Chief Ernest Shonekan, who led the Interim National Government that replaced General Ibrahim Babangida’s military administration, has died at the age of 85-years. ayokinews.com reports
He died on Tuesday, January 11, in a Lagos hospital and his death was confirmed by the Ogun State government.
Shonekan served as the interim President of Nigeria between August 26, 1993, and November 17, 1993.
In a coup led and commanded by late General Sani Abacha, Shonekan was deposed on November 17, 1993.
Before being chosen as Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993, Shonekan was a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and former Chief Executive of the United African Company of Nigeria Plc (UAC).
On May 9, 1936, in Lagos, Shonekan was born into the family of an Abeokuta-born civil servant. He attended CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College.
He graduated from the University of London with a law degree and was called to the bar. He later attended Harvard Business School.
Shonekan joined the UAC in 1964, where he worked his way up through the company’s ranks and was eventually promoted to assistant legal adviser. He then became a deputy adviser and, at the age of 40, joined the board of directors.
In 1980, he was appointed chairman and managing director, and he went on to build a wide range of international corporate and political contacts.
Shonekan took over as president of the transitional council and head of government under General Babangida on January 2, 1993.
The transitional council was intended to be the final stage before the handover to an elected democratic leader of the Third Nigerian Republic.
Following the annulment of the presidential election on June 12, 1993, Babangida withdrew from office in August 1993. He had signed a proclamation forming the Interim National Government, which was led by Shonekan, who was later sworn in as Head of State.
Shonekan was deposed three months into his presidency by Abacha in a palace coup in November of that year.
In 1994, he established the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think tank advocating private-sector-led economic development in Nigeria.
Shonekan has since risen to prominence as a Nigerian elder statesman.
He was the third oldest surviving Nigerian Head of State, after Queen Elizabeth II and General Yakubu Gowon, at the time of his death.