By Olisemeka Sony & Jude Chinedu
The Senate has unanimously adopted a motion urging Federal Government to immortalize late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, by naming the Federal Polytechnic Oko or other key federal institution or assets after him. The upper chamber also resolved to send a high-powered delegation of Senators to condole with his family, government and people of Anambra State over the demise of the elder statesman.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the passing on of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanychukwu Ekwueme, GCON (1932-2017, 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 of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON (October 21, 1932 – November 19, 2017). 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 recalled that late Dr. Alex Ekwueme was a bridge builder, patriot, and pan-Nigerian, who played a major role in the post-war reconciliation process in Nigeria. He said that as Vice President of Nigeria, “Chief Ekwueme led 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.”
Ekweremadu said that he is aware that “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.”
The Deputy Senate President further recalled that Ekwueme 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 this country for 16 years.”
The death of Dr. Ekwueme, he lamented, “is therefore, a grave loss to Ndi Anambra, the South East, and the entire Nigeria.” He said 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.”
Other senators who contributed to the debate including Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe, James Manager, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, paid glowing tribute to Ekwueme who died on Sunday night in a London hospital. Apart from seeking his immortalization and sending a delegation of the Senate to commiserate with his family, the Senate also observed a minute’s silence in honour of late Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the South-East yesterday said that the death of a former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, had created a vacuum in the leadership of the geo-political zone.
A statement issued and jointly signed by Chief Emma Eneukwu and Chief Hycienth Ngwu, National Vice Chairman (South East) and the Zonal Publicity Secretary (South East) respectively said the news of the death was a devastating shock.
The statement said that Pa Ekwueme was an epitome of humility, selflessness and patriotism. “He taught us and practically lived a life that the unity of our dear country, Nigeria, is paramount and immutable, and that politics is better played in the mainstream than in the peripheral. He was a perfect gentleman and leader per excellence.
“His passage to a higher glory will definitely create a big vacuum in leadership in the South East that will not be easy to fill. As we commiserate with our brothers and sisters from the South East and the good people of Oko community in Anambra State in particular, our thoughts shall remain with all lovers of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, who are the direct heirs of Pa Alex Ekwueme’s political legacies,’’ they said.