The ever-busy Marina, On Lagos Island has since today being the shadow of its old self, as it has remained closed to vehicular traffic and guarded by many traffic personnel including armed military officers, in readiness for the Funeral Service of a former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
The event which begins at 11 this morning at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina is expected to be attended by the Crème de la creme in the Nigerian society ,namely top Federal and States Government functionaries, prominent Nigerians, Captains of Industries, family members of the diseased as well as friends and well wishers.
Chief Shonekan died on the 11th of January at the age of 85.
As at 5am today, the inner Marina has been totally closed to vehicular traffic. Commercial bus operators were seen dropping their passengers around Akpongbon and Ajah bus stops,for them to complete their journey to the popular CMS bus stop on foot.
Many of those found trekking were doing it happily, saying that they prepared for it , as it was well reported by media houses that some sections of the roads would be closed in respect of Chief Shonekan’s funeral service.
Up till 6am, the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina where the funeral service would hold was still under lock , right from the gate, but the entire environment looked set for the big occasion.
For instance, some canopies and public address systems had been properly mounted within the church premises. Also, a giant poster of the fallen hero was strategically pasted outside the Church, with the inscription, ‘” Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Mathew Chapter five verse five. Baba Shonekan, Sun re oo”.
While countless numbers of uniformed personnel mounted guard within the vicinity, street sweepers in their numbers were engaged in thorough cleaning of the surroundings.
The funeral service holds after Laying-In State at his residence in Ikoyi.
Internment and parade of Honour would take place immediately after the Funeral service, at the Ebony Vault and Gardens in Ikoyi.
Just as Shakespeare stresses in one of his writings, ” death is a necessary end for all. Chief Shonekan has paid his own price; he fought a good fight and ended his race gold, given his huge contributions to his country and humanity in general.
Born on May 9, 1936, Ernest Adegunle Shonekan, 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 Ogun State-born elder statesman was popularly known as the Baba Sale of Egbaland