Buhari, Atiku, Jonathan Mourn Shonekan

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

The President, in a statement issued Tuesday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the late internationally-respected statesman left his flourishing business career with courageous wisdom 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.

Buhari said Chief 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.

The President expressed his belief that Nigeria owed a great debt to Chief Shonekan, the peacemaker, who even at the twilight of his life time never stopped believing and working for a prosperous and democratic country.

He extended condolences to Chief Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun State.

President Buhari prayed that the memory of the departed Head of Government would remain a blessing to Nigeria while finding perfect peace with Almighty God.

In his condolence message, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said although his reign as Head of State was interim, Chief Shonekan’s contribution to the peace and development of Nigeria in those days and latter years remained enduring.

Atiku said his exit at a time when the country would need his skills and global connections in finding solutions to many of her “intractable challenges” was “quite saddening”.

“My grief is not predicated not just on the demise of the elder statesman, because he died at a prime age.

“Either as a politician or a boardroom guru, Chief Shonekan possessed a unique set skill of bringing stability to a tumultuous situation.

“That obviously was the consideration that made him become Head of the Interim National Government following the crises that greeted the events after the June 12 Presidential election,” he said in a statement which he personally signed.

The Wazirin Adamawa also condoled his immediate family, the people and government of Ogun State and the entire nation for the loss of a man of industry and intellect, who lived a life of service to the country and humanity.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, in his tribute to Chief Shonekan who died Tuesday at the age of 85, said the deceased would be remembered for his great wisdom, peaceful disposition, the goodwill he extended to all as well as his significant contributions to the growth the economy of the nation.

In a condolence message to his family and the government of Ogun State, Jonathan described him as “an elder statesman, well-loved for his sincerity and sense of purpose.”

The former President, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Mr Ikechuwu Eze, further said: “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.”


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