Well-meaning Nigerians have continued to pay their condolences to former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme who passed away on Sunday.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, have described the death as a monumental loss not just to Nigeria but the entire African continent.
Jonathan commiserated with the government and people of Anambra State, on the passing of Ekwueme.
In a letter of condolence to the Ekwueme family and the Government and people of Anambra state, the former president described the late statesmanâ€™s exit as an irreparable loss.
A statement by the ex-Presidentâ€™s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, said Jonathan further described Ekwueme as an intellectual giant and democrat who took a principled stand against military rule.
It said: â€œEkwueme was a well-loved statesman who played politics of inclusion and made useful contributions in charting a course for Nigeriaâ€™s geopolitical stability. A totem of courage and patriotism, the Second Republic Vice Presidentâ€™s role in deepening the roots of democratic rule was evident in his selfless and principled stand against military rule.
â€œHe was an intellectual giant whose prowess in learning was as deep and profound as the love he had for his people and nation. His commitment to educational excellence is a trait we should encourage Nigerians to imbibe.
â€œHe was a man of peace who will be remembered for his candor, open-mindedness and the bridges of understanding he built across cultural and political boundaries.â€
On his part, Dogara extolled the virtues of the deceased, saying the former number two citizen was a distinguished elder statesman, patriot, nationalist and a true son of Africa.
He, however, lamented that his demise came at a time Africa was in dire need of patriots and leaders like Ekwueme as it struggles with various internal conflicts and passes through challenging pace in its history. He said: â€œIn times as these, elderly wisdom, experience and guidance of 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.
â€œEkwueme 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. â€œHe played politics of ideas, principle and purpose and helped bring stability as vice president in the Second Republic.
â€œThe late elder statesman was credited with the introduction of the famous proposals for a just and equitable power sharing in Nigeria based on the six geopolitical zones which ensures a fair, just equitable and stable polity. â€œI want to express our heartfelt condolences to the Ekwueme family, the government and people of Anambra State over this huge and irreparable loss. May His gentle soul rest in perfect peace.â€
Also, Wike, has commiserated with Nigerians, the government and people of Anambra State and the family of Ekwueme, over his passage.
The governor, who described the late former vice president as an outstanding democrat, compassionate leader, true patriot and exemplary statesman said Ekwueme would be missed by all lovers of democracy and development. While extending his deepest condolences to Nigerians, Wike noted that he was pained by the death of the former vice president.
He prayed God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Similarly, Akeredolu described the death of seEkwueme, as an irreparable loss to the country.
Akeredolu said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Segun Ajiboye that Nigeria has lost one of its brightest and ebullient democrats. â€œThough death is a necessary end, it is saddening that Ekwueme departs the country at a time when the ideals and social justice he used his energy and intellectual prowess to fight for in his life times have yet to be achieved. â€œThe young generation will surely miss the man who stood for the uprightness and unity of our dear country,â€ he said.
Akeredolu described Ekwueme as a nationalist, disciplined and leader of leaders, who led a group of political like minds to push the military back to their barracks during the dark days of Sani Abacha military junta. He said roles of the late Ekwueme during that period in the Nigeriaâ€™s political history will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Ugwuanyi, Okorocha, Ohanaeze, Others Mourn
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, have described the late Second Republic Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, an advocate of a restructured Nigeria, noting that by his death Ndigbo have lost a genius, a father and an intellectual giant.
Nwodo said Ekwueme was an outstanding patriot whose contributions to the countryâ€™s socio political evolution would be indelible.
He noted in a statement on the demise of the former vice president made available to THISDAY in Enugu that the country has lost one of the foremost advocates of a restructured federation. â€œAs Vice President, Ekwueme was intellectually forthright, engaging, loyal and outstandingly patriotic. As a politician he was courageous and original in his ideas. Nwodo commiserated with his immediate family, friends and associates and Nigeria for the huge loss while urging Nigerian government to immortalise him.
On his part, Governor Ugwuanyi said the death of Ekwueme signalled yet another depletion in the dwindling ranks of elder statesmen with an abiding love for country and humanity.
The governor said in a statement he personally signed that â€œWe 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. â€œWe 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,â€ he said.
Okorocha described Ekwueme as an epitome of detribalised Nigerian who died as a statesman.
The governor remarked that nine years after the civil war, the rest of Nigerians re-enacted or reinforced their faith and belief in the Igbos as one of the major tripods of the nation through Dr. Alex Ekwueme who was elected the Vice President of the nation with Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari as the president.
Governor Okorocha in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretariat, Sam Onwuemeodo, said Ekwueme launched the Igbos into national politics since the second Republic and refused to be cajoled into playing tribal politics, and until his death, Dr. Ekwueme remained in the mainstream of Nigerian politics because of his firm believe in oneness of the nation. According to the governor, Dr. Ekwueme was a good example of the kind of politics the Igbos should be playing at any given time and has left behind a befitting legacy.
He said Ekwuemeâ€™s peaceful and honest dispositions both in politics, public and private lives are all worthy of emulation.
â€œThe only regret about Dr. Ekwueme at the moment is that he died at a time his wealth of experience and his wise advice would have been most needed and most useful to all Nigerians of goodwill,â€ he said.
His Death is the End of an Era, Says Umahi
The Chairman of the South-east governors forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, has described the death of the foremost Nigerian and former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as end of an era. Umahi in statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, expressed rude shock over the death of Dr. Ekwueme, describing it as a great loss to Ndigbo in particular and Nigeria in general.
He commiserated with the Government of Anambra State and entire Ekwueme family of Oko in Orumba North local government area of Anambra State for the loss and prayed God to grant him eternal rest among His Saints. â€œThe death of our father and leader, Dr. Ekwueme is so devastating especially now that his fatherly advice is needed most. He was a great Nigerian and great believer in the unity of the country. As his children, we have learnt a lot from his deep political sagacityâ€
â€œAs the vice President of Nigeria, Ekwueme was a great rallying factor of Igbo socio-political integration. He was a voice of reason and a man who toiled to place Ndigbo at the centre of mainstream politics. Indeed we have lost a rare gem, a gentleman and a decent politician and academiaâ€
The governor further disclosed that the South-east zone through the governors would soon draw programme on how to pay last respect to the fallen political Iroko and commiserated with his immediate family and indeed the government of Anambra State.
He Was a Bridge That Held Nigeria Together, Says Bello
Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has described the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as the bridge that held Nigeria together for decades.
In a condolence message personally signed by the governor yesterday, he described the late elder statesman as a â€œthorough administrator, decent politician and a nationalist who saw Nigeria as a project of unity.â€
According to him, Ekwueme was an example of â€œexcellent leadership.â€
He said the late icon rendered selfless service to his fatherland, â€œstanding on the podium of truth, sacrifice and progress all his lifeâ€. Bello expressed confidence that the nation will immortalise the â€œgood name and sterling values Ekwueme lived forâ€, calling on the new generation of politicians and Nigerians to â€œmirror the Ekwueme spirit of service to humanity.â€
Tambuwal: For Us in Sokoto, His Death Comes with Extra Pain
Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has described former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who died yesterday morning at a London hospital, as a true statesman whose selfless and meritorious service to God, country and humanity was felt by all.
In a message of condolence issued in Sokoto by his spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said the Ekwueme was a distinguished legal luminary, exemplary politician and a great community leader.
â€œFor us in Sokoto, Dr. Ekwuemeâ€™s death comes with extra pain because he was vice president to one of our distinguished sons, Turakin Sokoto, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
â€œThe deceased proved himself an able lieutenant who together with other members of their team, gave their best for the unity, progress and stability of the Nigerian federation in the Second Republic and beyond.
â€œHis death has therefore closed a chapter in the life of one Nigeriaâ€™s most respected voices who made his mark in both public and private sectors,â€ Tambuwal added. He further described Ekwueme as a truly passionate Nigerian whose invaluable contributions to issues of national interest will be forever appreciated. While sending the commiserations of the people and government of Sokoto State to his immediate family, Tambuwal prayed God to grant the people of Anambra, South-east and the entire federation the fortitude to bear the loss.
Ambode Mourns Death of First Vice President
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday expressed sadness over the demise of the first Vice President of Nigeria and elder statesman, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. Ekwueme, who was the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria in office from 1979 to 1983 died in a London Hospital at the age of 85 after a brief illness. Ambode, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, described the late Ekwueme as a complete gentleman, a thorough bred scholar, a philanthropist and a politician per excellence, who contributed his own quota to serving his country and humanity.
â€œEkwueme was a man of many parts. He was a scholar of repute who had so many academic awards to his name. Not only did he bag degrees in philosophy, history, sociology, law as well as architecture and city planning, he was a successful business man to the core and impacted on the lives of his people positively.
â€œHe was also a detribalised Nigerian who was committed to the course of a united, indivisible and prosperous Nigeria. He believed so much in all inclusive governance and was one of those patriotic Nigerians who contributed in laying the foundation of a sustainable democracy in Nigeria,â€ he said.
Ambode while commiserating with the family of the late elder statesman, urged them to uphold the ideals he stood for, saying that the nation will continue to draw inspiration from his life and times.
â€œHis demise, just like that of our heroes past, must never be in vain. There can be no better time to unite together to achieve a better and more prosperous Nigeria,â€ he said.
He said Sir Ekwueme paid his dues and has left his footprints on the sands of time. â€œOn behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I want to express our heartfelt condolence to the family of Dr. Alex Ekwueme on this great and irreparable loss. He was a pride to our country and we will surely miss him,â€ Ambode said.