The story of Chief Ernest Shonekan’s life is one centered on merit, humility and service to humanity, and that was re-echoed when the British-trained lawyer, industrialist, Baba Isale of Egbaland and former Interim President of Nigeria turned 80.
The celebrant, who takes his Christian faith seriously together with his dear wife Margret and their lovely children, began the special birthday event with a thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos
The occasion saw several important guests honouring Chief Shonekan in a service officiated by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh.
The special guests include former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and wife Victoria; former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme and wife Helen; Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun and wife Olufunso, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adegbule.
Others are former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma and wife Senator Daisy; Chairman of FCMB, Otunba Shubomi Balogun and wife Adebutu; and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Micheal Adedotun Gbadebo amongst others
Indeed, it was a special day as they joined him on the altar for thanksgiving and then sang a special birthday song for him.
Students from his Alma Mata, CMS Grammar School Lagos, also did a special presentation in his honour.
The social part of the celebration kicked off right away with veteran juju music maestro, Ebenezer Obey, dishing out some of his evergreen tunes in honour of the celebrant and to the delight of his A-list guests.
More important guests joined the party, like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and wife Olori Wuraola; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and former Governor of Lagos, Chief Mobolaji Johnson.
Business mogul, Chief Razaq Okoya and wife Shade; Justice George Oguntade and wife; Chairman of Doyin Group, Mr Samuel Adedoyin; and the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Relations and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also shared in the fun.
Chief Ernest Shonekan was born on the May 9, 1936 in Lagos. He is a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and was the 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 on August 26, 1993.
Chief Shonekan’s transitional administration only lasted three months before General Sani Abacha took over on November 17, 1993.