ormer president Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday joined eminent Nigerians to mourn the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.
Obasanjo said Ekwueme was a great Nigerian who lived a life of devotion and distinguished service to Nigeria.
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The former president in a statement signed by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, titled ‘Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme: A Tribute’, described the death of the first civilian Vice President of Nigeria as a shock and a huge loss to the country.
The statements read, “In all situations, he lived nobly, and he died in nobility”.
“The late Dr Ekwueme was a selfless, disciplined and patriotic Nigerian who lived a worthy and exemplary life. His demise is a loss to his family who would miss a caring patriarch, the people of Anambra State who would miss a guide and the good people of Nigeria who would miss a leader.
“His irrepressible thirst for knowledge and education, which propelled his foray into many fields of intellectual pursuit and his distinguished role in the development of the architectural profession in Nigeria are shining examples to the younger generation, many of whom have, in fact, benefited from his philanthropy and goodwill.
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“It cannot be gainsaid that, over the years, Dr Ekwueme had shown courage of conviction and integrity in his dealings at the pinnacle of national affairs, notably with his record of sincerity as Vice-President of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during my administration as a democratically-elected President of Nigeria.
“It would not be an exaggeration to state that with his exemplary lifestyle and commitment to noble and worthy causes, he rightly came to be regarded as one of the titans of Nigerian politics and an illustrious elder statesman.
“I had hoped he would continue to play an active role in strengthening democracy in Nigeria as well as lending his voice to the ennobling ideal of national unity; but what can we do? I would only urge that we should accept this circumstance as the unquestionable will of God who gives and takes life according to His will and wish.
“His struggle and our struggles remain the same and as we all seek for answers to deal with today’s challenges.”
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Similarly, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode described the late Ekwueme as a gentleman, a thorough bred scholar, a philanthropist and a politician per excellence.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Habib Aruna, Ambode said Ekwueme left his footprints on the sands of time.
He said, “Dr Ekwueme was a man of many parts. He was a scholar of repute who had so many academic awards to his name.
“Not only did he bag degrees in Philosophy, History, Sociology, Law as well as Architecture and City Planning, he was a successful business man to the core and impacted on the lives of his people positively.
“He was also a detribalised Nigerian who committed to the course of a united, indivisible and prosperous Nigeria.
“ He believed so much in all inclusive governance and was one of those patriotic Nigerians who contributed in laying the foundation of a sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
“His demise, just like that of our heroes past, must never be in vain. There can be no better time to unite together to achieve a better and more prosperous Nigeria.
“On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I want to express our heartfelt condolence to the family of Dr Ekwueme on this great and irreparable loss.
“He was a pride to our country and we will surely miss him.”