Chief Ernest Shonekan, the former head of the Interim National Government that succeeded the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida, is dead.
Shonekan, a boardroom guru before his selection to head the Interim National Government, died in Lagos at the age of 85.
He was the Chairman of the interim National Government between August 26 and November 17 1993 when he was ousted in a palace coup led by late General Sani Abacha who was Secretary of Defence.
In a statement on Tuesday signed by Adeboye Shonekan, the family confirmed the demise of their patriarch, adding that further details would be released.
The statement was titled, ‘Chief (Dr) Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan, GCFR, CBE’.
It read, “To the glory of the Almighty, the Shonekan family announces the passing of our patriarch, loving husband to Margaret, dutiful father to us all and former Head of State, Chief Ernest, Adegunle, Oladeinde Shonekan, GCFR, CBE, the Baba Sale of Egbaland.
“He passed this morning of natural causes at the age of 85.
“The family will release further details in due course.”
In a condolence message, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), noted that “Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace, and unity transcends the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.”
Nigeria owes a great debt to the late Ernest Shonekan, Buhari mourns. The message was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari Pays Tribute To The Life, Legacy Of Chief Shonekan’.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has received with profound sadness the news of the death of a great statesman and former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, the President extends deepest condolences to Chief Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun State.
“As an internationally-respected statesman, President Buhari affirms that, with courageous wisdom, Chief Shonekan left his flourishing business career to become the Head of Government, at a delicate time when the country needed someone of his calm mien and pedigree to save the ship of state from sinking.
“The President notes that Chief Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace, and unity transcends the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.
“President Buhari believes that Nigeria owes a great debt to Chief Shonekan, the peacemaker, who even at the twilight of his life never stopped believing and working for a prosperous and democratic country.
“The President prays that the memory of the departed Head of Government will remain a blessing to Nigeria even as he finds perfect peace with Almighty God.”