President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has described the former Head of the Interim National Government of Nigeria, Chief Ernest Shonekan, as a symbol of national unity.
Lawan stated this yesterday in his concluding remarks after the Senate considered a motion on Shonekan’s demise.
He said: “Today, we are celebrating this great man because he served our country, and it is that service to our people that will make us feel happy and pleased with ourselves, and also make us part of leaders that would have served their country meritoriously.
“The contribution of most of us centred on when he came into office, when he was made the head of the interim national government; that says a lot, because at that time the military was looking for someone who’ll be acceptable to the civilians and citizens across the country, since things became difficult for the military.
“Therefore, the military authority at that time, to fish out a gentleman who had shown no signs of going into politics to contest for any leadership position, showed that was a person that could be a unifier and peace-bringer that could midwife the democracy for the next dispensation.
“He did what he was expected to do until he was removed. But the pint remains that he was a symbol of national unity.
“Surely at this time, we need people like him with the experience of both public and private lives to make us mat Chh forward as we are determined to do to make Nigeria better for all citizens.”
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who sponsored the motion, noted “with grief the passage of Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan, Former Head of the Interim National Government of Nigeria, on Tuesday, 11h January, 2022 at the age of 85 years;
“Further notes that Chief Ernest Shonekan, an indigene of Ogun State, was a British trained lawyer, a
consummate administrator, a renowned industrialist, a seasoned businessman and politician, who served as the Head of the Interim National Government of Nigeria from August, 26th, 1993 to November, 17th, 1993;
“Aware that Chief Ernest Shonekan was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on 9th May, 1936. His father was an Abeokuta-born civil servant and he was one of the six children born into the family;
“Further aware that Chief Shonekan attended C.M.S Grammar School and Igbobi College, both in Lagos State. He also attended the University of London, where he bagged a Law Degree, after which he was called to Bar;
“Observes that after being called to Bar, Chief Ernest Shonekan worked at the United African Company of Nigeria (UAC) and rose through the ranks to become the Chairman and Managing Director of the company;
“Recalls that on August 26h, 1993, Chief Shonekan was appointed as the Head of Interim National Government of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida following his stepping aside from office occasioned by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election;
“Further Recalls that three months into his Administration, Chief Shonekan was overthrown in a Palace coup by General Sani Abacha on November 17th, 1993;
“Aware that though Chief Shonekan served briefly, his contributions to national development, unity, cohesion and stability are worthy of note in the annals of our nation;
“Notes that in 1994, he founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group – an advocacy group and think-tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy;
“Further Notes that Chief Shonekan thereafter featured prominently as a cherished Leader and a respected Elder Statesman who epitomized service to humanity and the nation;
“Convinced that Chief Ernest Shonekan was a selfless Nigerian who dedicated his life to the growth and stability of Nigeria as evidenced in his public and private life; and
“Observes that Chief Shonekan was until his passage, married to Chief Mrs. Margaret Shonekan, and they had four children.”
Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Government to immortalize the deceased.
It also resolved to send a delegation to condole with the Shonekan family, the Government and people of Ogun state.
The chamber thereafter held a one minute silence in honor of the late Chief Shonekan.