On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, Nigerians were greeted with the sad news of the death of Chief Ernest Shonekan, the country’s former Interim President.
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President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sadness at the news of Shonekan’s death and ordered that the country’s flag be flown at half-mast from Wednesday, January 12 to Friday, January 14, 2022.
While tributes continue to pour in for the late statesman, Connect Nigeria takes you through facts you should know about Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Chief Ernest Shonekan was born on May 9, 1936, in present-day Lagos State, Nigeria. He was born into a family of six children. His father was an Abeokuta-born civil servant. Prior to his death at the age of 85 on Tuesday, he was married to Margaret Shonekan. The union has four children Adeboye, Korede, Kemi, and Yele.
The late statesman attended CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College, Lagos, before leaving for the United Kingdom where he bagged a law degree from the University of London. His drive towards business would also see him attend the Harvard Business School.
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Before politics, Shonekan had established a status as a lawyer and businessman. Shonekan in 1964 joined the United African Company (UAC) which was later succeeded by the Niger Company. His drive and passion for business would see him rise through the ranks to become the company’s legal adviser before becoming the firm’s deputy adviser.
At the age of 40, Shonekan joined the company’s board of directors. In 1980, he was named the brand’s chairman and managing director and went on to execute international business transactions.
Shonekan also founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), an advocacy group charged with the responsibility of serving as a think-tank for the development of the Nigerian economy through the private sector.
Following the controversies that trailed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections, Ernest Shonekan was named as the Interim President in a government set up by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 25, 1993. Shonekan was ousted by late General Sani Abachi in a military coup on November 17, 1993.
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