By Lawrence Olaoye
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday paid a condolence visit to the Abuja residence of the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, where he condoled with his widow, Beatrice, and children: Mr. Obi Ekwueme, Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe and Mr. Ogo Ekwueme.
Accompanied by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Osinbajo arrived at the late Ekwueme’s house at about 11.20am, and stayed with the family for about 30 minutes.
Speaking to journalists after the visit, Osinbajo said the late Ekwueme “stood out as someone who was detribalized and understood that we are greater together than apart”.
According to him, the most important thing about the late former vice president was that he stood for unity of Nigeria and for the common purpose of a people who can really work together despite tribe of ethnicity.
Osinbajo recalled the late Ekwueme’s role as the leader of the G-34 that confronted the military regime of the late General Sani Abacha, who was in power from 1993 to 1998.
He said: “For someone who had no arms, had nothing, he was just a leader who stood out when everyone else seemed to be afraid of speaking up. I think, for me, that was one of the most poignant memories because really we owe a duty to our society to continue to
empower ourselves and empower all others to ensure that it is better.”
Osinbajo said the late former vice president showed his readiness to make the ultimate sacrifice for Nigeria by the action he took then leading the group that confronted the military at that “very dangerous time.”
“So I think that today we celebrate that; we celebrate his very exemplary life, a thoroughly cerebral leader; I don’t know how many degrees he had but also a kind and gentle man,” he said.
The late Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme was igeria’s vice president from 1979 and 1983 when Alhaji Shehu Shagari was the president. He died on Sunday, November 19 in a London Hospital at the age of 85.