By Christiana Ekpa
Senate yesterday, urged the Federal government to immortalize the Former vice president, Alex Ekwueme by naming him after the Federal Polytechnic Oko or other key Federal Institution and assets.
This was sequel to a motion, “The passing on of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON(1932-2017)” raised under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule on matter of urgent national importance by theDeputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West).
Ekweremadu, while leading debate on the motion, said “the late elder statesman was an intellectual giant and consummate professional, who pioneered the business of architecture in modern Nigeria and paid his dues to the social, economic, and political development of Nigeria”.
He noted that the late Ekwueme was a bridge builder, patriot, and pan-Nigerian, who played a major role in the post-war reconciliation process in the country.
According to him, “ As Vice President of Nigeria, Chief Ekwueme led an exemplary life of unassailable probity and unimpeachable integrity, such that even the military tribunal that tried him during his 20-month detention after the 1984 coups, not only discharged and acquitted him, but also empathically stated that Dr. Ekwueme left office poorer than he was when he entered it, and to ask more from him was to set a standard, which even angels could not meet”
He added: “The legend was a fearless soldier of democracy, who, among other efforts, mobilised 34 eminent Nigerians from across the country on the platform of G34 to demand an end to military rule and put pressure on the military to enthrone democracy”.
Ekweremadu said the former vice president was very central to several hallmarks in Nigeria’s political development such as the six geopolitical zones and building one of the Nigeria’s major contemporary political parties, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which eventually governed the country for 16 years.
The deputy senate president therefore submitted that the death of Dr. Ekwueme was “a grave loss toNdi Anambra, the South East, and the entire Nigeria”.
He advised that the life, times, and selfless service of such courageous, cerebral, and incorruptible leader and patriot should be appreciated and projected as a model for the political leaders, youth, the whole nation, and posterity.
Also, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South) said though the deceased hailed from the South East; he was “a single Nigerian” who contributed immensely to Nigeria’s democracy and future of the country.
Na’Allah, who is the Senate Deputy Leader, however, called for the immortalisation of the former vice president in view of his loyalty to former President Shehu Shagari, with a national institution in Sokoto State.
In his own, Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South), stressed the need for the incumbent administration to always honour those who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the country while they are still alive.
The senate president, Bukola Saraki in his remarks, said the late Ekwueme would be missed by all, describing him as a detribalized Nigerian who loved his country greatly.
“He was a great patriot, detribalized and simple person that put Nigeria first.
Ekwueme will be missed by all,” Saraki said.