Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Minister of Transport, has described the death of former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, as a great loss to the nation.
Shagari, who was president between 1979 and 1983, passed away at the National Hospital, Abuja earlier on Friday, at 93.
In an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) via telephone, Babatope said that the country has just lost a tolerant and peace-loving leader in Shagari.
He said: “Shagari was nice and gentleman. He was a great leader and democrat, a model of politics without bitterness.
“I belonged to the UPN and he was president under the platform of the NPN, but I can tell you that Shagari did not have any problem with anybody because of his political views.
“There was no clampdown on anybody under his government and the kind of politically-motivated killings we have nowadays were almost absent.
“Even, Pa Awolowo, an opposition leader, highly regarded him because he was a peace loving leader who abhored violence. I can tell you that because I was the spokesman of UPN.
“The nation has lost a quintessential leader, a true nationalist and statesman; he will be remembered for all the good things his name represents.”