By Emmanuel Mogbede and Emmanuel Oloniruha
The All Progressives Congress (APC), said death of Dr Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria`s first elected Vice President had taken away a stabilising voice in Nigeria’s politics.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abudulahi, on Monday in Abuja, the party, however, said “the task before us is to keep Ekwueme`s legacies aglow.
“The APC deeply mourns the death of respected elder statesman, political intelligentsia and Nigeria’s former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, at 85.
“Truly, the nation has lost a fine gentleman and a true patriot who demonstrated that politics and integrity are not incompatible.”
It recalled that Ekwueme’s political ideas and interventions greatly and positively shaped the country’s political fabric.
The party recalled that at the 1994-1995 Constitutional Conference, the late statesman suggested a six-zone geo-political structure to create a more equitable system.
“That structure is now in operation in the country today. The late Ekwueme was also undoubtedly one of the strong pillars of democracy in the country.
“Through the G-34 group, he was a key actor that doggedly fought for the country’s return to a democracy during the military dictatorship of late Gen. Sani Abacha,” it said.
It added that while the death of Ekwueme was a sad and painful loss, he lived a long, accomplished and impactful life.
The APC condoled with the family, President Muhammadu Buhari and the people and government of Anambra and Nigeria over the loss.
It also prayed to the Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest and the family the strength to bear the loss.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commiserated with the family and people of Oko and Aguata in Anambra over the death of the former vice president.
It said in a statement by Mr Dayo Adeyeye, its National Caretaker Committee’s Publicity Secretary, in Abuja on Monday, that Ekweume left when he was still needed.
It said that dying at 85, the deceased could be said to have departed at a good old age, but that the party had wished that he lived longer.
According to the party, this wish was to enable us to continue to tap from his wealth of experience, but we take solace in the fact that the Almighty has wished it so.
“He will be greatly remembered for his fatherly role, doggedness, and sacrifices made to berth the fourth Republic and his sacrifice to entrench democracy in Nigeria with other great leaders across the country.”
It said that Ekweume served Nigeria and his immediate communities in many capacities, adding that he made contributions to socio-economic advancement, especially in education through his Education Trust Fund.
“He was the founding chairman of our great party, the PDP, who mobilised patriotic/eminent Nigerians across the country under the Group of 34 (G-34).
“The G-34 fearlessly challenged the military junta of Sani Abacha over his ambition of transforming undemocratically to a civilian,” it recalled.
According to the PDP, the place and role of Ekwueme will be difficult to fill by anyone.
“Our sincere condolences go to his widow, children and other family members, the Government of Anambra and the entire PDP family nationwide.”
He described Ekwueme, who was Vice President to Alhaji Shehu Shagari from 1979 to 1983 as a man of many firsts.
“He is a distinguished architect who established the first indigenous architectural firm in Nigeria.
“He presided over the Institute of Architects, and the Architects Council of Nigeria; he was a lawyer, sociologist, philosopher, historian, and public servant, who was trained in the U.S. and London.
“He held several international and national appointments/awards.”