Ernest Shonekan, Former Head of Interim National Govt, is Dead

Ernest Shonekan

Former Head of Nigerian Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan, is dead. He died at 85 in Lagos.

His death was confirmed by the family in a phone call with THISDAY on Tuesday morning.

Shonekan served as the interim Head of State of Nigeria from August 26. 1993 to November 17, 1993, when a military coup led by General Sani Abacha ended his interim government.

A statement later released by the family, signed by Adeboye Shonekan, read: “To the glory of the Almighty, the  Shonekan family announces the passing of our patriarch, loving husband to Margaret, dutiful father to us all and former Head of State, Chief Ernest, Adegunle, Oladeinde Shonekan, GCFR, CBE, the Baba Sale of Egbaland.

“He passed this morning of natural causes at the age of 85.

“The family will release further details in due course.”

Chief Shonekan, came into government at the highest level on January 2, 1993, when the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, appointed him as Head of the Transitional Council and Head of Government as part of the final phase of the process leading to the end of military rule and installation of a democratically elected President for the Third Republic.

He later became the interim Head of State (Head of Interim National Government) after Military President Babangida ‘stepped aside’ from office on August 26, 1993 following the crisis that trailed the annulment of the June 12 presidential election, won by Chief MKO Abiola.
His government could however not hold another presidential election due to workers’ strike and unending protests, particularly in South west, before it was overthrown by the military junta of Late General Sani Abacha.

Born on May 9, 1936, Shonekan, who held the traditional title of Abese of Egbaland, among other chieftaincy titles, attended CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College. He received a law degree from the University of London and was called to the bar.

Prior to his political career, Shonekan was chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the United African Company of Nigeria (UAC).

He is survived by wife, Margaret, and children.