Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy, has revealed that former President Shehu Shagari though was a “chain smoker” never disrespected his office by smoking in it.
The professor said this on Monday while speaking at an occasion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian civil war.
Utomi said, “President Shagari was a chain smoker but he never smoked in public and he respected the office of the president so much that he never smoked inside that office either. ”
“To smoke, President Shagari would come out. And I would come out; and Aba Dabu and I would corner him and start chatting him up. And I saw a true nationalist in that man, that history and the newspapers probably will not capture enough.”
On how he got a job with Shagari’s government, he said,“I somehow got lucky, a young fellow coming back from grad school, thinking he could change the world and then I got identified by that vice-president [late Alex Ekwueme] and one day he says to me, ‘President Shagari, yesterday, approved for you to replace Prof. Odenigwe’; and I said, ‘what does that mean?’. ”