Former Nigerian Leader Ernest Shonekan Dies At 85

File photo: Chief Ernest Shonekan

 

Chief Ernest Shonekan, who headed the Interim National Government that succeeded the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, has died.

He died on Tuesday, January 11, at a hospital in Lagos.

The news of his death was confirmed to Channels Television by the Ogun State government.

Shonekan was the interim head of the Nigerian Government between August 26, 1993, and November 17, 1993.

He was ousted in a coup led by late General Sani Abacha.

Shonekan was a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and former Chief Executive of the United African Company of Nigeria Plc (UAC) before he was appointed as Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1993.

READ ALSO: Bashir Tofa, Former Presidential Candidate, Dies At 74

He was born on May 9, 1936, in Lagos into the family of an Abeokuta-born civil servant. He 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.

Shonekan joined the UAC in 1964. He rose through the ranks in the company and was promoted to an assistant legal adviser. He later became a deputy adviser and joined the board of directors at the age of 40.

He was made chairman and managing director in 1980 and went on to cultivate a wide array of international business and political connections.

On January 2, 1993, Shonekan assumed office as head of the transitional council and head of government under General Babangida.

At the time, the transitional council was designed to be the final phase leading to a scheduled handover to an elected democratic leader of the Third Nigerian Republic.

Babangida later resigned from office in August 1993, following the annulment of the 12 June presidential election. He had signed a decree establishing the Interim National Government led by Shonekan who was subsequently sworn-in as Head of State.

Three months into his administration, Shonekan was overthrown in a palace coup by Abacha in November that year.

In 1994, he founded the Nigerian Economic Summit Group an advocacy group and think-tank for private sector-led development of the Nigerian economy.

Since then, Shonekan went on to feature prominently as an elder statesman.

At the time of his death, he was the third oldest surviving Nigerian Head of State after Queen Elizabeth II and General Yakubu Gowon.

2023: Osinbajo Is A Good Man Who Has Conviction About Nigeria – IBB

File photo of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.

 

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida has described Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo as a good man with good intentions about the country.

The former leader disclosed this on Thursday when Osibanjo Grassroot Organization visited him in his residence in Minna.

“I know the Vice-president very well. He is a good man. A man who has conviction about Nigeria; a man who can communicate with the country and inspire people. Such a man is a worthy person to work with. We need a good man to lead Nigeria. A man who has a passion for this country. Nigeria is a good country; the people of Nigeria are good. You must learn to understand people and constant discussion is key.

“I want to convey my best wishes to the Vice-president through you. And I want you to tell him to stay on the cause. I know it’s not easy but he has the conviction. I wish him the best,” Babangida said.

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He also told the group that he accepted to speak to them because he knew Osinbajo had what it takes to be a good leader.

The National Convener of the Organisation, Ojo Foluso said they were happy with General IBB’s response.

“We came to consult the Oracle and the Oracle has spoken. General IBB is an oracle because he understands Nigeria,” he added.

Also speaking, the Team Leader, Emma Ejiofor, said the group was ready to work with the advice of prominent citizens like IBB because of their sound knowledge and understanding of Nigeria.

He said Nigeria was in dire need of leaders with conviction and passion for her development.

Nigeria’s Unity Should Be Strengthened, Not Negotiated – Babangida

File photo of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.

 

Former Head of State General Ibrahim Babangida believes Nigeria’s unity should be strengthened rather than negotiated.

Calls for secession, especially from the southern part of the country,  have made headlines in recent years.

Despite the agitations –  largely led by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB ) and most recently the Yoruba Nation agitators – Babangida is calling on Nigerians to support the country’s leaders.

“I don’t think it is right for Nigerians to start talking about the unity of this country. I believe it is a settled issue,” he told Channels Television’s Newsnight.

“We all agreed that we are going to be a united country. So, nobody should be talking about an enclave that he calls his own. What we should be doing is how we strengthen our unity.”

 

READ ALSO: June 12 Annulment: I Did The Right Thing In Nigeria’s Interest – Babangida

On the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, the ex-military president defended his decision, saying it was taken in the best interest of the nation.

“It is a decision we took. I had to take that decision, I did that to the best of my knowledge, in the interest of the country,” he explained.

“I did the right thing. I can sit back and say some of the things I said manifested after I had left. We had the coup and that coup lasted for five years.”

The poll, considered as Nigeria’s fairest election, was keenly contested between the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Moshood Abiola and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

The SDP flagbearer, better known as MKO Abiola, was believed to be coasting to victory before the election was annulled by Babangida who cited irregularities at the time.

June 12 Annulment: I Did The Right Thing In Nigeria’s Interest – Babangida

Former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight on August 16, 2021.

 

Former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida has explained that he annulled the June 12, 1993, presidential election in the overall interest of Nigeria.

The poll, considered as Nigeria’s fairest election, was keenly contested between the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Moshood Abiola and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

The SDP flagbearer, better known as MKO Abiola, was believed to be in the lead to become the country’s next president before the election was annulled by Babangida who cited irregularities at the time.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday, the ex-military president blamed his decision on the need to prevent a coup in the country.

 

READ ALSO: Bandits Abducted ’15 Students’ From Zamfara College – Provost

“It is a decision we took. I had to take that decision, I did that to the best of my knowledge, in the interest of the country,” he said.

“I did the right thing. I can sit back and say some of the things I said manifested after I had left. We had the coup and that coup lasted for five years.”

While noting that he drew up a plan for national elections to hold in five to six months, Babangida explained that his intention was for the poll to hold in November 1993 after the Interim Government headed by Ernest Shonekan.

He stated that the agreement reached by politicians and groups was for the same set of contestants to recontest in the scheduled polls.

According to the ex-Nigerian leader, the citizens complained that they were tired of elections, thus paving the way for Sani Abacha who ruled the nation for five years.

IBB, Abdulsalami Throw Weight Behind Formation of North Central Forum

A photo combination of former military presidents General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
A photo combination of former military presidents General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

 

Former military president General Ibrahim Babangida and former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar on Tuesday threw their weight around the formation of the North-central People’s Forum.

General Babangida commended the founding members of the forum for the initiative saying his day was fulfilled, while General Abubakar believed the formation of the forum was long overdue.

The two military leaders made their position known on the forum when its leadership led by the Chairman Board of Trustees, General Jeremiah Useni paid separate visits to them at their hill-top residence in Minna.

General Abdulsalami who was the first to receive the forum charged them to pursue after the development of the north-central region which according to him has witnessed a lot of setbacks due to insecurity and poor road infrastructure.

“Let me congratulate you on the thought of the forum, and forming the forum. Like one of the things you said, the purpose of the forum is to seek for peace and development of the central region of Nigeria. Indeed, this forum has been overdue, and I am glad the founding fathers and mothers have got themselves together to form this forum. The caliber of people and personnel that are in this forum, such forum will benefit from their experiences and it will galvanize you into action to achieve your aim.

“It will go a long way to minimize the disharmony between human beings first and between the amalgamation of all the tribes we have, not only in the north central but in Nigeria as a whole,” Gen. Abubakar said.

He assured them of his support and understanding in delivering the purpose of the forum. “Certainly, you have our support and understanding. We will continue to advise, to watch and steer where necessary how the forum goes,” he said.

On his part, General Babangida said the north central region occupies a strategic position in the polity of Nigeria, and should be accorded the due recognition by the central government.

“To me you have made my day. I was always complaining when I hear north-west, north-east, south-south, south-east and south-west. I kept on asking, where do we belong to? God has so blessed us with the quality and caliber of people that we have.

“Politically, in terms of votes, I found out that the North-Central zone has more votes than the whole of South-west put together. But, South-west makes more noise than north-central. We have what it takes to be recognized as a very important part of this country,” he said.

He also assured of his support to the forum.

Chairman Board of Trustees of the North-Central Forum and former Plateau South Senator, General Jeremiah Useni had earlier intimated the duo of General Babangida and Abubakar of the objective of the forum, saying it would primarily focus on uniting the people in north central and also push for the establishment of a North-Central Development Commission that would help address the challenges in the region.

Fielding questions from journalists at the end of the visit, General Useni said the support from Generals IBB and Abdulsalami had further boosted the morale of forum’s leadership.

He however explained that contrary to the misconception that the North-Central Forum was established for the purpose of breaking the north-central region away from the Arewa Consultative Forum, the region still recognized the leadership of ACF.

He also cleared the air surrounding the support by governors of north central, saying they are fully backing the initiative.

“We have the support of all the governors of the north central. I will be meeting with Chairmen of the Northern Governors’ Forum and North-Central Governors’ forum soon,” General Useni said.

Afegbua Reports To Police Headquarters, Withdraws Suit Against Media Houses

Kassim Afegbua at Police Headquarter in Abuja on Wednesday, February 7.

The Spokesperson for former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida on Wednesday appeared at the Force Headquarter in Abuja.

Kassim Afegbua had been declared wanted over a letter he issued on behalf of General Babangida on the state of the nation.

Police Spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, had accused Afegbua of “making a false statement, injurious falsehood, defamation of character and for acts capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.”

Before reporting himself, Afegbua explains that he is simply being a law-abiding citizen by presenting himself to the police.

“When I was declared wanted on Channels TV and NTA, he (General Babangida) was the one who called me and said, ‘why are they declaring you wanted? Are you a criminal?’

“So, we laughed over it. He asked ‘are you on the run, have they given you an invitation?’ I replied No.

“So, I am very much in touch with him, I am not doing anything out of the blues. I am only here because I was declared wanted. I am not a criminal, I am not on the run. As a responsible Nigerian, I felt it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted when I have not been invited,” he said.

READ ALSO: IBB Authorised The Statement I Issued – Spokesperson

Police Declares IBB’s Spokesman Wanted Over Controversial Statement

He, however, explained that he has withdrawn his suit against the media houses but maintains his suit filed against the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force.

“I have withdrawn the suit filed against NTA and Channels, formally filed at the Federal High Court. And so, I am suing the IG of police and the police as it were, for infringing on my right and demeaning my person and maligning my reputation,” he said.

Babangida Distances Self From Statement Issued By Spokesperson

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida has distanced himself from a statement credited to him and signed by his media aide, Mr Kassim Afegbua.

Babaginda in his rebuttal said the views expressed in the statement are not his views but that of the writer.

In the statement personally signed General Babangida, he said as former President and statesman, he has an unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence.

He, however, expressed worries over the current political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country, which he said have raised many questions on the governance and unity of Nigeria.

Read Full Statement personally signed by General Babangida below:

It has been drawn to my attention a press statement on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.

Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have an unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer.

However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights, it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many part of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.

It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.

Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.

I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.

The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channelled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution. Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.

Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need a surgical operation that will fusion them into a reasonable number. I have been an advocate of two-party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.

As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two-party systems as the best option for Nigeria.

It is high time that we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that Nigeria had its fair share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.

As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.

SIGNED:

GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.

1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.

SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018.

Babangida: Two Party System Best For Nigerian Politics

Babangida: Two Party System Best For Nigerian PoliticsFormer Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has said that the two party system remains the best option for Nigerian politics.

General Babangida said his long time suggestion about the practice of a two party system was gradually coming to fore in the nation’s politics.

He made the remarks when he received the Strategy and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), chaired by Professor Jerry Gana at his residence in Minna, the Niger State capital.

“In 1999 when I was advocating for a two party system, some of my colleagues came to me asking why I am for a two party system and I told them the good thing about a two party system is that it provides a choice, which is the first essence of democracy,” the former Military President stated.

According to him, the PDP can rule for 60 years if they put their house in order, and it is the only political party whose presence has been felt, known and accepted by Nigerians.

“PDP’s presence is felt not only in Abuja or Lagos, but down to the lowest level, if you go to the grassroots, the ordinary man will talk about PDP.

“That is the asset the party has and can use to come back on board. Already it is accepted and known and all you have to do is to work on this,” he said.

In his remarks, Professor Gana described General Babangida as a leader who sees ahead of the politics of Nigeria by advocating for a two party system.

“If only Nigerians had accepted your move for a two party system, we would have gone far now because gradually the nation is moving towards a two party system,” he said.

The PDP chieftain challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government on the need to allow a healthy opposition.

“In democracy, it is healthy to allow political parties to develop. PDP is not a nuisance to the people, we are not a threat, we are very essential partner to government.

“We offer alternatives that will allow the people the right to choose. We want to be allowed to play a formidable opposition,” he stated, adding that the PDP was ready and willing to take over government.

Professor Gana was accompanied by Ambassador Aminu Wali, Dr. Raymond Dopesi, Mr Tom Ikimi, Mr Jide Adeniji and Mr Mohammed Imam.

Others are Honorable Emeka Ihedioha, Professor Rufai Alkali, Mr Abubakar Tanko, former Governor Babangida Aliyu and members of the Niger State PDP Executives.

The delegation presented a report of its recommendations of the committee to the former Military President.

IBB Reacts To Chibok Girls Release

IBBA former military president in Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida, has rejoiced with the families, people of Nigeria and indeed Nigerian government over the release of 21 of the abducted Chibok Girls.

In a statement through Mahmud Abdullahi, the Former Military President popularly known as IBB, said it was a thing of joy for the girls to have been reunited with their families after being taken away in such painfully and abrupt manner for over two and half years.

He noted that the release of the 21 girls signalled a hope, after such moments of despair that the abduction of over 200 Schools girls brought to their families, the entire country and the global community.

Hasten Negotiations

General Babangida stated that it was gratifying to see the release of 21 of the girls, after delicate negotiations with the Boko Haram saying that “it is an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is committed to ensuring safe release of the girls”.

He further applauded the effort of President Buhari and the resilience showed thus far on the release of abducted Chibok school girls despite the general lethargy and dampening spirit caused by the mode of operation of the deadly group.

He also, urged the, Federal Government, security agents and other partners to hasten negotiations to free the remaining girls and rehabilitate them from psychological trauma they might have encountered in the last two and half years.

The former military President reaffirmed his belief in the professional capability of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies in ensuring that they put an end to the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the northeast completely.

He maintained that the Nigerian Armed Forces had the training and the professional background to end all forms of security threat to the nation such as kidnappings, armed robbery, cattle rustling, farmers-herders clashes and other forms of vandalism.

The former Nigerian leader also called on all Nigerians to offer all forms of assistance to the released Chibok girls in order to overcome the mental, physical and psychological trauma they have gone through over the past two and half.

The Nigerian government had promised to immediately rehabilitate the released girls.

Council Of State Confirms IGP, Appoints Commissioners For INEC, NPC

Council-of-State,-Police-INEC-NPC-IGPNigeria’s Council of State and the Police Council have confirmed the appointment of Mr Ibrahim Idris as the Inspector General of Police.

The Governor of Jigawa State, Mr Abubakar Badaru, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, said that the confirmation of Mr Idris as the Police Chief was unanimous.

President Buhari and IGP Idirs
President Muhammadu Buhari and IGP Ibrahim Idirs

President Buhari had approved the appointment of the Police Chief, as acting Inspector General of Police on June 21, to succeed Mr Solomon Arase who retired from service.

The Council also appointed six national commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to bring the number of commissioners for the electoral body to 12.

Briefing reporters on the appointments on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said that the six appointees were drawn from the six-geopolitical zones of the country.

They include Mohammed Haruna (north-central), Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Tijani Muazu (rtd) from northeast, Abubakar Nauche (northwest), Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu (southeast), May Agbamuche Mbu (south-south) and Dr. Adekunle Ladipo Ademola (southwest).

The Council further approved five new commissioners for the National Population Commission (NPC).

They are Dr. Eyitayo Oyetunji from Oyo State, Mr Patricia Inyanya from Benue State, Mr Benedict Ikpong from Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Haliru Bala from Kebbi State and Gloria Izonfo from Bayelsa State.

The National Council of State is the highest constitutional advisory body and it constitutes Nigeria’s sitting President, Vice President, all former Presidents and Heads of State, former Chief Justices of the Federation, the 36 state governors and the leadership of the National Assembly.

The meeting, which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Only three past Heads of State were present – Chief Ernest Shonekan, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Also present were five former Chief Justices of the Federation, state governors and some deputy governors.

Former Heads of State; General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were  absent.

Also absent are the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.

Meeting in pictures:

Council-of-State-2
President Muhammadu Buhari presiding over the National Council of State meeting
L-R: Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
Some state governors at the meeting
Council-of-State-governors-3
Some other state governors at the meeting

Babangida Says His Oil And Gas Vision Will Continue To Flourish

Ibrahim-Babangida-Niger-Oil-and-GasThe former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), says that his vision in the oil and gas industry will continue to flourish.

General Babangida says this is because his administration considered petroleum very important during his tenure.

He made the statement on Tuesday when he received the Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Niger State, Engineer Abdullahi Jankara, at his residence in Minna.

“I appreciate the evolution of history of petroleum in the country because I consider it very important during our tenure.

“We discussed a lot with my Minister of Petroleum, Professor Jibrin Aminu and our vision is still working and will continue to flourish,” he said.

The former military President appreciated the visit of the DPR boss and commended the efforts put in place in oil and gas sector.

He assured the DPR of maximum support and assistance from the people of Niger State who he said are known for peace and for Nigeria’s development.

The Babangida-led administration established the only petrochemical industry in Nigeria situated in Eleme, Port Harcourt which Nigeria relies on till date.

Mr Jankara, in his remarks, applauded the machinery put in place by the former military President’s administration.

He described the former Head of State as a visionary leader, adding that it was his vision for the establishment of the two deports in the state that led to the citing of DPR in Niger State.

The DPR official also visited the palace of the Emir of Minna, HRM Umar Faruk Bahago, to seek his royal blessings.

He said that those involved in the distribution of petroleum have begun to appreciate the work of DPR in the state unlike when they were unaware of the benefits of licensing their business.

HRH Bahago also appreciated the foresight of General Babangida and that of the present administration for their vision at every level to succeed. He assured the DPR of his support.

IBB Commends Unity Between Niger State Assembly, Executive

IBBFormer Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has applauded the cordial relationship that exists between the legislature and executive in Niger State, saying that this would help deliver dividends of democracy to the people.

IBB said this on Tuesday when members of the Niger State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Hon Ahmed Marafa, visited him in his hilltop mansion in Minna to welcome him back home after undergoing medical treatment in Germany.

The statesman appreciated the visit and further appreciated the various efforts of the members in their constituencies, urging them to sustain the tempo to the benefit of humanity.

In his remark, Hon Marafa said that they had received the negative social media report of his death with dismay but expressed excitement over his safe return to the country and his family.

While he admitted that death is inevitable, the Speaker expressed gratitude to God for guiding the former President back home.

He urged him to be relentless in using his wisdom to guide, support and advise the state’s leaders.

A special prayer for good health was offered for the statesman in his home.