• He Lived Extraordinary Life – Osinbajo
• ‘His Stabilizing Influence On Polity Was Great’
Eminent Nigerians, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday paid glowing tributes to the late former Head of the Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan as funeral service was held for him in Lagos.
Other leaders who attended the event include former President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).
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.
Speaking at the event also attended by Anglican bishops and priests, other religious leaders, politicians, captains of industry, entrepreneurs, as well as family, friends and associates of the deceased, Osinbajo said the late Shonekan lived an extraordinary life.
Osinbajo, who described the deceased as a man of destiny just like Nigeria is a nation of destiny, said Shonekan had respect for all and there was a way he carried himself through life.
The vice president also praised Shonekan’s contributions to Nigeria, first as a business guru and later as Head of Federal Government, adding that the deceased believed that national development was achievable if there was a deep collaboration between the public and private sector.
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.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said generations of Nigerians would remain appreciative of Shonekan’s courage, sacrifice and stabilising influence on the polity.
He said the deceased, in his calm and unflappable manner, steered the course of the country, during his tenure as Head of the ING until the military intervention that followed.