General News

How Ernest Shonekan died – Family, Buhari, Jonathan mourn

Ernest Shonekan

A former Nigerian leader, Ernest Shonekan, died of “natural causes” on Tuesday morning, his family has said.

Adeboye Shonekan stated this in a statement on behalf of the family.

The late Nigerian leader was 85.

The family said they would release further details in due course.

The Ogun-born statesman was the head of the interim government that led Nigeria between the military governments of Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha.

Already, condolences have been pouring in for Mr Shonekan, who was popularly known as the Baba Sale of Egbaland.

President Muhammadu Buhari described the late leader as an internationally-respected statesman with courageous wisdom.

Mr Buhari said Mr 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.”

In his condolence message, former President Goodluck Jonathan said Mr Shonekan was a peacemaker and bridge builder who left enduring legacies.

“As a leader, Chief Shonekan was well respected because of the enormous goodwill he brought into governance.

“He was a compassionate and determined administrator, a peacemaker and bridge builder who stepped in to lead the nation at a very difficult time in the history of its political evolution.”

Buhari, Jonathan mourn Shonekan

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the news of the death of the former Head of the Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan.

The president, in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, in Abuja extended condolences to Mr Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun State.

Mr Shonekan died Tuesday at the age of 85.

President Buhari affirmed that, as an internationally-respected statesman with courageous wisdom, Mr 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 noted that Mr Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace and unity transcended the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.

According to him, Nigeria owes a great debt to Mr Shonekan, adding that even at the twilight of his life time, he never stopped believing and working for a prosperous and democratic country.

‘An elder statesman’

Also, former President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness over the news of the passing of Mr Shonekan.

Mr Jonathan made this known in a condolence message to the family and the Government of Ogun State, signed by his Special Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, on Tuesday, in Abuja.

He described Mr Shonekan as “an elder statesman, well-loved for his sincerity and sense of purpose.”

The former president also described Mr Shonekan as a peacemaker and bridge builder who left enduring legacies.

“As a leader, Chief Shonekan was well respected because of the enormous goodwill he brought into governance.

“He was a compassionate and determined administrator, a peacemaker and bridge builder who stepped in to lead the nation at a very difficult time in the history of its political evolution.

“Before he assumed office as the head of the Interim National Government in 1993, Chief Shonekan had become a boardroom guru, having established himself as a foremost industrialist and one of the leaders of the business world.

“He left enduring legacies, part of which was his considerable effort towards mainstreaming the private sector in the development drive of the nation, especially with the institutionalisation of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), which he founded.

“Shonekan will also be remembered for his great wisdom, peaceful disposition, the goodwill he extended to all as well as his significant contributions to the growth and economy of the nation,” Mr Jonathan said. (NAN)

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