Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awk
Oko community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State and country home of the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme was Thursday shut down as commercial and social activities were paralyzed in the town.
The polytechnic town was a shadow of itself as all the shops, markets, artisan shops and private schools in Oko were all closed down as the community began mourning the man they described as next to their God.
When Daily Sun visited the community, people were seen in clusters discussing about the man, what he did for the community, what he did for the Old Aguata and for Nigeria.
At about 10am the people, elders, women youths, married daughters of the community had gathered at the Oko Civic Centre for sober reflections, speeches, tributes and prayers after which they moved to Ekwueme’s home where they signed the condolence register.
Speaking to Daily Sun shortly after the event, the President General of town, Chief CY Nwamuo said, “The atmosphere depicts the mood we are in, we lost our most illustrious son, our father, our mentor, what we have as a community, we lost him, His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ekwueme the former Vice President of the federation, so we are in a sober mood and we are devastated.
“Today we closed shops, every shop in this community and those in Diaspora owned by and indigenes of Oko, every son and daughter of Oko in any branch has to close shop today to remember him. Though we have started the burial ceremony but we have to show that he was our father.
On the next line of action of the community, Nwamuo said, “The man in question, Dr. Ekwueme is a very important personality in Nigeria, he contributed a lot to Nigerian development, to peaceful coexistence. He propounded and brought into being the six geo-political zones, he formed the PDP, even this union we are managing now he formed it and was the first chairman of this Oko Peoples Union.
“When he was alive he founded many foundations, Ekwueme Memorial Trust through which many people were educationally lifted, so we remember him for all those things he did.even this Oko Polytechnic, he founded it and nurtured it to this level of being a federal Polytechnic.
“We are appealing to the federal government to upgrade that school to a university.”