By Uche Amunike
Since Nigeria lost her former President, Chief Ernest Shonekan on Tuesday morning, tributes have continued to flow from all over the country and beyond.
In a condolence letter from former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo and addressed to the late Shonekan’s widow, Margaret, Obasanjo described him as a role model whom the world will remember for having a sustained strong will to succeed.
In the letter, Obasanjo recalled how Shonekan founded an Economic Summit Group which was the think-tank and advocacy group that was formed for private sector-led development.
He added that the group made it possible for the legacy of helping to support concerned parties in the execution of policies, strategies and programs in response to new trends in national and global economies to be sustained.
He also stated that Chief Ernest Shonekan, never for once, lost the common touch and sense of service to his family and immediate environment, even at the hour of great achievement and undisguised success.
His words: ‘On the political scene, Chief Shonekan, as the Head of the Interim National Government in Nigeria, in 1993, though short-lived for the period of three months, through the palace coup orchestrated by General Sani Abacha, rendered outstanding service to our country, and we will never forget that’.
‘It is also worthy of note that as Special Envoy on the Implementation of the Abuja Agreement on Zimbabwe in 2001 and Chairman, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in 2008, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great patriotism in the discharge of his duties.’
Obasanjo went in to describe Chief Ernest Shonekan as a unifying force for Nigeria, stressing that his contribution to the developmental growth of democracy in the country will never be forgotten.
He eulogized him as an achiever who lived nobly and died in nobility.
‘While expressing, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, our sympathies to you and the entire members of your family as well as to the government and the good people of Ogun State, it is our prayer that the Almighty God will grant him eternal rest and comfort all those he left behind,’ the letter concluded.
On his own part, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu at the death of the former Head of State.
In his condolence message released by his Media Aide, Tunde Rahman, he described the late Chief Ernest Shonekan as a peaceful man who strived to bring unity and concord at a time when Nigeria was going through turbulent times.
According to the former governor of Lagos State, the late Shonekan was a technocrat and boardroom expert who performed excellently as Chairman of United African Company (UAC) adding that he will have led Nigeria with that same vision and skill which they used in making waves in UAC.
Tinubu described him as someone who had competence, character technical background and the capability to undertake the job effortlessly.
He extended his condolences to Chief Shonekan’s widow and the entire people of Ogun state over their collective loss.
Recall that Chief Ernest Shonekan who was the head of the interim government that lead Nigeria between the military governments of Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha died of natural causes according to a statement released by his family on Tuesday morning at the age of 85.