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Obasanjo, Lawan, Akeredolu, Oyetola, Ortom, Bello, ex-Gov Daniel, PDP mourn late Shonekan



Following the death of the former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, on Tuesday morning, many Nigerians have continued to mourn his death.

In the latest condolences, Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said Shonekan’s various contributions would never be forgotten in the history of the country.

Obasanjo in a condolence letter addressed to the widow, Mrs Margaret Shonekan, obtained by newsmen in Abeokuta, described the deceased as a unifying force for the nation.

The former president said the late Shonekan lived a good life and described him as one of the illustrious sons of Africa, a community leader, a distinguished business baron and an exemplary leader in the private sector.

‘Shonekan was a unifying force for Nigeria’

“He would be remembered as a man of sustained strong will to succeed. Coming from a humble background, rising, stepping and peaking at the topmost plum in corporate management, and the very top of the giant United Africa Company (UAC) ladder, attest to his sagacity, tenacity and steadfastness.

“He founded, in 1994, the Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy, and it remains, till today, sustaining the legacy of helping to support stakeholders in the execution of policies, programmes and strategies in response to any emerging trends in national and global economies,” he said.

On the political scene, Obasanjo noted that “Chief Shonekan, as the Interim National Government in Nigeria in1993, though short-lived for the period of three months through the palace coup orchestrated by General Sani Abacha, rendered outstanding service to our country, and we will never forget that.

“It is also worthy of note that as Special Envoy on the Implementation of the Abuja Agreement on Zimbabwe in 2001 under my administration as the President of Nigeria; and Chairman, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) under Yar’Adua’s administration in 2008, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great patriotism in the discharge of his duties.

“He was a unifying force for the nation and his contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry. In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility. He was an achiever. Indeed, Chief Shonekan died at a time the country is in dire need of his leadership, a wealth of experience and wisdom to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing the nation.”

…Lawan mourns

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also condoled with Chief Shonekan’s family, the government and people of Ogun State over the death of the former Nigerian leader.

“My condolences go to the family of Chief Shonekan, the Government and people of Ogun State and entire Nigeria over this great loss.

“Chief Shonekan was a lawyer, business captain, boardroom guru and statesman. But he will be most remembered for heeding the nation’s call to duty at a very turbulent period in the history of Nigeria.

“Chief Shonekan’s services as Chairman of the Transitional Council and later as Head of the Interim National Government were selfless and contributed greatly to saving the Nigerian ship from hitting the rock,” Lawan said.

The Senate President prays for the sweet repose of the soul of the elder statesman and for his loved ones the fortitude to bear his loss.

Shonekan was a nationalist, committed to peace, unity of Nigeria ― Akeredolu

Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, described Shonekan’s death as a huge loss to the nation.

Akeredolu, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said he received the news of the death of an elder statesman with a heavy heart.

Akeredolu noted that the vast experience of the elder statesman was an asset to the country, particularly with the array of challenges confronting the nation.

He said the late Shonekan was committed to the peace and unity of the country and pursued it with vigour and dedication as a patriot.

Akeredolu maintained that the service of the former Head of Interim National Government will never be forgotten in the annals of the history of the country.

“Chief Ernest Shonekan was a nationalist per excellence. His belief in a united and peaceful Nigeria was unparalleled. He was dedicated to the progress and development of the county. He will be sorely missed.

“His historic and patriotic role in maintaining the unity of the country was one of the many things that endeared him to many. He was indeed, an asset, his counsels were useful for national cohesion and progress,” he said.

Akeredolu prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest while commiserating with his wife, the government and the people of Ogun State.

Shonekan demonstrated strong commitment to Nigeria’s peace, unity, development ― Oyetola

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, said he received the news of Shonekan’s demise with sadness.

He extended his heartfelt condolences to the wife of the deceased, Margaret, the entire Shonekan family, government and people of Ogun State.

The governor noted that the Abeokuta-born elder statesman and industrialist was an exceptional leader who in and out of office, demonstrated a strong commitment to the peace, unity and development of Nigeria.

He said the late Shonekan who led the country at a very challenging and delicate time would long be remembered for his courage, selfless and patriotic service to his fatherland.

“On behalf of my family, government and people of Osun, I commiserate with the wife of Chief Ernest Shonekan, his family, government and people of Ogun State. I pray God to grant the soul of Chief Shonekan eternal rest and give his beloved wife, family and the people of Ogun State the fortitude to bear his loss,” Oyetola said.

Nigeria has lost an icon ― Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said “Shonekan was an outstanding role model who stood to be counted when it mattered.”

“Shonekan was a vibrant and courageous leader who left his positive footprints in the sands of time.

“Though his stint in office was short, he made great impacts. Nigerians felt his contributions within that time giving his experience as a technocrat in the organized private sector. He prioritized the welfare and security of all citizens without prejudice.

“His invaluable contributions to the ideals of nationhood remains a reference point in many years to come. Posterity will be kind to him.

“Chief Shonekan was a great nationalist. It is sad to lose him at a time like this when Nigeria needed his wealth of experience and wise counsel to navigate through the murky political waters,” he said.

He will be remembered for his good leadership ― Niger governor

Niger State Governor and Chairman, North Central Governors Forum (NCGF) Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, said Shonekan’s loss was not only to the people of Abeokuta but also the whole country owing to his immense contributions in the growth and development of the country when it was much needed.

The NCGF Chairman acknowledged the fact that the deceased is among the greatest leaders the country ever had.

According to the governor, late Chief Shonekan “was a committed elder statesman who had a genuine love for his country. He will be remembered for the good leadership he provided to the country within three months.

“May God have mercy on his soul and grant him eternal rest as well as comfort his wife and other family members, people of Egbaland as well as Ogun State government.”

Shonekan lived a life of absolute fulfilment ― Ogun ex-governor, Daniel

Similarly, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, said he had no doubt that Chief Shonekan lived a life of absolute fulfilment and, in all ramifications, he earned a space in the book of patriots.

Daniel said the country has lost one of its finest corporate players, one of the earliest captains in the Industry as Chairman of the UACN.

“I first met Chief Ernest Shonekan in the corporate world as Chairman of UACN, several years ago, being a UAC Scholar myself, and we remain close till his death. Personally, I have lost a father, friend, mentor and adviser.

“But in all these, let us take solace that he lived a fulfilled and adorable life that generations after us will remember.

“On behalf of my family, I offer my deepest condolences and pray that God Almighty will provide the much-needed strength to carry on at this time of such great loss,” Daniel said.

Shonekan’s death a national tragedy ― PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the death of Chief Shonekan, as a national tragedy.

A statement issued by Hon Debo Ologunagba, its National Publicity Secretary on Tuesday noted that Chief Shonekan was a very courageous, humble and patriotic leader; a bridge-builder and extraordinary statesman, who dedicated his life and made immense sacrifices to ensure the unity and stability of the country “in the heat of the political crisis that threatened our corporate existence as a nation following the annulment of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election.”

The statement said the former Head of the Interim National Government was an accomplished personality and a visionary leader, whose efforts in applying his vast experience as a consummate lawyer and businessman to reposition the nation, despite the daunting challenges faced by his three-month regime between August and November 1993 cannot be forgotten.

It noted that Chief Shonekan’s commitment to the entrenchment of democracy was evident in his determination to restore the rule of law and transparency in governance.

“Even outside the office, Chief Shonekan remained committed to the unity, stability and development of our nation. Our Party grieves that he left the stage at the time the nation needed his wealth of experience and wise counsel the most,” the PDP said.

The main opposition party commiserated with the Federal Government, the government and people of Ogun State and the Shonekan family and prayed to God to grant the nation and the bereaved family the fortitude to bear this huge national loss.



Report was written by Adeolu Adeyemo, Osogbo, Olayinka Olukoya – Abeokuta, Tijani Adeyemi – Abuja, Hakeem Gbadamosi – Akure, Johnson Babajide – Makurdi, Adelowo Oladipo – Minna, Leon Usigbe – Abuja


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