Rain of tributes for Dr. Alex Ekwueme

President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida yesterday paid glowing tributes to the late Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

Ekwueme passed on Sunday night in London where he had been receiving treatment since November 13.

Igwe Laz Ekwueme, the monarch of Oko, Anambra State and brother to the former VP, announced his demise in a statement yesterday, saying the elder statesman died at a London clinic at about 10 p.m. on Sunday.

“Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme,’’ he said.

Ekwueme, who turned 85 years last month, collapsed in his home in Enugu a few days after his birthday.

He was taken to Enugu Memfys Nuerosurgery Hospital from where he was moved to London for further medical attention on the orders of President Buhari.

Ekwueme was the Vice President to Alhaji Shagari between 1979 and 1983.

His home town Oko was thrown into mourning. His death dominated discussions everywhere. Ekweueme’s country home was deserted. Only one security guard was on duty.

A few people had signed the condolence register at the monarch’s palace.

The monarch was said to be upstairs while visitors waited in vain to see him.

Those sighted were Justice A Ekwueme, Lady Edith Ekwueme, her daughter, Ada Ekwueme – Onions and the son of the first monarch of the community, Mike Ekwueme

None of them spoke on how the former VP died.

Visitors and sympathisers were yesterday trooping to the Ezzikwo Street, Independence Layout, Enugu home of the ex-vice-president.

Among the early callers were President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief Nnia Nwodo and the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu, the eight Rev Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma.

A condolence register was opened.

Ekwueme ‘s senior widow, Beatrice was said to be away in Abuja. The junior widow, surrounded by many women, was receiving visitors.

President Buhari sent his condolences to Nigerians, the government and people of Anambra State on Ekwueme’s death.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, the President commiserated with the Oko Kingdom, the Aguata Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Ekwueme family over the loss of the patriarch.

He said his regular counsel on national issues and mediations for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.

The President affirmed that Dr Ekwueme’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria had been a major encouragement to many governments, recalling the personal sacrifices he made in helping to lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.

The President believed Dr Ekwueme worked assiduously to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people through the Alex Ekwueme Foundation, describing him as a man who served his country and humanity.

He prayed that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the former Vice President, and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

Second Republic President Shagari also commiserated with Nigerians over Ekwueme’s death.

In a statement in Sokoto, the former President described the late Ekwueme as his brother who stood for peace, unity and stability of the country.

Shagari, who signed the statement personally said: “It is with deep sense of loss that I learnt aboutý the demise of my brother and former Vice President Alex Ekwueme.

”On behalf of myself, I sincerely commiserate with Nigerians on his death ýMay his soul rest in peace.”

Former President Obasanjo described Ekwueme’s demise as “shocking”. He said the Second Republic Vice – President was a “selfless, disciplined and patriotic Nigerian who lived a worthy and exemplary life”

In a statement titled:”Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme: A Tribute”, Obasanjo noted that Ekwueme recorded diverse and worthy achievements in the multifaceted endeavours.

“His irrepressible thirst for knowledge and education, which propelled his foray into many fields of intellectual pursuit and his distinguished role in the development of the architectural profession in Nigeria are shining examples to the younger generation, many of whom have, in fact, benefited from his philanthropy and goodwill.

“It cannot be gainsaid that, over the years, Dr. Ekwueme had shown courage of conviction and integrity in his dealings at the pinnacle of national affairs, notably with his record of sincerity as Vice-President of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983 and as Chairman of the

Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during my administration as a democratically-elected President of Nigeria. It would not be an exaggeration to state that with his exemplary lifestyle and commitment to noble and worthy causes, he rightly came

to be regarded as one of the titans of Nigerian politics and an illustrious elder statesman.

”I had hoped he would continue to play an active role in strengthening democracy in Nigeria as well as lending his voice to the ennobling ideal of national unity. But what can we do?

“I would only urge that we should accept this circumstance as the unquestionable will of God who gives and takes life according to His will and wish.

“As the whole world pays tribute to Dr. Ekwueme, I join them in celebrating the life of a man who raised the beacon of human struggle to lofty heights of nobility and whose life is an example of what we should all aspire for. His struggle and our struggles remain the same and as we all seek for answers to deal with today’s challenges.

“His demise is a loss to his family who would miss a caring patriarch,

the people of Anambra State who would miss a guide and the good people of Nigeria who would miss a leader. In all situations, he lived nobly and he died in nobility.” Obasanjo said.

Gen. Babangida extolled the virtue of simplicity that characterised the life of the late Vice President.

“His simplicity is a rare virtue, despite his intellectual depth. I have come to know him with carriage of a man that is always living a very worthwhile live built on values and morality. We will miss him , Nigeria needs people like him now than ever” IBB said.

“I condole with the family of the late Dr Ekweme , the government and people of Anambra state and Nigerians , I pray that God gives the Family and all of us the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss”


1 Comment

  1. Hypocrites, so he really had all these attributes and good sides, yet you Cabals vehemently denied him the opportunity to become Nigeria’s President in as many attempts. God is watching!

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