Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described late elder statesman, Chief Ernest Shonekan, as a role model who would be remembered as a man of sustained strong will to succeed.
Mr Obasanjo, in a condolence letter addressed to Margaret Shonekan, the deceased wife, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, said he received the news with shock.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Shonekan was the Head of the Interim National Government between August 26 and November 17, 1993,
Mr Obasanjo in the letter, recalled how Shonekan in 1994, founded the Economic Summit Group, an advocacy group and think – tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy.
He noted that the body had continued to sustain the legacy of helping to support stakeholders in the execution of policies, programmes and strategies, in response to any emerging trends in national and global economies.
The former president noted that at the hour of great achievement and undisguised success, Chief Shonekan did not lose the common touch and sense of service to family and his wider community.
“On the political scene, Chief Shonekan, as the Head of the Interim National Government in Nigeria, in 1993, 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 and Chairman, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) 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.
“While expressing, on behalf of my family and on my own behalf, our sympathies to you and the entire members of your family as well as to the government and the good people of Ogun State, it is our prayer that the Almighty God will grant him eternal rest and comfort all those he left behind.’” the letter read.