By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday at the Presidential Wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja organized a parade in honour of the late Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as he continues his final journey to the mother earth.
Nigerian Police Force who led the parade brought colour and glamour to the solemn event.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said that the late Ekwueme was committed to selfless service to the nation, region, Africa and the world.
He said the nation was reminded of the late elder statesman’s timeless ideals of integrity, loyalty and kindness to all.
Osinbajo expressed hope that the vision Ekwueme had for the nation will not be in vain.
He said, “As we receive the body of the first elected Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, GCON, this morning, we are reminded of his selfless service to the nation, to our region, to Africa and indeed the world. We are reminded of his commitment of the timeless ideals of integrity, of loyalty and kindness to all.
“We thank the almighty God for giving us 85 glorious years of Dr. Alex Ekwueme. When he was asked what his vision was for the county, he said, ‘I will want to see Nigeria be a nation not just a country.’
“Those words tell us how committed he was to the unity of this country and I pray that in death and as we remember him, that this will not only encourage us but also cement the relationship between all of the people and nationalities of this country, so that we become and remain one.
“We thank the almighty God for his family and for all of us who he left behind and we pray that his great wishes for this nation and all that he sacrificed for will not be in vain.”
Other notable personalities present were Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of the Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, representative of Former President, Shehu Shagari, Hon. Aminu Shagari, Senator Andy Uba who represents Ekwueme’s constituency in the Senate among other members of the National Assembly.
Members of the Federal Executive Council present included the ministers of Agriculture, Federal Capital Territory, Labour and Productivity, Education, Budget and National Planning and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha
Also present were representatives of Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and Inspector General of Police, Corp Marshal Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, representatives of Civil Defence, Customs as well as other paramilitary services.
The ceremony which began at 12:19 included inspection of the parade by Vice President Osinbajo; movement of the corpse by pall bearers (Ebony) at 12:26; handing and taking over of corpse by body of Commissioners of Police at 20:30; guard of honour on the corpse 20:31 (rendition of the National Anthem).
Vice President Osinbajo and family representative, Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme, joined the parade train and escorted the corpse to Enugu bound plane at 12:39.
Others dignitaries present included, former Chief of General Staff Ebitu Ukiwe; former governor of Anambra Peter Obi; former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ebele Okeke; FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Bello; AIG Federal Operations, Tayo Lekan; Permanent secretaries, serving and retired and heads of government agencies.