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What you probably didn’t know about late Chief Ernest Shonekan

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The death of Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan, who headed the Interim National Government (ING), that succeeded the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, on Tuesday, January 11, at the age of 85, has effectively ended another era of great nationalists who fought for the existence of Nigeria during the dark years of military dictatorship.

Shonekan who was the Abese of Egbaland, a traditional title conferred on him by his community in Ogun State in 1981, was born on May 9, 1936.

He was a British-trained lawyer, businessman, politician, astute administrator and statesman who was installed the interim Head of State of Nigeria from August 26, 1993, before he was removed in November 17, 1993, by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, which made him the 9th Head of State of Nigeria.

Before he was made the interim head of state, Shonekan was the chairman and Chief Executive Officer the United African Company of Nigeria (UAC), which was unarguably the largest conglomerate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shonekan, though from Abeokuta in Ogun State, was born in Lagos, in a family of six

READ ALSO: After 55 years as a widow, wife of first military head of state, Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi, is dead

Shonekan had his early education at the CMS Grammar School and Igbobi College.

He obtained a degree in law from the University of London, and later attended the Harvard Business School.

Shonekan joined the United Africa Company of Nigeria in 1964 and rose through the ranks to become the MD/CEO.

At the age of 40, Shonekan was one of the youngest members of the board of directors of UAC having risen to the rank of deputy legal adviser.

He was made Chairman and Managing Director in 1980, and went on to cultivate a wide array of international business and political connections, before eventually making a foray into the world of politics.

Following a crisis that rocked Nigeria with the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Shonekan was installed by IBB as the interim head of state and assumed office as both the head of transitional council and head of government.

As the head of the transitional council, he was to design a roadmap for a scheduled hand over to an elected democratic leader of a Third Nigerian Republic.

However, in August 1993, Babangida resigned from office, but signed a decree establishing the Interim National Government and swore in Shonekan as the interim head of state.

In his short stint as the interim leader,
Shonekan faced a serious political crisis which ensued following the election annulment, with the perceived winner of the election, MKO Abiola, mounting pressure on Shonekan to recognise him as president, often describing the ING as illegitimate.

Shonekan tried to schedule another presidential election and a return to democratic rule, but his efforts were thwarted by national strikes and opposition coming from the Abiola camp.

Shonekan however, scored some points by releasing political prisoners detained by Babangida and introducing a bill to repeal three major draconian decrees of the military government.

He also lobbied for Nigeria’s foreign debts to be cancelled after most European countries had imposed economic sanctions on Nigeria following the June 12 debacle.

Another milestone in Shonekan’s short stint as head of state was initiating the audit of the accounts of the NNPC.

He also set a timetable for Nigerian troops withdrawal from ECOMOG’s peacekeeping mission in Liberia, something the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army and in particular, Abacha, who was the Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff frowned at and argued that Shonekan had no right to meddle into.

Three months into his administration, in November 1993, Shonekan was overthrown by Abacha in what many have come to describe as a palace coup.

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

As an elder statesman, Shonekan featured prominently on national issues in advisory role and at the time of his death, he was the third oldest surviving Nigerian Head of State after Queen Elizabeth II and General Yakubu Gowon.

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Politics

Police overcome IPOB/ESN group in gun duel, recover arms in abandoned camp

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The Paradise Breaking News

The Imo State Police Command said on Saturday that it has uncovered a terror camp of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militia arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Onicha in Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government Area of the State.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Command’s spokesperson, Michael Abattam, who noted that the group commit all sorts of crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism and killings in the hidden camp.

Abattam stated that the ESN men fired shots at them when they noticed their presence. He, however, said that the Police opened fire at them as well.

The Police spokesman affirmed that different kinds of arms were recovered from the operation.

The statement reads: “Following a credible information that, some members of the proscribed IPOB/ ESN terror group, its militia wing has made a forest at Onicha in Ezinihitte Mbaise local government area of Imo State their operational base where they go out to perpetrate heinous crimes which include terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and killing of innocent citizens.

READ ALSO: We don’t stock-pile arms, we make them locally, IPOB replies Garba Shehu

“Based on this information, the ever combat-ready Imo Command’s tactical teams, having carried diligent surveillance of the criminal hideouts, on 18th January 2022 at about 1 pm, stormed the deadly terror camp.

“The hoodlums on sighting the police operatives open fire on them and the Police operatives swiftly returned the fire. In the fierce gun battle, one of the hoodlums was neutralised while others scampered into the adjoining bushes fatally injured with gunshot injuries.

“While searching the terror camp, the police operatives recovered the following exhibits which includes; one AK47 rifle with Forty (40) rounds of live ammunition, ten locally fabricated explosives devices, one Police hand grenade, two Toyota Highlander (SUV) Jeeps without registration numbers, one Lexus 350 SUV without registration number, one Lexus 330 SUV without registration number, two Biafran flags, different assorted Charms, assorted dresses suspected to belong to kidnapped/robbed victims.”

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SDP suspends nat’l chairman, secretary over abuses on party’s constitution

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Dr. Olu Agunloye

The National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has suspended its National Chairman, Olu Ogunloye, for alleged abuses on the party’s constitution.

This was contained in a communique signed by the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Adul Isaq, on Saturday, in Abuja, which noted that the National Secretary of the party, Shehu Gabam, was also suspended for the same reason.

The communique specifies that Isaq will serve as the party’s interim National Chairman, while Simon Adesina will act as the National Secretary, pending the outcome of its convention which holds from April 27 – 29, 2022.

The communique reads: “The NEC observed the wanton disregard to the provisions of the SDP constitution especially Article 12.5 (iv) 12.2.2 (viii) and Article 9.4 to suspend some officers from the party.

READ ALSO: Insecurity, bad economy destroying Nigeria – SDP

“The NEC considered the various abuses of the constitution by the following under-listed officers and there agreed by majority to suspend Shehu Gabam and Dr Olu Ogunloye.

“The NEC noted the urgency to put in place all that is required for a befitting party convention and therefore resolves; that the national convention of the Social Democratic Party is fixed for April 27 to 29 with arrival being Wednesday April 27, 2022.”

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Politics

2023: Race to ‘dethrone’ Tinubu, APC heats up, as Ayu, Saraki, five PDP govs storm Lagos

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The race for elective positions ahead of the 2023 elections has commenced in earnest as the two major parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – are strategizing on how to emerge victorious.

On the part of the PDP, a major coup was claimed in Lagos State with the defection of a crucial factional APC group, Lagos4Lagos led by Dr. Olajide Adediran, popularly called “Jandor.”

The Lagos4Lagos group has been in the forefront of groups in the state which has been fighting to unseat the APC stronghold on the state, which is believed to be firmly controlled by a former governor, Ahmed Tinubu.

The reception of Jandor into the PDP held on Friday at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos State and was graced by a handful of PDP governors and other crucial stakeholders including the new National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Olabode George.

The Governors who were present to receive Jandor and his supporters into the PDP fold were Seyi Makinde (Oyo State); Dr Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Nyesome Wike (Rivers).

READ ALSO: PDP should forget about winning 2023 election – Presidency

In his address, Ayu urged Nigerians not to give in to the ‘slavery’ witnessed in Lagos State after years of governance by the APC while mocking the ‘change’ mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Are you enjoying the change? How much is a bag of rice? They deceived Nigerians. We declare no more slavery in Lagos. By this time next year, we will celebrate a PDP Governor in Lagos State,” he said.

Governor Makinde expressed his pleasure at welcoming the APC Lagos4Lagos movement into the fold, as they aimed “to reclaim Lagos for the people of Lagos State.”

“Today, we held a Lagos PDP unity rally. We also officially welcomed the Lagos4Lagos movement led by Dr Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (Jandor) from APC to our great party, the PDP. Working together, we will reclaim Lagos for the people of Lagos State,” he noted.

Ikpeazu, on his part, pointed out the crucial role to be played by Jandor as the “bridge between the young and the old in Lagos politics and he should be given full support by all so that there can be unity.”

He said, “On behalf of my brother governors, we officially join the Lagos PDP family, to welcome new strategic members of our party.

“You are very important and strategic. PDP is the only democratic party in Nigeria,” he said.

Ikpeazu urged members of the PDP family in the state to give Adediran maximum support and cooperation for the defector to contribute his quota to the growth of the party.

“Jandor is the bridge between the young and the old in Lagos politics and he should be given full support by all so that there can be unity.”

In his speech, Jandor pledged to work towards ensuring that the PDP “take over Lagos” during the 2023 elections.

“We have declared for the PDP, we are going to win for the party. We are here (PDP) to add value, we are here to be part of the big family and together we will take over Lagos,” Jandor said.

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