From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has expressed condolences on the death of former Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, who passed on Tuesday, aged 85 years.
Dr Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said Chief Shonekan’s death was a great loss to Nigeria and its people at a critical period of the nation’s history.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said the late Chief Shonekan’s demise has robbed Nigeria of a great statesman, selfless leader, celebrated boardroom guru and a bridge builder whose interest was peace, stability and development of his fatherland.
The Governor noted that the deceased presided over the affairs of the country at a very critical stage, adding that he did his best to stabilise the country during his tenure as the head of the Interim National Government.
Dr Fayemi said the deceased’s sterling leadership qualities became quite visible to the people of Nigeria, Africa and the whole world during his tenure as the Chairman/Managing Director of the United African Company (UAC), where he carved a niche for himself as a thoroughbred technocrat and innovative leader.
He added that the late Chief Shonekan worked very hard to consolidate the stature of UAC as the largest single business conglomerate in the country. This he said accounted for his appointment as the Chairman, Transition Council and later as Head of ING by former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida even when he (Shonekan) was not a politician.
The Governor said the late Chief Shonekan showed exemplary leadership quality by not harbouring any ill-feeling on the circumstances that led to his exit from office on November 17, 1993 after serving as the nation’s interim leader for 82 days.
He urged the younger generation and contemporary leaders to emulate the deceased’s spirit of servant hood and commitment to his land of birth.
“Chief Shonekan was a leader par excellence. He was a bridge builder and a man of peace. He would be remembered for his contributions to the progress and development of Nigeria and would be sorely missed.
“On behalf of the government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with the government and people of Ogun State, his children and extended family members, and pray that God will grant his children the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss”, Fayemi said.