President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the death of Ernest Shonekan, former head of the interim national government.
TheCable had reported that Shonekan died in Lagos on Tuesday. He was 85 years old.
In a statement, Buhari said Shonekan became the head of government when the country needed someone to save the nation from “sinking”.
While commiserating with the deceased’s family, the president described Shonekan as a peacemaker who worked for the progress of the country until his death.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has received with profound sadness the news of the death of a great statesman and former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan,” a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, reads.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, the President extends deepest condolences to Chief Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun State.
“As an internationally-respected statesman, President Buhari affirms that, with courageous wisdom, Chief 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 notes that Chief Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace and unity transcend the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power.
“President Buhari believes that Nigeria owes a great debt to Chief Shonekan, the peacemaker, who even at the twilight of his lifetime never stopped believing and working for a prosperous and democratic country.”
In a related development, former President Goodluck Jonathan has also mourned the late leader.
In a statement by Ikechukwu Eze, his spokesperson, Jonathan said Shonekan was well-loved and left many “enduring legacies”.
“As a leader, Chief Shonekan was well respected because of the enormous goodwill he brought into governance,” Jonathan was quoted as saying.
“He was a compassionate and determined administrator, a peacemaker and bridge-builder who stepped in to lead the nation at a very difficult time in the history of its political evolution.
“He left enduring legacies, part of which was his considerable effort towards mainstreaming the private sector in the development drive of the nation, especially with the institutionalisation of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), which he founded.
“Shonekan will also be remembered for his great wisdom, peaceful disposition, the goodwill he extended to all as well as his significant contributions to the growth and economy of the nation.”