Shonekan died when Nigeria really needed his leadership, Obasanjo mourns.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said former Head of the Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan, died at a time when Nigeria is in dire need of his leadership to tackle the challenges facing the nation.

According to his family, Shonekan passed on on Tuesday morning of natural causes at the age of 85.

Obasanjo said that Shonekan’s contribution to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

Obasanjo in a condolence letter to Mrs Margaret Shonekan, copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, said the late Business mogul was “a role model and an epitome of the good in the nation’s business firmament of mixed blessings”.

Obasanjo, who received, while currently on international assignment as the High Representative of the African Union for the Horn of Africa, “with great shock, the news of the death of one of the illustrious sons of Africa, a community leader, a distinguished business baron and an exemplary leader in the private sector and, of course, the former Chairman of UAC Nigeria Limited, Chief Ernest Shonekan, 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,” Obasanjo was quoted as having said.

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