Ekwueme: well-wishers pay tribute
Emotions were high on Tuesday at the Christian Wake and Service of Songs held in honour of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as his contemporaries pay tribute.
The event, organised by the Diocese of Enugu, Anglican Communion also turned out to be a carnival of songs by the choral group of the diocese.
A former Justice of the Appeal Court, Justice Eugene Ubaezuonu urged the family not to allow the memory of the late father to fizzle out.
Ubaezuonu, an associate of the late sage recounted how he nominated Ekwueme to run as vice president with Alhaji Shehu Shagari in the second republic.
“I got to know him during his political days when I was the legal adviser to late Chief Nwafor Orizu who was in turn an aide to former President Shehu Shagari,” he said.
He said that it was the deceased outstanding character that earned him the position as vice president adding that he never disappointed anyone, even those that doubted his abilities.
“Today, Alex as he was better known among his peers is no more on this planet. He has left his marks on the sands of time.
“To the family, take heart. You must allow the memory of your father to blush unseen,” Ubaezuonu said.
Another political associate of the deceased, Chief Sylvester Ugo said that Ekwueme left an indelible mark in the development of the nation.
Ugo, a chieftain of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) said that the late Ekwueme was instrumental to the creation of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
He said that suggestion to create the ministry was made by the deceased when it became necessary to exorcise the ghosts of the military in the second republic.
According to him, the idea behind the creation of the ministry was to create and fund research projects that would underpin development in the country.
He said that the intervention of the late Ekwueme on national issues were outstanding.
“Ekwueme came out of politics poorer than he went in. He showed that politics was not all about personal aggrandizement but service to the people.
“He loved this country so much that he was ready to make personal sacrifices.
“Now he is gone and we have to mourn him but we should not forget his accomplishments,” Ugo said.
Also, the President of the Nigeria Institute of Architects, Mr Adibe Njoku, said that the deceased was one of the founding members of the association.
Njoku said that the late Ekwueme was the second president of the association between 1967 and 1968 and even had someone who acted in his capacity during the Nigerian Civil War.
He described the late Ekwueme as an `accomplished architect’ who established the first indigenous architectural firm in Nigeria.
The president said that the former vice president was until his death, the chairman of the association’s Board of Trustees.
The immediate family of the deceased in their tribute delivered by Mr Obi Ekwueme said they were left with the challenge of replicating the legacies of their father.
He described the deceased as the `father of modern democracy’ in Nigeria who ennobled many through his visionary lifestyle.
Ekwueme said that the 85 years of their late father was full of positive impacts in service to humanity and Nigeria.
“Our father was a man of peace whose legacies will live in our lives for years to come. His night has come and we pray that many Alex Ekwuemes will rise in Nigeria.
“We are left with the challenge to live and replicate what he did,” Ekwueme said.
The commendation service in honour of the deceased continues on Jan. 31 after which the remains will be taken in a motorcade to his hometown, Oko in Anambra for interment on Feb. 2.