President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday mourned the death of elder statesman and former Vice President, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme.
He said Dr Ekwueme’s unwavering commitment to the unity of Nigeria had been a major encouragement to many governments.
The President, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, described the 85-year-old who died on Sunday in a London hospital as one whose regular counsels on national issues and mediations for peaceful co-existence would be sorely missed.
He condoled with Nigerians, the government and people of Anambra State, the entire Oko Kingdom, the Aguata Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Ekwueme family, over the loss of the family’s patriarch.
President Buhari recalled the personal sacrifices he made in helping to lay the foundation for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.
He said the former Vice President worked assiduously to improve the livelihood of many poor and underprivileged people through the Alex Ekwueme Foundation, describing him as a man who served his country and humanity.
The President prayed that the Almighty God would receive the soul of the departed, and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
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.
“The Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON,” the statement read.
“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday, 19th November 2017.”
The late former Vice-president was flown to London for medical treatment after he was reported to have suffered a chest infection which left him in a coma in a hospital for two weeks.
Born October 21, 1932, Ekwueme started his career as an architect after earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and city planning, as an awardee of the Fulbright Scholarship, from the University of Washington in the United States.
Over the years, he has played several roles domestically and internationally, cementing his status as a statesman.
Until his death, he was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects; a member of the Board of Directors of Canada-based Forum of Federations; and a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders, among several other positions.