Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the representative of the governor in the Al Ain region, attend the weddings of Bin Majran Al-Ameri in Al-Ain. Photo: Ruler's Representative Dewan in Al Ain Region

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed A lifetime of loyal service to UAE

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The death of Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan marks the end of a lifetime of loyal service to his country that began with his close relationship with UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

As well as brother-in-law through the marriage of his sister Sheikha Hessa, Sheikh Tahnoon was a close adviser to Sheikh Zayed when he was Ruler of Abu Dhabi and then President of the UAE from December 1971.

Until his death, announced yesterday at the age of 82, Sheikh Tahnoon was the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region at Al Ain, a position held by Sheikh Zayed until 1966.

He was part of the inner circle advising Sheikh Zayed in the period leading to the formation of the Federation and for many years after, continuing as Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain through to the current President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed.

The Presidential Court issued a statement saying Sheikh Mohamed was mourning the death of Sheikh Tahnoon, his uncle.

Sheikh Tahnoon was born in Al Ain in 1942 and soon gained valuable experience from his close association with Sheikh Zayed.

That trust was reciprocated, with Sheikh Zayed placing his absolute faith in his brother-in-law.

His first appointment came within weeks of Sheikh Zayed’s accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, when Sheikh Tahnoon was made Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Chairman of Al Ain Municipality.

In the months leading up to the formation of the UAE, Sheikh Tahnoon was made Minister of Municipalities and Agriculture on July 1, 1971.

A month later, he was appointed Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, a position he was to hold for the next 53 years.

A year later, by Presidential decree, Sheikh Tahnoon was made a member of the board of directors for the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Arab Economy, now known as the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and in 1973 was appointed chairman of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

When the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority formed its board of directors, Sheikh Tahnoon was appointed as a member. His membership was renewed in 1980.

Beloved UAE royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed dies

Beloved UAE royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed dies

More senior appointments followed. In 1977, he became deputy chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Municipalities in Al Ain.

Sheikh Tahnoon was later made a member of the Supreme Petroleum Council by Sheikh Zayed in 1988.

The Emirates News Agency, Wam, noted in its appreciation of the life of Sheikh Tahnoon that he “was known for his close ties and direct communication with the people of Al Ain".

“Most of his official positions and his distinguished record of service to the state and its citizens were focused on his work in the city, making him close to the concerns of its citizens and directly involved in their joys and occasions," Wam reported.

In 2018, the E66 motorway between Al Ain and Dubai was named in his honour.

Sheikh Tahnoon remained actively involved in government affairs until his death, often seen at the side of Sheikh Mohamed as he had been with Sheikh Zayed, and with Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, the current Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Tahnoon leaves 10 sons.

Updated: May 02, 2024, 10:34 AM