly say they were right there at the very beginning.
Shagari by himself though was a renowned Leader
From the North, you had Bello Maitama Yusuf, Iya Abubakar, Musa Daggash, Shettima Monguno, Ibrahim Tahir, Ibrahim Dasuki, Olusola Saraki, Abubajar Rimi.
If you weren’t at that Assembly from your zone, you weren’t really a leader - although Awolowo didn’t go but he had his folks.
But Shagari interestingly did not show interest in becoming President and in spite of that (or maybe because of that) was chosen.
Interestingly, Shagari as Chairman of Peugeot Automobile at the time donated 3 cars to Zik for campaign.
And NPN decided to look Northward.
His backers had to quickly push forward another manoeuvre for their man.
The rule though was two-thirds majority.
In choosing VP, Shagari showed clearheadedness and firmness but managed it so well that the SE owned the eventual choice of Ekwueme.
Shagari on the campaign trail hinted Ekwueme that he’ll be chosen.
Shagari/Ekwueme (NPN) – 5,688,587
Awolowo/Umeadi (UPN) – 4,916,651
Azikiwe/Audu (NPP) – 2,822,523
Kano/Ikoku (PRP) – 1,732,113
Ibrahim/Nzeribe (GNPP) – 1,686,489
But the winner needed 12 and 2/3rds to win.
Awo went with the latter interpretation which Shagari didn’t have while Akinjide came up with the 12.67 argument - divide the 13th state into 3.
In addition to winning 12 states, Shagari also won 243,423 votes in Kano which was more than 25% of 2/3rds of Kano which was 813,842.
FEDECO declared Shagari, the tribunal rejected it and the Supreme Court also did.
By the next election in 1983, Shagari had been thoroughly maligned and painted as the devil.
Was it rigged? Yes, I believe so.
Could Awo and his UPN have won though? No, NPN had the upper hand and a lot of political reasons were at play but I can’t go into it all here, just a few:
Olunloyo beat him fair and square.
The tribunal later upturned the gubernatorial result but Shagari/NPN won much votes from there.
In Kano, we later found out that PRP struck a deal that astoundingly alloted a part of their votes to NPN’s votes.
So I believe NPN won it.
So strong were they that NPN had used MKO Abiola to set up a rival media house to counter them but it didn’t work.
December 31, 1983: Buhari struck.
Democracy at the initial stage is by no means perfect; but Democracy at any stage has the means to rejuvenate and refine itself if left alone.
Tno matter how bad a Democratic Govt is, no matter how it rigs itself into office again and again - a day will come that the system will reconfigure itself and reestablish true democracy.
Just keep the military out!
It was a selfish disservice to Nigeria.
That event is a huge part of our problems today.
Yes it would have had some downsides but holistically, Nigeria would have been better for it - and I don’t want to belabour this point.
The Buhari regime in particular demonised politics and politicians in order to look good - still his style today, sadly.
Only the likes of Sule Lamido who had gone into the House of Reps as a young man remained to guide us - and Bola Ige.
Some say in fact, that the coup was done to prevent that from happening.
This is why no one should believe these ones will hand over to the Igbos in 2023 - they’ll rather do a coup.
It is because men like Buhari thought they’re better than men like Shagari.
But men are bound to repeat the mistakes of the history they refuse to learn from.
Important again to say that the UPN media did him wrong.
But when you widen your horizon and deepen your historical knowledge, you’ll see that he was neither an angel nor a demon, just human.
Like the best and worst of us all.
We celebrate him as surely as we will denigrate them when they also die - the twice proven incompetent gang of power-grabbers.
My knowledge of history is the exact reason I’m in politics and it’s why I chose the side that I belong to - I can hardly help it
History without relevance to the Now, is Dead.