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Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON

CHIEF (Dr.) Alex Ifeanyi- chukwu Ekwueme, the Ide of Aguata, was a great hero, a rare gem and an outstanding politician of high integrity and principles, which is very rare in Nigeria. It hit me hard when I received the shocking notification on the morning of November 20th 2017, that Ide had passed on.

The reality of his passing took some time to sink in, because his evacuation to a London hospital a week earlier, raised our hopes that the worst was over for him. I went to his family home at Enugu on November 8th to see his family, and if possible, visit him in the hospital. That was four days before he was flown to London on Sunday, November 12.

2017 NNOM Award Recipient, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya signing the condolence register in honour of Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme during the investiture cerenmony of winners of the 2017 Nigerian National Order of Merit during at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

I had the privilege of meeting Ide several decades ago, and the relationship blossomed over the years, to that of a loving father and son. As a son, I had been fully supportive of his political aspirations. He was also very supportive of me. When I was arrested and detained for over three weeks without trial by EFCC in 2009, Ide went to the Attorney General and offered to stand bail for me. He took that step even before coming to see me in detention. That showed me the level of the trust he had in me. I am happy that he was alive to know that EFCC later withdrew all the charges without trial.

Meteoric rise of a brilliant star

Even though we are always reminded that death is inevitable, it is always sad to receive the news of the passing of a loved one. As we mourn Ide’s passing, we should reflect on God’s blessings towards him and glorify God for the meteoric rise of a most outstanding brilliant star of our time in this country.

Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme was a multi-talented, cross-cultural personality of enormous intellectual endowment. He was an architect, town planner, attorney-at-law, sociologist, philosopher, politician, educationist and above all, a philanthropist. He was the first Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983.

Ide impacted his community Oko, Anambra State and beyond in profound ways. Today, Oko town towers above the surrounding towns in Aguata and its environs, because of Ide’s foresight in establishing Oko Polytechnic, a general hospital, Modotel Hotel and a brewery.

Ide had strong faith in the unity and bright future of this country. He remained steadfast in PDP – a party he co- founded, no matter the provocations or intrigues against him. He was not the ilk of politician that would hop from one party to the other. He made outstanding contributions during all the conferences he participated in and most of his inputs had, till today, become a reference point of discussion in moving the country forward. He indeed left a legacy and is an icon whose exemplary spirit deserves to be invoked in our lives as a people. For us his disciples/ he has left enduring footprints which would forever secure his prominent place in history.

As we mourn Ide, so shall we also celebrate his life: the life and times of a colossus! We will tell the next generation that here was a leader par excellence, who by his sterling qualities served his country best, and would have done even more, if given the opportunity to serve as President.

We take solace in the fact that God knows why He took Ide now that the country needs detribalized elder statesmen like him. May God comfort his family and all of us who faithfully mourn our departed icon, an astute leader and a rare jewel.

Rest in peace Ide. May the angels light the path that will usher you to meet the Lord in His glory, Amen.


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