GOVERNORS of the South-East on Wednesday extolled the virtues of the late former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, at an inter-denominational service held in his honour in Enugu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the service, held at Okpara Square, was part of events leading to the interment of the deceased.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia described Ekwueme as a brilliant scholar and astute professional.
Ikpeazu said that the commitment of the late former vice president to the unity of the country was unwavering.
“We have come with heavy hearts to pay our last respects to our leader. We shall remember him for his doggedness and fight to unify `Ndi Igbo’ and the country.
“These virtues that are righteous and sterling, we will copy, and the ones he did not do, we will accomplish,” Ikpeazu said.
Also, Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra described the late Ekwueme as a man who came before his time and ahead of his peers.
Obiano, represented by his Deputy, Chief Nkem Okeke, said that the deceased was a man of integrity and honour, who played politics of inclusion.
“If we can take one attribute of his life, then the country will be better for it,” Obiano said.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, said that the late Ekwueme was a rallying point for Ndi Igbo.
Umahi described his death as a great loss, adding that his wisdom would be missed at this point in the history of the country.
“Ekwueme is a man of great character who left many legacies. We pray that the peace of God reigns in his family.”
Umahi said that the deceased was being sorely missed by management and students of Ebonyi State University, where, until his death, he was the Chancellor.
Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, in his tribute, said that the deceased represented the character of a patriot.
Represented by Mr Eze Madumere, his Deputy, Okorocha said that the deceased sacrificed so much in politics and gained little.
“He did all those so that Nigeria may work. He conquered in all endeavours that Nigeria might be united and respected in the comity of nations,.”
Okorocha said that the former vice president lived a selfless life of emulation, adding that they were happy to have been associated with him.
Also, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, in his tribute, described the late octogenarian as a man of immeasurable honour, humble and unassuming.
Ugwuanyi said that the legacies of the deceased would remain a beacon of hope to them.
NAN further reports that the late Ekwueme who was the first elected vice president of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983, died on Nov. 19 in a London hospital after a brief illness.
His remains were driven in a motorcade after the commendation service to Anambra for the continuation of the burial rites.
Prominent among dignitaries who attended the event were former Vice President Atiku Abubarkar, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, who represented former President Shehu Shagari.
Others were the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.
The roll-call included Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, a former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of Federation, and a former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.
Also present were former governors of Delta and Anambra, Chief James Ibori and Mr Peter Obi as well as Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, among others. – NAN
– Jan. 31, 2018 @ 17:28 GMT