•Buhari, Shagari, Dogara mourn
From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Former Vice President, Dr.Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, is dead.
He died in London, on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 85.
His brother and traditional ruler of Oko, in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, said the former Second Republic vice president to former President Shehu Shagari died at 10:00pm, in a London clinic.
“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…”
last month, the former architect fell down in his Enugu residence and collapsed. He was initially rushed to Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital in Enugu, where he relapsed and went into coma.
Subsequently, the Federal Government intervened and arranged for an air ambulance which ferried him to London on November 13.
Leading a deluge of tributes to him, yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari said his regular counsels on national issues and mediations, for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.
The president said this in his condolence message to the Government and people of Anambra State, through his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
He affirmed that Ekwueme’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria has been a major encouragement to many governments, and recalled the personal sacrifices he made in helping lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
Ekwueme’s former boss, Shagari, commiserated with Nigerians on his death.
In a condolence message he personally signed, Shagari said: “It is with a deep sense of loss that I heard about the demise of my brother and former vice president, Alex Ekwueme. On behalf of myself, I sincerely commiserate with Nigerians on his death. May his soul rest in peace.”
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has described Ekwueme’s death as a monumental loss not just to Nigeria but the entire African continent.
Dogara, in a personally signed statement, said the former vice president lived a life worthy of emulation.
The speaker noted that “Ekwueme was a distinguished elder statesman, patriot, nationalist and a true son of Africa.”
He however, noted that the Ekwueme’s demise came at a time Africa was in dire need of patriots and leaders like Dr. Ekwueme “as it struggle with various internal conflicts and passes through challenging pace in its history.”
Former deputy speaker, Emeka Ihedioha said he received the news of Ekwueme’s death with great pains and described him as “an accomplished and celebrated Nigerian, a humanist cum philanthropist, who lived a life of selfless and patriotic service to his fatherland. He was an embodiment of humility, simplicity and precision, Ide distinguished himself in many fields of human endeavours.
Also, Chairman of the National Contact Committee of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Senator Roland Owie has described Ekwueme’s death as the passage of a sage.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Owie said Ekwueme’s death has closed a chapter in Nigeria’s political history.
“Throughout the period he was in politics, Dr. Ekwueme remained a moderating factor in our volatile polity. He was a gentleman, scholar, businessman and humanist. By his death, Nigeria stands diminished and saddened.”
Dogara expressed condolences to the Ekwueme family, the government and people of Anambra State.
“In times as these, elderly wisdom, experience and guidance of Dr. Ekwueme is needed by leaders at all levels so as to enable us surmount the daunting challenges confronting us as a country and as Africans.
“Dr. Ekwueme was a philanthropist, a famous professional architect, lawyer, brilliant politician and a man of peace whose efforts in building bridges of friendship amongst the various peoples of Nigeria is legendary.
“He played politics of ideas, principle and purpose and helped bring stability as vice president in the Second Republic.
“The late elderstatesman was credited with the introduction of the famous proposals for just and equitable power-sharing in Nigeria, based on the six geopolitical zones which ensures a fair, just equitable and stable polity…”
His contributions in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in 1999 when he mobilised the famous group of 34 eminent Nigerians who risked their lives and stood up against military dictatorship are still fresh in our minds.
“Indeed, he lived a life worthy of emulation and left an indelible mark in the annals of the history of Nigeria. He was truly a political collosus and giant whose shoes will be difficult to fill”.
“As it was said of all the saints and sages, we take solace in the fact that he has gone to rest having emptied himself while he walked the earth and served humanity even in his final hours”.
… Nigeria has lost a rare gem, says Kalu
Former Abia State governor, Dr.Orji Kalu, has described the demise of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a huge loss to the country.
Kalu extolled Ekwueme’s virtues and also, acknowledged his contributions to the socio-political development of Nigeria.
The former governor said the former vice president was a silent but great achiever in all facets of life.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, yesterday, Kalu said “the news of the passing of Chief Alex Ekwueme was devastating.
“The former vice president died at a time the country needed his wise counsel on national issues.
“He was a man of exceptional qualities. He championed the cause of a fair society, in all his endeavours.
“Chief Ekwueme was a shining light beyond the political circle.
“He will be remembered for promoting peaceful co-existence and unity in Nigeria.
“We have lost a pan-African.”
The former governor urged the deceased’s family to be comforted by the good legacies their patriarch left behind, and added that “Chief Ekwueme’s name will remain unforgettable in the annals of Nigeria’s democracy.”
Kalu, who commiserated with the government and people of Anambra State, called on the Ekwueme family to sustain the ideals of the deceased.
The former governor prayed God to grant Chief Ekwueme eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Ekwueme was pillar of Nigeria’s unity –IBB
• He had exemplary courage, say Saraki, Ekweremadu, Ugwuanyi
By our reporters
Former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has described the death of Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a big loss, not only to the people of Anambra State but the country in general.
Babangida said Ekwueme’s came at a time when his invaluable role was needed for national cohesion.
In a statement by his media aide in Minna, Mallam Mahmud Abdullahi, yesterday, Babangida disclosed he was pained by Ekwueme’s death but took solace in the exemplary life he lived by the former vice president
“His simplicity was a rare virtue, despite his intellectual depth. I knew him with the carriage of a man who lived a worthwhile life, built on values and morality. We will miss him. Nigeria needs people like him now than ever.
“I condole with the family of the late Dr. Ekwueme, the government and people of Anambra state and Nigerians, in general,” Babangida said.
Top echelon of the country’s legislature also paid tributes to Ekwueme.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, expressed sadness on Ekwueme’s demise but applauded his contribution to the development of Nigeria.
“I join Ndigbo and the entire nation to mourn the passing of one of Nigeria’s most illustrious sons. As we mourn his death, we celebrate his dedication and service to the development of our country. I will always remember Dr. Alex Ekwueme for his exemplary courage in the face of overwhelming odds – when he stood up to past military regimes and his dexterity in his personal pursuits, as a successful architect, lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.”
Saraki’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu described Ekwueme’s death as “a sad event for Nigeria and her democracy. Dr. Ekwueme combined the uncommon toughness and courage of Heracles with the wits of Odysseus and Nestor. His fearless battle against military rule, as the convener of the Group of 34 eminent Nigerians (G-34) could be likened to Heracles’ heroic encounter with the hydra-headed chthonic monsters.
“Ekwueme was a fine gentleman and an epitome of politics without bitterness. Although he lost the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an offshoot of the G34, and pan-Nigerian political platform he built from the scratch, he remained faithful to the party in thick and thin, until his death.”
Ekweremadu equally reminisced on Ekwueme’s dexterity and contributions during the civil war.
“He offered his undiluted professional service in the design and development of access to the air for Ndigbo, during the civil war 1967 to 1970. As Head of Planning of the Biafra Airports Board, the late prodigy built two functional airports in Ulli and Uga, while the airport projects at Mbaise, Ntigha Ngwa, Umuleri, and Arochukwu were at various completion stages, before the end of hostilities.”
In his tribute, Senator Andy Uba, commiserated with the family and described Ekwueme’s death as “loss of a great an iconic figure.”
In a statement he personally signed, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said Ekwueme’s death “signals yet another depletion in the dwindling ranks of elder statesmen with an abiding love for country and humanity. We received the news of his passing with deep sadness and consider it a huge loss not only to his family but to the entire country. We mourn with his family and, on behalf of the government and people of Enugu State, offer them our deepest condolences and express our gratitude for their gift of this icon of democracy.”
… We must preserve legacy -Ngige
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has described the death of former Vice President and statesman, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as exit of an unrivalled colossus at a time Nigeria is in dire need of his wisdom, knowledge, discipline, courage and patriotism.
“With the passing on of Ide Aguata, the curtain has fallen on a glorious chapter in the history of Nigeria. With the death of Dr. Ekwueme, Nigeria has been assailed by a huge gap that will be difficult to fill. With the passing away of Ide, the sky-high iroko, where then shall the birds of great flight take to?” said Ngige in a statement, yesterday.
In the contemporary, Nigeria has lost her best in all ramifications- politics, professionalism in disciplines such as Architecture, Law and Business. In the contemporary world of politics, business, Nigeria has lost one of her greatest!” Ngige said.
“Am personally in deep grief; we have lost a father, a mentor, a leader whose briefcase some of us the contemporary leaders of the South East, viz Prof. A.B.C Nwosu, Dr. Okey Udeh, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Dr. Okwy Nwodo, struggled to carry in 1998 during the formative years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Professor Jerry Gana’s house. Ide was a man whose wisdom, I, like many others depended at the outset of this 4th republic. I mourn a man whose shining examples have largely shaped my thought and belief in politics as service to the people.”