…His death, exit of unrivalled colossus—Ngige
…An Iroko has fallen, Says UPP
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the National Chairman of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie have expressed their grief over the death of the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
President Buhari in his condolence message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina commiserated with Nigerians, the Government and people of Anambra State, on the passing away of elder statesman.
He commiserated with the entire Oko Kingdom, the Aguata Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Ekwueme family, over the loss of the family’s patriarch, whose regular counsels on national issues and mediations for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.
The President affirmed that Dr Ekwueme’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria had been a major encouragement to many governments, recalling the personal sacrifices he made in helping to lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
President Buhari believed Dr. Ekwueme worked assiduously to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people through the Alex Ekwueme Foundation, describing him as a man who served his country and humanity.
The President prayed that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the former Vice President, and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
In his massage, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige described the death of Dr. Ekwueme as an exit of an unrivalled colossus at a time Nigeria was in dire need of his wisdom, knowledge, discipline, courage and patriotism.
He said, “I received with great jolt, sadness and deep sense of loss, the news of the exit of my political boss, friend and teacher. I was jolted by this sad news because even as I learnt that Ide had slipped into coma some days ago, I kept praying for him and hoping against hope that he would return to us from the land of coma,” Ngige said in a condolence personally signed by him.
“For Ide, the curtain has been drawn. He ran his race here on earth starting as a provincial boy who came to Kings College Lagos, dazzled everybody with his brilliance, soaring in his School Certificate and proceeded to acquire strings of academic degrees across disciplines, the record of which is yet to be beaten by any Nigerian. Ekwueme epitomized brain and handsomeness. He was highly industrious, a big silent philanthropist especially in education.
“With the passing on of Ide Aguata, the curtain has fallen on a glorious chapter in the history of Nigeria. With the death of Dr. Ekwueme, Nigeria has been assailed by a huge gap that will be difficult to fill. With the passing away of Ide, the sky-high iroko, where then shall the birds of great flight take to? In the contemporary, Nigeria has lost her best in all ramifications- politics, professionalism in disciplines such as Architecture, Law and Business. In the contemporary world of politics, business, Nigeria has lost one of her greatest.
“In an age of narrowness, how will Nigeria find a perfect replacement for Ekwueme, the epitome of learning? Whose deeper thought, whose insight will spring solutions to extant national problems like Ekwueme did when he proposed the six-geo political zones and other constitutional issues taken in the 1994 constitutional conference? In an age where uprightness has taken flight, who can replace Ekwueme’s conduct in public office? Which African can leave office as Vice President, poorer than when he entered office? In an age of bread and butter politics, who can replace Ekwueme’s urbane consistency?
“Democracy is surely in danger without statesmen and democrats with incorruptible conscience, such that Ekwueme represented.
“Am personally in deep grief. We have lost a father, a mentor, a leader whose briefcase some of us the contemporary leaders of the South East, Viz Prof. A.B.C Nwosu, Dr. Okey Udeh, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Dr. Okwy Nwodo, struggled to carry in 1998 during the formative years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Professor Jerry Gana’s house.
“Ide was a man whose wisdom, I, like many others depended at the outset of this 4th republic. I mourn a man whose shining examples have largely shaped my thought and belief in politics as service to the people. We shall pick the gauntlet and march on to preserve the legacy Ekwueme bequeathed to Nigeria. We can’t afford to renege.
“Our leader is gone but his indelible footprint is in the political and professional firmament of Nigeria and shall suffer no erasure.”
The National Chairman of the United Progressive Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie said the leaders and members of the party received with
sadness the news of the transition to glory of Dr. Ekwueme, in London.
Okorie described the late Ekwueme as an embodiment of patriotism, a foremost statesman, detribalized Nigerian and ardent democrat who dedicated his life in service to God and humanity.
According to him, “He was a man of integrity, dignity and honour who contributed in laying the foundation of the current political process in 1998 and was a presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party and its pioneer Board of Trustees Chairman.
“His demise is a national tragedy. Nigeria has lost a man of
conscience, a voice of the voiceless, a wise-man from the East of the
“Our thoughts and prayers are with members of his family, the
Government and people of Anambra State, his political associates and
pray that God Almighty will comfort and console all those affected by
Okorie said the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme would be remembered as the loyal Vice President to President Shehu Shagari from 1st October 1979 to 31st December 1983. The nation would miss his wise counsel in the quest at building a strong, virile, progressive and egalitarian society.”