By Lawrence Olaoye, Christiana Ekpa, Umar Muhammad Puma, Johnson John Abuja, Yakubu Mustapha Minna and Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with Nigerians, Government and people of Anambra State, on the passing away of elder statesman and former Vice President, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (GCON), on Sunday.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his Spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari 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 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.
Buhari believed that 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.
Also yesterday, former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida described the death of Former Vice President Alex Ekweme as a big loss to the country at a time the invaluable roles of elder statesmen like him are needed for national cohesion.
A statement from the media office issued yesterday in Minna said that the former president is pained by the loss and received the news with heavy heart but took solace in the exemplary life lived by the former vice president
The Senate Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has also yesterday expressed grief over the demise of the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, also lauded the dedication and service of Ekwueme to the development of the country.
He described Ekwueme as a rare personality and an exceptional leader while praying to God for the repose of his soul, and the grace for his family and the nation to bear the loss.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, described the death of former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme, as a monumental loss not just to Nigeria but the entire African continent.
In a statement personally signed by him, Hon. Dogara, who extolled the virtues of Dr. Ekwueme also stated that the former number two citizen was a distinguished elder statesman, patriot, nationalist and a true son of Africa.
“In times as these, elderly wisdom, experience and guidance of Dr. Ekwueme is needed by leaders at all levels so as to enable us surmount the daunting challenges confronting us as a country and as Africans.”
The South-east Governors Forum and the Igbo socio-political and cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have also mourned the death of Mr. Ekwueme describing it as a great loss to the Igbo nation and the entire country.
The Chairman of the Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, described the death of Mr. Ekwueme as, ”the end of an era.”
Governor Umahi in statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, expressed shock over the death of Mr. Ekwueme. He described the loss as a great one to Ndigbo in particular and Nigeria in general.
Similarly, the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki has commiserated with the Ekwueme family and Nigeria over the death of the country’s first Executive Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, whose death was announced on Sunday night at a London hospital.
Obaseki described the late Ekwueme as a visionary, peace-loving and a creative Nigerian who contributed immensely to the advancement of Nigeria’s democracy.
Former vice president and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives People’s Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar also joined others yesterday in mourning the passing away of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme describing it as a great loss to the nation at this critical phase of its political life.
In a press statement released by his Media Office in Abuja, Atiku Abubakar,the Waziri Adamawa hailed Dr. Ekwueme as a ‘great man and democrat’, adding that Nigeria’s recent history of democracy and nation-building would be incomplete without his input.