Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were parts of those who paid tributes to Nigeria’s Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme.
The death of the Second Republic Vice President was announced on Monday in a statement signed by his younger brother and traditional ruler of the Oko Kingdom, Professor Laz Ekwueme.
In a condolence message posted on his twitter handle, Senator Saraki said: “I join Ndigbo and the entire nation to mourn the passing of one of Nigeria’s most illustrious sons, H.E. 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.
“I will always remember Dr. Alex Ekwueme for his exemplary courage in the face of overwhelming odds — when he stood up to past military regimes, and his dexterity in his personal pursuits as a successful architect, lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.”
On his part, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said he was saddened by the death of Ekweme who he described as “a man of character and never faltered in his belief in Nigeria.”
“Dr Alex and I were part of the 1995 Constitutional Conference, which recommended that Nigeria be restructured along six geo-political zones. We will miss his focused guidance”.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, also described him as a man of peace, saying Nigeria has “lost a principled and brilliant politician, distinguished elder statesman.”
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, in a statement, described Ekwueme as an epitome of a detribalised Nigerian.
“The governor remarked that nine years after the civil war, the rest of Nigerians re-enacted or reinforced their faith and belief in the Igbos as one of the major tripods of the nation through Dr Alex Ekwueme who was elected the Vice President of the nation with Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari as the president,” the statement said.
Similarly, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said the statesman was a committed patriot who served Nigeria at the highest levels with an uncommon sense of patriotism and unwavering dedication.
He said “He was a committed patriot, an astute politician and altruistic Vice President who worked assiduously to better the lots of his people and Nigerians in general.
“Through his purposeful leadership and development strides, the late Ekwueme influenced the establishment of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, which brought about unprecedented development of the Oko Kingdom in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.”
Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson said Nigerians would remember the late Second Republic Vice President as an icon of democracy, who saw and used politics as a tool to serve and not to be served.
“In truth, Ekwueme was a gentleman politician, consummate Democrat, a hero, an icon of democracy who believed in the rule of law and ventured into politics to serve,” he said.