Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Okon Bassey in Uyo
President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State have expressed shock and grief over the death of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, describing him as “a consummate administrator and bridge builder”.
Buhari in a condolence message issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja yesterday, noted that the deceased “dedicated himself to duty in the course of his distinguished public service.”
Buhari said Ekaette was ”a gentleman” who gave “his best in the service of his country”.
He condoled with the Ekaette family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death, and assured them that the deceased would always be remembered for his remarkable public service record and immense contributions towards bringing peace in the once troubled Niger Delta region.
The president expressed regret that “his demise comes at a time when voices like his own are needed to move Nigeria forward in the face of daunting challenges.”
He, however, gave assurance that Ekaette’s contributions would never be in vain as ”the country would always appreciate and remember his great contributions.”
The president prayed God to comfort the Ekaette family, friends and relations and grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.
In his condolence message, Emmanuel acknowledged the contributions of the deceased to the development of the state as a former deputy governor.
The governor in the message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh said the departed elder statesman would be celebrated for his contributions to the development of Akwa Ibom State in particular and Nigeria in general.
“He was a thoroughbred public servant who was transparent, honest and a stickler for excellence, qualities he brought to bear in the execution of the key offices of public trust he held in the course of his illustrious career,” the governor said.
Ekaette was appointed the first Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry on December 17, 2008 by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
He left office in March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.
He was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and had served Akwa Ibom state in many capacities.