With great sadness, I mourn the death of the formidable elder statesman, Chief Ernest Shonekan, GCFR who served as the Head of the Interim Government of Nigeria in 1993. He was a man of great honour and zeal who during his short lived tenure as the Interim Head of State recorded great strides and made remarkable contributions to the development of the idea of a democratic government in Nigeria. Foremost of all his qualities was his humility and service to the nation. Indeed, his deeds reveal that he was a man with deep love for Nigeria.
I had the pleasure of working with the elder statesman for a period of 4 years at the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) where I chaired the Compliance Committee. During my time with him, I picked up fundamental principles of life which I have applied in my relationships with people on a daily basis. It would interest you to know that his first task for my committee was to draft a Code of Ethics for all board members and management staff of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission to act as a guide for their conducts. This confirmed the elder statesman as someone who appreciated the principle of discipline in life.
Due to his reputation as a respected elder statesman, I invited him to chair my 50th Birthday Celebration on the 28th of November, 2011 at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers. I was very elated when the elder statesman honored my invitation to chair this occasion and went as far as paying me a personal visit at my residence in Asokoro, Abuja. This memory remains evergreen in my heart. I also recall my doubt when I saw him walking on the streets of London and he beckoned on me to confirm that he was the one. Once again, his humble nature came to play in our encounter in London.
On behalf of myself, my family and the entire staff of J-K Gadzama LLP, I express my deepest condolences to Chief Ernest Shonekan’s widow, Margaret Shonekan, his entire family and the entire nation as we have lost not only a Nigerian but a National Icon who during his lifetime believed in the strength of this country as a nation.