He’s an example of loyal deputy – Shagari
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President Atiku Abubkar and Namadi Sambo were among various Nigerian Leaders that bade farewell to late Vice President, Alex Ekwueme last night in Abuja.
Others were the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, John Nwodo, former governors, ministers, political associates, friends, political associates.
The gathering was an event put together by the national burial committee in charge of the burial of late Ekwueme.
Recall that the former Vice President died November 19th in a London hospital.
The chair of the committee and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha had hinted that the committee which has its members as Ministers of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, Mallam Lawal Musa Daura, Pastor Ekwueme, the SSG, Anambra State, Prof. Osita Chukwulobelu and the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Dr. Roy Ugo, is the Secretary of the committee, according to a statement signed by Deputy Director (Press) Office Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mohammed Nakorji will pay all the necessary bills.
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo described Ekwueme as an excellent example of loyalty, integrity and commitment.
He further described Ekwueme “as a man who came to render service and did so selflessly.”
Also speaking, former President Shehu Shagari who was represented by his son, Hon. Aminu said Ekwueme was was a man of impeccable character.
He said: “I’m not here no 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 choose 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 remains impeccable. Even in death his achievements cannot be diminished.”
On his part, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said Ekweme put Nigeria first in all that he did.
“He saw himself as a Nigerian first. If we continue in his legacy the future will be very bright for this country. Perhaps if he had become the Senate President we would not have witnessed the series of impeachment that we saw in the National Assembly.”
Also speaking, John Nwodo said that as Vice President to Shagar, Ekwueme never portrayed his boss in bad light.
He said “He never thought of leaving his party, as far as he was concerned, a political party was a platform of building the country.”
The deceased younger brother, His Royal Highness, Las Ekwueme also said that his younger brother was a distinguished Nigerian.
Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige in His tribute said Ekwueme was not “your typical Nigerian politician, he didn’t know how to bribe, was too frank to a fault, you must account for every money he gives you and was not a religious bigot.
His daughter, Adachukwu described her late father as a man with “no airs around him. He was at his best when he had his children, grandchildren and extended family around him.
“I think we took him for granted. We should all try and imbibe those qualities that have been said about him.”
Giving his vote of thanks, his son, Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme said though,he is dead, he lived on in his children.
“Many more Ekwuemes will arise. He was detribalized Nigerian that had respect for human lives, who desire to add value to human life.”
The night of tribute featured a Bible Reading from the book of 1 Corinthians 15:40-57 taken by his daughter Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe.
There were also electronic presentation of Ekwueme’s biography, tribute from his political colleagues and friends – Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala and Prof. John Nwodo among others.
Other dignitaries who graced the event included Audu Ogbe, Ogbonnaya Onu, Oseloka Obaze, Deputy Governor of Nkem Okeke, Prof. A. B. C. Nwosu, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanayawu, Prof. Jerry Gana, Victor Umeh, Udo Udoma, Andy Uba, Hon. Osita Chidoka, Hon. Teejay Yusuf, Bassey Albert, Anyim Pius Anyim, Col. Geoffrey Onyejeagbu, Sam Egwu, Muktar SHAGARI, Godwin Obaseki, Chinwoke Mbadinugu, Simeone Okeke, Primate NICOLAS Okoh, Ifeanyi Uba.