FORMER Delta State
governor, Chief James Ibori
has said Nigerians were
“shedding crocodile tears”
over the death of former Vice
President Alex Ekwueme.
This is even as the Senate
yesterday called on the federal
government to immortalise
Ekwueme by naming the
Federal Polytechnic, Oko, or
other key federal institution
or assets after him.
The Senate cited the late
vice president’s contributions
to the social, economic and
political development of
Nigeria during his lifetime.
This was sequel to a motion
on ‘The Passing on of Former
Vice President, Dr. Alex
Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON (1932-2017),’ raised
under Order 43 of the
Senate Standing Rule on
matter of urgent national
importance by the deputy
Senate president, Sen. Ike
Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu
However, Ibori said this
in a statement by signed
his spokesman, Tony
Eluemunor, that the country
refused to allow Ekwueme
rescue it.
“Though His Excellency,
Dr. Alex Ekwueme, GCON,
was a great leader, a national
father-figure, a stabilising
factor in Nigerian politics, I,
Chief James Onanefe Ibori,
can never stop asking ‘what
if!’” Ibori said.
“It is ironic that the nation
that betrayed this man’s
effort to rescue it from
political and economic
morass will, now that he is
dead, begin to shed crocodile
“Even those who betrayed
the very effort to make
Ekwueme President, may
begin to, hypocritically; of
course, bewail the fact that
Ekwueme or the Igboman or
woman, never ruled Nigeria.
“Ekwueme was an
extraordinary polyvalent
scholar who earned multiple
degrees in Architecture,
urban planning, sociology,
history, philosophy and law
from several universities. He
was a gifted architect whose
professional legacies dot
various Nigerian cities.
“In politics, he was both
gentlemanly and fatherly,
introducing mildness
even when the others had
embraced roughness and
irascibility. If only we had
allowed Ekwueme to rule
Nigeria, what example would
he have set? Now, we will
never know…and Nigeria is
the ultimate loser.
“Ekwueme has lived a full
life; he has given a radiant
account of himself and we
all agree he was outstanding.
May the Almighty God grant
his gentle soul eternal rest
and pour His consolation
upon his family.”
But Ekweremadu, while
leading debate on the motion,
said “the late elder statesman
was an intellectual giant and
consummate professional,
who pioneered the business
of architecture in modern
Nigeria and paid his dues
to the social, economic, and
political development of
According to him, “as Vice
President of Nigeria, Chief
Ekwueme led an exemplary
life of unassailable probity
and unimpeachable integrity,
such that even the military
tribunal that tried him during
his 20-month detention after
the 1984 coups, not only
discharged and acquitted
him, but also empathically
stated that Dr. Ekwueme
left office poorer than he
was when he entered it,
and to ask more from him
was to set a standard,
which even angels could
not meet.”
Contributing, Senator
Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP
Abia South) said the
fondest memory of the
late Ekwueme was that he
remained the only former
vice president that left
office and still became
Also, Senator Bala Ibn
Na’Allah (APC Kebbi
South) said though the
deceased hailed from the
South East; he was “a single
Nigerian” who contributed
immensely to Nigeria’s
democracy and future of
the country.
On his own, Senator
James Manager (PDP
Delta South), stressed the
need for the incumbent
administration to always
honour those who have
contributed immensely
to the growth and
development of the country
while they are still alive.
The senate president,
Dr. Bukola Saraki in his
final remarks, said the late
Ekwueme would be missed
by all, describing him as a
detribalised Nigerian who
loved his country greatly.

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