Former Nigerian leader Ernest Shonekan dies

Former Nigerian leader Ernest Shonekan, who was ousted in a coup in November 1993, has died at the age of 85, President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Buhari paid tribute to the life and legacy of Shonekan, who died in Lagos on early Tuesday, describing him as "the peacemaker, who, even at the twilight of his lifetime, never stopped believing and working for a prosperous and democratic country."

"As an internationally-respected statesman, with courageous wisdom, Chief Shonekan left his flourishing business career to become the Head of Government, at a delicate time when the country needed someone of his calm mien and pedigree to save the ship of state from sinking," the Nigerian president said, noting the departed former leader "demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace, and unity transcends the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power".

Shonekan, was born in Lagos in May 1936, ruled Nigeria between August 26 and November 17, 1993, as head of the Interim National Government that succeeded the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida.

As Nigeria's interim president, he was ousted in a coup led by the late General Sani Abacha, who was Secretary of Defense in the Interim National Government.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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