Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has described the former Head of the Interim National Government Chief Ernest Shonekan who died in Lagos on Tuesday as a unifying force for the nation.
This was contained in a condolence letter he wrote to the widow of the late statesman and corporate guru, Mrs Margaret Shonekan.
Obasanjo also noted in the letter that Shonekan’s contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
The condolence letter was made available to journalists in Abeokuta Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr Kehinde Akinyemi.
The former president said the late business mogul was a role model and an epitome of the good in the nation’s business firmament of mixed blessings.
The letter read partly, “He would be remembered as a man of sustained strongwill to succeed. Coming from humble background, rising, stepping and peaking at the topmost plum in corporate management, and the very top of the giant United Africa Company (UAC) ladder, attest to his sagacity, tenacity and steadfastness.
“He founded, in 1994, the Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think-tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy, and it remains, till today, sustaining the legacy of helping to support stakeholders in the execution of policies, programmes and strategies in response to any emerging trends in national and global economies.”
Obasanjo who received the sad news with great shock while currently on international assignment as the High Representative of the African Union for the Horn of Africa, described Shonekan as one of the illustrious sons of Africa, a community leader, a distinguished business baron and an exemplary leader in the private sector.
He acknowledged the death of Shonekan who was the former Chairman of UAC Nigeria Limited, “with an admixture of joy for a life well spent and sadness for the loss of a beloved man after God’s heart.”
On the political scene, Obasanjo noted that, “Chief Shonekan, as the Interim National Government in Nigeria in1993, 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 under my administration as the President of Nigeria; and Chairman, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission under Yar’Adua’s administration in 2008, he was forthright, dedicated and showed great patriotism in the discharge of his duties.
“He was a unifying force for the nation and his contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry. In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility.
“He was an achiever. Indeed, Chief Shonekan died at a time the country is in dire need of his leadership, wealth of experience and wisdom to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing the nation.”