The family extolled the late Shagari as an eptitome of high moral leadership, having meritoriously served Nigeria without any blemish…
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The family of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, has expressed sadness over the death of the country’s first civilian president, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, on December 28, at the National Hospital, Abuja.
In a statement signed by Ekwueme’s first son, Apostle Goodheart Obi Ekwueme, on behalf of the family and the entire people of Oko in Anambra State, the family extolled the late Shagari as an eptitome of high moral leadership, having meritoriously served Nigeria without any blemish whatsoever, a virtue he evidently shared with his late Vice, Dr Ekwueme, who passed on November 19, 2017.
The Ekwueme family described the relationship between Shagari and his duty as cordial, noting that both of them had greater hearts of service for the nation.
“They were more nationalistic in their work relation and even though they both had different religious backgrounds, they were not polarised by the issues of religion and tribe. They were first and foremost Nigerians before Christians or Muslims, Fulani or Igbo. They were both selfless,” the family said.
The family recalled that Shagari again demonstrated his humility in his message through his son, Aminu Shagari, at Ekwueme’s burial, where he said he chose him as the Vice President because of his impeccable integrity and character.
Shagari through his son had said: “I’m not here to give undeserved praises on Ekwueme; whatever I say here I have told him so in his life.
“I never thought his last birthday was his last though he was younger than me.
“Death is a certainty and we will all face it one day.
“I chose him because he came across as a man of impeccable integrity and character.
“We worked harmoniously because we had the same vision. He was a deputy I trusted and mischief makers could not drive a wedge between us. His character remained impeccable. Even in death his achievements cannot be diminished.”
The Ekwueme family expressed gratitude to God that the country’s first civilian president lived to a ripe age of 93 and led an exemplary life, and urged Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate him.
“We pray that Almighty God will comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourn him and will grant his soul eternal rest.”