Buhari, IBB, Jonathan, Daniel, others mourn Shonekan

Tributes and condolence messages have poured in since the death of former interim government leader Ernest Shonekan was reported on Tuesday morning. 

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement signed by his media aide Femi Adesina, gave his deepest condolences to Mr Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, his family and loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun state.

The president described Mr Shonekan as a peacemaker who salvaged Nigeria from sinking.

“He 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,” Mr Buhari said.

“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,” he added.

On his part, former president Goodluck Jonathan described Mr Shonekan as “an elder statesman, well-loved for his sincerity and sense of purpose.”

“As a leader, Chief Shonekan was well respected because of the enormous goodwill he brought into governance,” Mr Jonathan said, adding that “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.”

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar said Mr Shonekan’s death came “at a time when the country would need his skills and global connections in finding solutions to many of our intractable challenges.”

“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, remain enduring,” Mr Abubakar said.

“My condolences go to 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. It is my prayer that God almighty receives his soul in a peaceful repose.”

Former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, described Mr Shonekan, in his condolence message as, “an uncommon patriot.”

“He was a man, a leader and an uncommon patriot who had a presence of mind and whose understanding of Nigeria was profound and remarkable. It is indeed a personal loss to me,” Mr Babangida said. 

Mr Babangida acknowledged Mr Shonekan’s efforts during his time as the head of the interim government, noting that his “brilliance and meticulous interrogation of situations helped in large measure to forge ahead during the period.”

In a letter addressed to Mrs Shonekan and seen by Peoples Gazette, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, said he had “no doubt that Chief Shonekan lived a life of absolute fulfilment and, in all ramification, he earned a space in the book of patriots.” 

“Nigeria has lost one of its finest Corporate players, one of the earliest Captains in the Industry as Chairman of the UACN; a rare and distinguished personality as President of the country and an advocate of peace. In Ogun State, we have lost a pillar of support and an elder statesman,” Mr Daniel said. 

Mr Shonekan died at the age of 85 at the Evercare Hospital in Lekki, Lagos. 

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