Ernest Shonekan was Managing Director of United African Company of Nigeria when he was inducted on August 26, 1993 British support by the resigning President Ibrahim Babangida as president of the transitional government. On November 17, 1993, after almost three months, he was overthrown by the so-called Lagos Group under the leadership of then Vice-President Sani Abacha. Shonekan had during his controversial tenure never gained control of the military. As defense Abacha was already designated successor Shonekans.
Because he picked up the government subsidies for oil production on 8 November 1993, under the pressure of falling international oil prices, inflation rose under Ernest Shonekan sharply, leading to street protests.