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The former Head of Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan GCFR, has been buried in Lagos

Chief Shonekan was buried on Friday February 4, 2022, thus ending a four-day funeral rite that began on Monday.

Chief Shonekan was buried at Ebony Vaults in Ikoyi, Lagos on Friday after a funeral service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ.

Dignitaries including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Boss Mustapha; former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, and the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki graced the service.

The Vice President, who led the Federal Government delegation, described the late Shonekan as a man of integrity, saying he steadied Nigeria’s ship at a turbulent time.

“Chief Ernest Shonekan lived an extraordinary life. But perhaps what deserves greater attention is the way he carried himself through life and the high values he exemplified,” he said.

“That genuine respect that he had for all people of all classes, religions, and tribes, his unflinching belief in the inherent goodness in everyone, his love and generosity not just for his family but to all.

“His knowledge and experience-driven leadership and counsel that he provided always with unfailing humility and courteousness; these were the unique virtues that underpinned his extraordinary achievements.”

In his sermon, former Primate and Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Anglican Communion, Most. Revd Peter Akinola, said the late Shonekan put his life on the line for the sake of Nigeria by serving as the Head of the Interim National Government during the turbulent time in Nigeria’s political history.

The clergy said Shonekan had done that which God enabled him to do for himself, his family, the church and Nigeria. According to him, many people advised Shonekan not to take up the job of heading the interim government because of the risk of a coup, but the deceased considered Nigeria to be more important.

Akinola recalled that even the church refused to give the late Shonekan the benefit of the doubt while some political opportunists demonised him and called him unprintable names.

“He put his life on the line for the sake of this country. Perhaps, we would like to know that Chief Shonekan was not completely unaware that the coup would take place.

“Shonekan not being a typical ambitious Nigerian politician, he refused to do many things to preserve himself in office. A typical Nigerian politician will do everything possible to continue in office, come rain, come fire.”

The funeral service was the culmination of funeral activities for the founder of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

Earlier, a service of songs and a Christian wake keep/night of tributes were held for the deceased in Lagos.

At the service of songs on Thursday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the deceased “had a good run” and urged the family to take solace in the legacy laid by the third oldest surviving Nigerian Head of State after Queen Elizabeth II and General Yakubu Gowon.

“Chief Shonekan was Nigeria’s interim President, he was an astute lawyer, an elder statesman, a doting father, and the dear husband of Mama Margaret Shonekan,” the governor noted.

Before the burial, President Muhammadu Buhari had also extolled Shonekan who he said left a ”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”.

Buhari said the country owes a great debt to the former head of ING, noting that despite being at the twilight of his lifetime, he never stopped believing in Nigeria. The president had also paid a condolence visit to the late Shonekan’s family in Lagos.

The service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos and presided over by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Revd Henry Ndukuba, was also attended by Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Trade and Industry, Niyi Adebayo; Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite; State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora; State for Works and Housing, Alhaji Mu’Azu Jaji Sambo; former Ogun State governors, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Gbenga Daniel and former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Prior to the burial, the Lagos Government had announced a 13-hour closure of roads leading to Marina where the funeral took place. Chief Ernest Shonekan was born on the 9th of May, 1936, attended the CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College. He was head of the interim national government between August and November 1993.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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