Abuja. January 11, 2022
85-year-old 9th Head of State of Nigeria. Mr Ernest Shonekan, who was the head the Interim National Government that succeeded the maximum military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, is died.
Family sources broke the news that Mr Shonekan also an industrialist died in Lagos on Tuesday.
He was the interim head of the Nigerian Government from August 26 to November 17 1993 when he was ousted in a coup led by late General Sani Abacha.
Mr Shonekan who holds the national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) also with a traditional title of of Abese of Egbaland in 1981 is an astute industrialists from Ogun state in South West Nigeria.
The Interim National Government was the government of Nigeria following the crisis of the Third Republic after General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993 popularly acclaimed presidential election.
The crisis that heralded the annulment of the election of late Mr Moshood Abiola, led retired Babangida to hand power over to Mr Shonekan as interim Head of State.
The annulment of the election led to rioting, particularly in the south, which was harshly suppressed.
The largely powerless government was dissolved when late Gen Sani Abacha seized power on 17 November 1993.
Mr Shoenkan had a degree in law, had studied at the Harvard Business School in the US, and had held senior management positions in various companies.
During Shonekan’s rule, Nigeria suffered runaway inflation and saw strikes by workers in various sectors.
Many foreign investors withdrew apart from oil companies.
He drew up a timetable for return to democracy and for withdrawal of Nigeria’s contingent from the ECOMOG peace-keeping force in Liberia.
He also launched an audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the largest oil company, and tried to restore civil liberties.
Mr Shonekan altered the laws that allowed arbitrary arrest and confiscation of property, promoted press freedom, obtained the release of some political prisoners and made reforms to the corrupt public services and state-owned companies.
The government was opposed by pro-democracy activists, civil society organisations, labour unions and students.
The Lagos high court nullified Shonekan’s appointment and called for Mr Abiola to be sworn in as the elected candidate for the presidency.
Late Gen Sani Abacha forced Shonekan to resign on 17 November 1993, and as the most senior military officer took over as head of state and later died in office on June 8, 1998.
The death of Abacha paved the way for the emergence of another General, Abdulsalami Abubakar who handed over to civilian government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.