From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has paid glowing tributes to the first Nigerian Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who died recently.
The House observed a minute silence in Ekwueme’s honour, yesterday and thereafter, lawmakers took turns to pay tributes to him.
The tributes came nine days after Ekwueme died in a London clinic, at 85.
Before commencement of yesterday’s business, Ben Nwankwo, formally informed the chamber about Ekwueme’s death.
Nwankwo described the former vice president as a true Nigerian leader and called for the government to immortalise him.
He canvassed upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, in Ekwueme’s hometown, to a university of Technology, which will be named after the statesman.
In his contribution, Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, described Ekwueme as an accomplished professional and democratic icon.
Similarly, Nicholas Ossai stated that late Ekwueme was a man of integrity, who made invaluable contributions to the development of the country.
…Otu Ide makes case for immortalisation
Otu Ide Ndigbo, a pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, has expressed sadness over the death of former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Ekwueme, who held the title, Ide Oko, until his death, was the grand patron of Otu Ide, a group made up of individuals conferred with the title, Ide (Pillar) of their respective towns and recognised as such singularly.
In a statement on behalf of the group, Chief Eric Nwobi, Okeide Igbo Ukwu, Austine Izagbo Johnson Igwe, secretary and executive patron, described Ekwueme as a source of inspiration to Igbo.
They praised the indelible contributions of Ekwueme in the socio-political development of Nigeria, saying the country will not forget that the former vice president conceived the six geo-political zone’ structure.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Chief Ekwueme.
“He was our grand patron. More than that, he was our group’s icon and a source of inspiration to us, particularly, on issues of culture.
“For instance, he encouraged the publication of a major Igbo language primer used today in teaching Igbo language in schools across the country.
“No doubt, his imprints were bolder in his architectural profession and in politics.
“In the latter, he conceived the six geo-political zones now hot on the front burner of our political discourse.
“After serving as vice president, he was adjudged untainted and his attitude to corruption described as angelic.
“Ekwueme’s Minna presidential bid declaration was nipped in the board by the army generals, in their own interest, even before the Jos Convention.
“While we appreciate the Federal Government’s assistance with logistics for his unsuccessful medical treatment overseas, we join others in calling on the Nigerian government to find a way to immortalise his services of distinction and honesty to remind all that even in Nigeria, honesty is honoured.
Our hearts reach out to his family, especially his wife, “Aka Ide,” his children and siblings on this irreplaceable loss, which we share.”