Soft- spoken, baritone voice and stickler for merit, Chief Ernest Shonekan, who is buried today, at the age of 85, was not only the Interim Head Of State Of Nigeria, who took over from President Ibrahim Babangida, in January 1993, during the post June 12 crisis. He was before then a corporate chieftain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UAC of Nigeria, a vast Nigerian conglomerate, which at that time was the largest African controlled company in sub-Saharan Africa.
Not only that, it was under Shonekan, that UAC in partnership with UNILEVER of London sponsored the most prestigious journalism award in Nigeria in 1989, when I emerged as the STAR MERIT AWARD WINNER.
The award came with an all expenses paid scholarship in the United Kingdom. The award ceremony in Lagos was attended by top Nigerian and British government officials, journalists and businessmen from both countries.
The picture above shows the Nigerian Minister of Information, Chief Tony Momoh, presenting the award to me, while Chief Ernest Shonekan looks on with applause.
Coincidentally, Chief Momoh died last year and was buried in February 2021 at the ages 82.
May their souls Rest In Peace.