President Muhammadu Buhari and other dignitaries on Thursday paid tributes to the late Head of Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, in the line of a rite of passage.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federal, Mr Boss Mustapha, represented the President at the event held in Lagos.
He said, “Chief Shonekan was a man I respect so much because of his passion for the development of Nigeria.
He was a patriot and a father of the nation. I knew that at the time he was beckoned to lead the country, no faint-hearted man will do that. No man will offer himself as a sacrificial lamb in the manner of Chief Shonekan.
As a member of the Council of State, Chief Shonekan attended all meetings until his demise because of his passion to see Nigeria grow. In the last four years, there is hardly any state event that he was invited to that he ever missed.
He was a successful lawyer and businessman who rose through the ranks of UAC before he became the head of Interim Government.”
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said Shonekan demonstrated leadership in every facet of life.
He said, “He was a respected industrialist, a first class boardroom guru. He was in his early 40s when he rose to become the Chairman of UAC. By this single deed, he became a role model to many Nigerians. He laid the foundation of many things we enjoy today.
After reaching the zenith of his private sector life, faith made him to be the head of Interim National Government. It was a turbulent time in the life of our country. He led the country with all sense of courage and sacrifice.
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Nigeria has indeed lost a true leader; he was a kind human being and his wealth of experience will be solely missed. We will continue to cherish his memory.”
Also, the Ogun State Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, said Shonekan lived a life of humility.
Baba’s life and time are inspiring narratives of event and achievements. His transition has left a void and it is the end of an era. He was a colossus whose feat will be difficult to replicate.
Beyond business, our nation remains grateful to him for his role during the trying periods. He was a loving husband, an embodiment of humility. His selfless service will be solely missed,” Abiodun said.
His brother, Chief Tunji Shonekan, described the deceased as a peacemaker, a family man and a core Egba man.
Other dignitaries present at the event were the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite; and former governors of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, among others.