By Ayo Kehinde
President of the Senate Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and ex- Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives People’s Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar mourn the passing away of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, describing it as a great loss to the nation at this critical phase of its political life.
In a press statement released by his Media Office in Abuja, Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa hailed Dr. Ekwueme as a ‘great man and democrat’, adding that Nigeria’s recent history of democracy and nation-building would be incomplete without his input.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, also lauded the dedication and service of Ekwueme to the development of the country.
He described Ekwueme as a rare personality and an exceptional leader while praying to God for the repose of his soul, and the grace for his family and the nation to bear the loss.
Atiku Abubakar said Dr. Ekwueme’s democratic credentials were of the highest quality saying further that he was always called upon by political leaders in the country notably in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to settle disputes and differences and he never for once was found wanting.
He recalled that at the National Constitutional Conference, 1994-1995, the former Vice President was a star that attracted most other delegates because of his wisdom and moderate position on contentious political issues. Atiku says the late Vice President was always a voice of balance, moderation and consensus.
Atiku remembers how in his wisdom and concerned about the best structure that would give the best governance to the country, the late Ekwueme came up with the six geo- political zone structure, which has found its way into our political vocabulary because of its convenient nature and brilliance.
“We were all expecting to welcome him after a few weeks back to his beloved country, Nigeria in good health, only to be confronted by the sad reality of his transition. We cannot question the will of God but only to extend our solidarity and condolences to all who would miss his wisdom and fatherly presence”, Atiku said.
He enjoined members of the Ekwueme family, the government and people of Anambra State and the government and people of Nigeria to bear with stoicism the passing on of this great and illustrious political leader.
Saraki said: “Today, I join the entire nation to mourn the passing of one of Nigeria’s most illustrious sons, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, our first elected Vice-President. As we mourn his death, we celebrate his dedication and service to the development of our country.
“We remember his unique and exemplary courage in the face of overwhelming odds – when he stood up to past military regimes in the struggle for the restoration of democracy and his dexterity in his personal pursuits as a successful architect, lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.
“Dr. Ekwueme was a rare man and a great leader. He will be sorely missed. I pray for God’s strength for his family at this difficult time. May the Almighty God in his infinite wisdom and grace continue to guide the family and the nation that he has left behind,” he said.