Senate, Jonathan, ACF, Ita-Giwa mourn ex-VP Ekwueme


The Senate yesterday adopted a motion urging the Federal Government to immortalise the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, by naming the Federal Polytechnic Oko or other key federal institution or assets after him.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Presidential Adviser Senator Florence Ita-Giwa also mourned the late vice president.

The upper chamber resolved to send a delegation to condole with his family and the government and people of Anambra State.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Ekweremadu, in his lead debate, prayed the Senate to note with a deep sense of loss the passing on of the former vice president.

He noted that 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.

Ekweremadu noted that late Ekwueme was a bridge builder, patriot, and pan-Nigerian, who played a major role in the post-war reconciliation process in Nigeria.

Other senators who contributed to the debate, including Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe, James Manager, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, paid glowing tribute to Ekwueme, who died Monday night in a London hospital.

The Senate also observed a minute’s silence in honour of late vice president.

Jonathan, in a letter of condolence to the Ekwueme family and the government and people of Anambra State, described the late statesman’s exit as an irreparable loss.

A statement by the ex-President’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, described Ekwueme as an intellectual giant and democrat, who took a principled stand against military rule.

He said: “Ekwueme was a well-loved statesman, who played politics of inclusion and made useful contributions in charting a course for Nigeria’s geopolitical stability. A totem of courage and patriotism, the Second Republic Vice President’s role in deepening the roots of democratic rule was evident in his selfless and principled stand against military rule.

“He was an intellectual giant, whose prowess in learning was as deep and profound as the love he had for his people and nation. His commitment to educational excellence is a trait we should encourage Nigerians to imbibe.”

ACF said the former Vice President was one of the Nigeria’s finest politicians and bridge-builder.

The forum, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, said: “The late Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the Vice President to former President Shehu Shagari during the Second Republic and a great politician, who left an indelible mark in the political history of Nigeria. The late elder statesman was a qualified architect of repute, a man of great vision and intellect who was a strong pillar that continues to support the unity and stability of Nigeria.

“We recalled that in October 2012, when a high powered delegation of the ACF paid a visit to the Southeast on the invitation of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the late elder statesman came personally to receive the ACF delegation and also led the Ndigbo team to the meeting with the forum.”

Senator Ita-Giwa described the late Ekwueme as a pillar of democracy.

The foremost leader of the Bakassi people from Cross River State, in a message to The Nation in Calabar yesterday, commiserated with the Ekwueme family and Nigerians over his death.

“Dr. Ekwueme was a man that I had a lot of respect and admiration for. He was a pillar of democracy in the country and played a tremendous role to ensure it was sustained in the country… He will be greatly missed by the country,” Ita-Giwa said.