Ernest Shonekan biography: Facts about late Nigerian leader

Chief Ernest Shonekan biography and facts about the former Nigerian leader who headed the Interim National Government that succeeded the junta of General Ibrahim Babangida.

He died at the age of 85 in Lagos on the 11th of January 2022.


Full Name: Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan

Date of birth: 9 May 1936 (Died on the 11th of January 2022)

Profession: Lawyer and businessman

Biography and early life

He was born in Lagos on 9 May 1936 to an Abeokuta-born civil servant and was one of six children born into the family.

Earnest Shonekan was educated at CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College. He received a law degree from the University of London, and was called to the bar. He later attended Harvard Business School.

He was appointed the interim president of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida on the August 26th, 1993. Shonekan assumed office to meet the Nation gradually moving towards meeting a stalemate. He made attempts to have the Nations debt cancelled but after the annulment of June 12 election most of the western powers imposed economic sanctions on Nigeria. He tried to set things straight but he loosely controlled the military.

Shonekan only stayed in office for a transitional period of three months before his administration was toppled by General Sani Abacha who forcefully brought Nigeria back to military control on November 17, 1993.

Top 7 things to know about him

  • He was married to Margaret Shonekan and they have four children
  • He studied at Harvard Business School was a lawyer and businessman by profession before he ventured into politics
  • Shonekan was the chairman and chief executive of the United African Company of Nigeria (successor of Royal Niger Company).
  • He was titled Abese of Egbaland in 1981 (in addition to a variety of other chieftaincy titles).
  • He served as chairman and chief executive of the United African Company of Nigeria which succeeded the Niger Company.
  • He was the third oldest surviving Head of States by age after Queen Elizabeth II and Gen Yakubu Gowon(Rtd).
  • He founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group

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