A Christian wake and night of tributes has been held in Lagos to mark the beginning of funeral activities for former head of Nigeria’s Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan.
Family members, Federal and State government dignitaries, friends and well wishers were on ground to honour the late elderstateman who died on January 11, at the age of 85.
Though a solemn gathering, the event hall was filled up as large number of people came to pay their respect to the fallen hero.
In a sermon, entitled, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”, the Officiating Priest, Most Reverend, Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye eulogized late Shonekan, saying he lived an exemplary life in love and humility, in spite of his status in the society.
The event featured up to four Bible readings ,while Prayers were also offered for Nigeria’s unity.
Paying tribute to late Shonekan, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, noted that Chief Shonekan assumed leadership of the country at a very difficult period and will be missed by many people.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the late Shonekan left a legacy of a true Nigerian, recalling how he steered the leadership of the country during turbulent period and that his wealth of experience and wisdom will be solely missed.
On his part, the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, who described him as a man of simple humility and integrity ,said his departure has left a vacuum difficult to fill.
The late Shonekan’s first son, Adeboye, said his father was a lover of humility and God.
Other Prominent personalities present at the night of tributes included former governors in Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, some Federal Executive Council members and captains of industries.
The rites continue tomorrow with Laying-In State at his residence in Ikoyi, while the funeral service follows same day at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.
Internment and parade of Honour would take place immediately after the Funeral service, at the Ebony Vault and Gardens in Ikoyi.
Born on May 9, 1936, Ernest Adegunle Shonekan, who died at the age of 85, was appointed Nigeria’s interim president by former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
He served as Head of State of Nigeria for 83 days from 26 August 1993 to 17 November 1993.
Shonekan had assumed office to supervise a smooth and peaceful electoral transition into a democratically elected government but his reign was cut short in a coup led by late General Sani Abacha.
The elder statesman was popularly known as the Baba Sale of Egbaland