From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
FORMER minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe is dead.
He was 71.
He died yesterday at the Turkish Specialist Hospital in Abuja.
Chief Maduekwe, until his death was the secretary of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the oppositionPeoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He died shortly after returning from the United States of America (USA).
The late Ojo was to supervise the celebration of his wife’s 70th birthday tomorrow.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South senatorial district and Ojo’s ally confirmed Maduekwe’s death and added that he “was on his way from the United States of America and was billed to attend the wife’s 70th birthday on July 1.”
Abaribe also confirmed that Madueke collapsed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja having arrived from the US and that he was rushed to the Turkish Hospital where he died.
In his reaction, BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin expressed disbelief at the news of Ojo’s death. Walid told Daily Sun from Saudi Arabia, where he is currently performing the Lesser Hajj, that “the news is difficult to take.”
Also, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara said: “I can’t believe this. It does not sound real.”
Maduekwe, who hailed from Ohafia, Abia State, held several top offices both in government and PDP. He was appointed Culture and Tourism minister in 1999 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was later made Transport minister and was later named national secretary of the PDP.
When late President Umaru Yar’Adua was elected in 2007, Maduekwe was appointed Foreign Affairs minister.
He left office in March 2010 when then acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet. In 2011, he served as the deputy director general of Goodluck/Sambo presidential campaign and was later rewarded with an ambassadorial post. He served as ambassador to Canada.