Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has described former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari who marks his 88 years today as a statesman of uncommon pedigree.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu said that as Nigeria's first Executive President, Shagari demonstrated probity and accountability; placed premium on the values and virtues of democracy.
This was contained in a statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Danladi Ndayebo, in which the governors also maintained that Shagari's life symbolised a rejection of the corrupting influences that usually distract leaders' commitment to improving the lot of the common man.
"Shagari's politics eschews bitterness. Even opponents concede that he is a disciplined man whose life symbolises a rejection of the corrupting influences that distracts the commitment of some leaders to improving the lot of the common man.
"The former Nigerian leader is a statesman of uncommon pedigree that we see as a tower of strength in the cause of liberty and our democracy. We identify with him as the greatest statesman around today. Shagari is not only an example that we all should follow, but he is truly a living legend," the statement added.
The forum said Shagari left legacies in critical sectors of the economy: Nation-building and national reconciliation, agriculture, national security, foreign policy, education, health as well as oil and gas development. Others are solid minerals development and tourism.
The forum said that it was proud to be associated with the achievements of the former Nigerian leader, especially his contribution to the deepening of the nation's democracy.
It then prayed God to grant him excellent health, courage and many more years of selfless service to Nigeria and humanity.