Chief Ernest Oladeinde Shonekan, the former head of the Interim Government is dead.
He died in Lagos on Tuesday 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.
Before he ventured into politics, Shonekan was the chairman and chief executive of the United African Company of Nigeria (UAC), a vast Nigerian conglomerate, which at the time was the largest African-controlled company in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Shonekan joined UAC in 1964 and rose through the ranks to become a board member at the age of 40. He was made chairman and managing director in 1980, and went on to cultivate a wide array of international business and political connections.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a condolence message to the Ogun State government for the death of the statesman. President Buhari noted that “Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace and unity transcend the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.”
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 transcend 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 lifetime 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.”