A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has described the death of a former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a a huge loss to the political and professional establishments of Nigeria.
In his message of condolence issued yesterday, Anyaoku stated that in Ekwuemeâ€™s truly outstanding public service to the country, the former vice president represented â€œthe highest level professionalism as a renowned architect, and cerebral political leadership as vice president and great contributor to national public political discourse.â€
â€œHis unforgettable legacies include not only the many public institutions that he designed as an architect, but more importantly, the adoption of the six geopolitical zones which he conceived and introduced into the countryâ€™s political lexicon and his seminal role in Nigeriaâ€™s return to democracy in 1999 as leader of the G34 group.
My family joins the Ekwueme family in mourning the passing of this indisputably illustrious son of our country.â€
Also, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, described the death of EKwueme as a great loss of a fine gentleman and politician.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, Anenih described Ekwueme, who was the foundation chairman of the PDP BoT, as a nationalist, saying the former vice president played politics without bitterness.
According to him, with the death of Ekwueme, the tribe of principled politicians has been further depleted.
He added: â€œNigeria has lost a nationalist, a detribalised politician and one who was not given to impropriety in the conduct of government business.
â€œEkwueme will sorely be missed by a vast majority of Nigerians who had the privilege of his leadership, political association and interactions.
â€œThe PDP where both of us played leading roles will remember him for his sterling contributions to its birth and development.
â€œWhile I pray that the Almighty God would grant his soul eternal repose, it is my earnest wish that his family would be strong in this moment of grief to be able to bear this great loss.â€
George: His Death is National Loss
Former National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of the leading national chairmanship aspirant of the party, Chief Bode George, has described the death of former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as a national loss.
George, in a statement signed personally by him, described Ekwueme as an outstanding statesman who lived to see Nigeria develop.
â€œThe sudden passage of Dr. Alex Ekweme is indeed a very painful national loss. The former vice president was genuine patriot, an outstanding statesman whose total fixity was predicated on the growth and the development of the Nigerian State.
â€œHe was a gentleman, a thoroughbred , civil, humble but yet radiated a powerful intellect and a scholarly presence, stripped of arrogance,â€ he said.
George said further: â€œHis death is the end of an era, a sad departure of one of the very significant symbol of those who dedicated their lives and to the service of our nation.â€
His Death is a Great Loss to the Nation, Says Gani Adams
The Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate of Yoruba land, Mr. Gani Adams, has described the death of former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a great loss to the nation.
In a condolence message sent to THISDAY by his Director of Media and Communications, Femi Adepoju, Adams said the wisdom of the late nationalist is needed at this time that the country is in dire need of political direction to continue to exist as a unified nation.
He added that even though â€œ We owe God the gratitude for giving the late Ekwueme long life, yet, it is unfortunate that he was called to the other side at this time that our nation is in dire need of political direction which the wisdom of the late elder statesman could provide, to make our country survive the challenge presently threatening her survival as a nation.â€
Praying God to give the nation, the immediate and political families of the late politician the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, the Adams said he believes the sincerity of the nationalist for a great Nigeria while alive would make his spirit to continue to give the nation the necessary direction to continue to make it survive as a nation where justice and equality shall be the watchword.
Ibori: He Was the Stabilising Factor in Nigeriaâ€™s Politics
Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, has described the death of Dr. Alex Ekwueme as most shocking.
He said: â€œThough His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, was a great leader, a national father-figure, a stabilising factor in Nigerian politics, I Chief James Onanefe Ibori can never stop asking â€˜what ifâ€™!
In a statement signed by his Media Assitant, Tony Eluemunor, Ibori said: â€œIt is ironic that the nation that betrayed this manâ€™s effort to rescue it from political and economic morass will, now that he is dead, begin to shed crocodile tears. Even those who betrayed the very effort to make Ekwueme President, may begin to, hypocritically of course, bewail the fact that Ekwueme or the Igboman or woman, never ruled Nigeria.
Ekwueme was an extraordinary polyvalent scholar who earned multiple degrees in architecture, urban planning, sociology, history, philosophy and law from several universities. He was a gifted architect whose professional legacies dot various Nigerian cities. In politics, he was both gentlemanly and fatherly, introducing mildness even when the others had embraced roughness and irascibility.
If only we had allowed Ekwueme to rule Nigeria, what example would he have set? Now, we will never knowâ€¦and Nigeria is the ultimate loser. Ekwueme has lived a full life; he has given a radiant account of himself and we all agree he was outstanding.
May the Almighty God grant his gentle soul eternal rest and pour His consolation upon his family.â€
Nigeria Has Lost a Rare Gem, Says Kalu
Former Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Kalu, has described the demise of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a huge loss to the nation.
While extolling the virtues of the late elder statesman, Kalu acknowledged the contributions of Ekwueme to the socio-political development of Nigeria. According to him, the former vice president was a silent but great achiever in all facets of life.
In a statement issued yesterday and signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu said: â€œThe news of the passing of Ekwueme is devastating. â€œThe former vice president died at a time the country needed his wise counsel on national issues. â€œHe was a man of exceptional qualities. â€œHe championed the cause of a fair society in all his endeavours.
â€œEkwueme was a shining light beyond the political circle.
â€œHe will be remembered for promoting peaceful co-existence and unity in Nigeria. â€œWe have lost a pan African.â€
The former governor urged the deceasedâ€™s family to be comforted by the good legacies their patriarch left behind, adding that Ekwuemeâ€™s name will remain unforgettable in the annals of Nigeriaâ€™s democracy.
Kalu, who commiserated with the government and people of Anambra State, called on the Ekwueme family to sustain the ideals of the deceased.
The former governor prayed God to grant Ekwueme eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear the painful loss.
Late VPâ€™s Town in Mournful Mood as Ezeemo Describes Him as Pride of Nigeria
Oko, the town of the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, yesterday wore a mournful look over the news of his demise.
THISDAY noticed that natives were discussing his death among themselves in the town highlighting the contributions of the late former vice president to the town.
THISDAY who first visited Ekwuemeâ€™s country home along the Federal Polytechnic Oko road, an institution he singlehandedly attracted to the community noticed that the compound was under lock and keys, with only security guards at the gate.
Ekwueme, until his death, lived in retirement in Enugu, Enugu State, from where he came home to attend functions or host guests occasionally.
THISDAY proceeded to the compound of the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, who incidentally is the younger brother of the demised politician, but was confronted by some sympathizers, who were in the compound to commiserate with the monarch.
Though the monarch was said to be indisposed and unwilling to entertain guests, few family members, including the wife of the deceased eldest brother and former traditional ruler of the community, Igwe J. A. Ekwueme, Lady Edith Ekwueme; her daughter, Dr. Ada Ekwueme-Onuora, and Mr. Mike Ekwueme, were at hand to receive the visitors that came to condole the family.
They however refused to speak about late Ekwueme, insisting that only the monarch, who is now the eldest of the Ekwueme family, could speak on the late vice president.
But an indigene of the community who identified himself as Chukwuma spoke to THISDAY, lamenting the demise of Ekwueme, and stressed that he was the eye of the community, who had brought development to it.
He said: â€œEkwueme is our father; he brought light to this community by building this federal polytechnic. With this school, we have been engaged in financial activities, we do our business here and make money. We loved him and his death is a big blow to us.â€
Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, who is also from Aguata Local Government Area where Ekwueme hails from, expressed sadness at the news of Ekwuemeâ€™s demise, referring to him as â€œthe pride of Aguata.â€
Condoling with the Ekwuemeâ€™s family in a statement, Ezeemo, chairman of a conglomerate and one of the front line governorship candidates in the just concluded Anambra State governorship election, revealed that late Ekwuemeâ€™s legacy as a community developer, who inspired him in no small way.
â€œThe death of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the pride of Aguata, has left a hole in the socio-political atmosphere of Old Aguata where we both come from. His â€˜Akulue-unoâ€™ principle and exemplary life; deep sense of patriotism; philanthropy and excellence in service will continue to serve as a reference point for us,â€ Ezeemo said.