President Muhammadu Buhari, the National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and the Youth Organising Secretary of APC, Lagos Chapter, Idris Aregbe, as well as others have bid head of interim national government, Ernest Shonekan, a farewell, describing the deceased 85-year-old elder statesman in their separate heartwarming tributes as a great peacemaker.
They said that Shonekan, within his short stint in office, piloting the affairs of Nigeria, steadied the ship of the country and ensured Nigeria remain peaceful, stable, as well as continued to develop as expected of the nation.
In their separate tributes released on Tuesday after news filtered in that the Shonekan, who holds a highly revered traditional title in Ogun state, Abese of Egbaland, had passed on, Buhari, Tinubu, and Aregbe stressed that the country has lost an intelligent elder statesman.
The president, through a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, extends deepest condolences to the deceased’s wife, Margaret, loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun State over the octogenarian’s demise.
As an internationally-respected statesman, Buhari affirms that, with courageous wisdom, Shonekan left his flourishing business career to become the Head of Government, at a delicate time when the country needed someone of his calm mien and pedigree to save the ship of state from sinking.
The President noted that the head of interim national government demonstrated to all that his love for the country and commitment to her development, peace, and unity transcends the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.
According to him, Nigeria owes a great debt to Shonekan, the peacemaker, who even at the twilight of his life-time never stopped believing and working for a prosperous as well as a democratic country.
Tinubu, while commiserating with Governor Abiodun, the deceased’s wife Magret, and the people of Ogun State over Shonekan’s demise, said that Shonekan would be remembered for bringing unity and concord during one of the nation’s most trying moments.
In a condolence message by his Media Office issued by Tunde Rahman, the APC national leader said: “Chief Ernest was a technocrat and boardroom guru. He performed excellently as Chairman of United African Company, a vast Nigerian conglomerate. Indeed, were the circumstances of his ascension to the top position in our country different, I have little doubt that Chief Shonekan would have led Nigeria with the same vision and skill with which he guided UAC.
“He had the character, competence, capability, and the technical background to undertake the job. In his brief time as Head of State, Chief Shonekan tried his best to advance peace, stability, and development in Nigeria.
Chief Shonekan will be remembered as a peacemaker and Head of State who took office at a most difficult time.”, he added.
Also, Aregbe said that Nigeria, particularly the youths, have lost someone that could inculcate in them leadership qualities that had brought him the achievements recorded both in business and public office in the country.
The youth organising secretary, in a statement made available to The Guild, expressed his shock over the demise of Shonekan, saying the Octogenarian will forever be remembered for the unity Nigeria still enjoys to date.
While eulogising Shonekan his wise counsel for all leaders that had ruled the country after him, Aregbe said that the deceased’s was an exemplary industrialist and leader with remarkable ideals in and outside of the political space.
According to him, his death is a big loss, Nigerians will miss chief Shonekan’s wealth of experience and his love for the Nigerian is he is leaving behind.
Expressing his shock over Shonekan’s death, a Lagos-based young enterprenuer, Olatunbosun Bakare, said that the octogenarian’s wise counsel to the younger generation over the years has contributed towards building new sets of leaders for the nation.
Bakare, while remembering his previous discussion with the former head of interim national government, described him, through his statement, as a father and leader whose main priority was Nigeria’s unity.
His statement reads in part: “Chief Shonekan contributed positively to the development of Nigeria while he was the Head of state, and his elderly advice will be greatly missed.
“On behalf of my family, and supporters, I send our deepest condolences to Chief Shonekan’s family, friends, and loved ones. At this difficult time, I urge them to take solace in the lasting legacies of the former head of state.