The South-East Governors’ forum on Monday, joined millions of Nigerians to mourn the death of former Nigeria’s Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi and Chairman of the forum described Ekwueme’s death as the end of an era, in a statement in Abakalilki.
The elder statesman died at a London clinic at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, according to his brother, Igwe Laz Ekwueme.
Ekwueme, who turned 85 years in October, was reported to have collapsed in his residence in Enugu a few weeks ago.
He was immediately taken to Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital in Enugu from where he was moved to London for further medical attention on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ekwueme was the Vice President to Alhaji Shehu Shagari between 1979 and 1984.
According to the forum, the death is a rude shock and a great loss to Ndigbo in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
“I commiserate with the Anambra Government and the entire Ekwueme family of Uga in Orumba North Local Government Area of the state over the loss,” the chairman said.
He prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest in His bosom.
“The death of our father and leader is devastating, especially within this period that his advice is needed most.
“He was a great Nigerian who believed in the unity of the country and we have learnt a lot from his deep political sagacity, as his children.
“We have lost a gem, gentleman, decent politician and academia as the South-East through, its governors, would soon map programmes to pay its last respect to the fallen iroko tree.”
Also, the Nigerian community in South Africa said the passing away of Ekwueme, is a big loss to the nation.
The President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr. Adetola Olubajo said that Nigerians in that country received the news with shock and described the former Nigeria’s vice president as a politician with exceptional policies.
Olubajo said the likes of Ekwueme are rarely seen among “the political gladiators in our present-day politics.
“He was upright, cerebral, courageous and loyal to the country while he was serving in various public offices. His wealth of experience and contributions to the political landscape in Nigeria will be greatly missed. In 1995, he proposed the six geopolitical zones, which Nigerians now use for decision making on national issues, Olubajo said.
According to him, as first executive vice president of Nigeria, it is a public knowledge that Ekwueme left office poorer than he was when he entered it.
“This cannot be said of Nigerian politicians anymore,” he said.
Olubajo said that Nigerians in South Africa commiserate with his family, friends, and associates.
He said: “We love him, but God loves him more. Adieu father of the nation, and elder statesman per excellent and true nationalist.