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JUST IN: Former Interim Govt. head, Shonekan, passes on after brief illness

by News Desk

The head of the interim national government, Ernest Shonekan, has been reported to have passed on at the age of 85 after a brief illness in Lagos State.

As gathered, the Octogenarian died at Evercare hospital, in the Lekki, Eti-Osa Local Government where he had been receiving treatment before he passed on.

The deceased legal practitioner was the Abese of Egbaland before he was pronounced dead by medical experts on Tuesday in the country.

He was the interim head of the Nigerian Government between August 26 and November 17 1993 when he was ousted in a coup led by late General Sani Abacha.

It would be recalled that the 85-year-old, after he was overthrown through a palace coup in 1993, founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think-tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy

Shonekan was a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and former Chief Executive of the United African Company of Nigeria Plc (UAC) before he was appointed as Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993.

He was born on May 9, 1936, in Lagos into the family of an Abeokuta-born civil servant. He was educated at CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College.

He received a law degree from the University of London and was called to the bar. He later attended Harvard Business School.

Shonekan joined the UAC in 1964. He rose through the ranks in the company and was promoted to an assistant legal adviser. He later became a deputy adviser and joined the board of directors at the age of 40.

He was made chairman and managing director in 1980 and went on to cultivate a wide array of international business and political connections.

On January 2, 1993, Shonekan assumed office as head of the transitional council and head of government under General Babangida.

At the time, the transitional council was designed to be the final phase leading to a scheduled handover to an elected democratic leader of the Third Nigerian Republic.

Babangida later resigned from office in August 1993, following the annulment of the 12 June presidential election. He had signed a decree establishing the Interim National Government led by Shonekan who was subsequently sworn-in as Head of State.

Three months into his administration, Shonekan was overthrown in a palace coup by Abacha in November that year.

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