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Friday, 2 February 2018

Mixed Reactions Trail Ibori, Other South East Govs Roles In Ekwueme’s Presidential Bid

Mixed Reactions Trail Ibori, Other South East Govs Roles In Ekwueme’s Presidential Bid

Alex Ekwueme

Some Nigerians on Friday expressed mixed reactions over the roles played a former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, and other South East Governors in the failed attempt by late Dr. Alex Ekwueme to become the president of the Nigeria.

They expressed their views on a Facebook post by a user, Arinze Tony Chukwudebelu, who expressed his delight over sighting Ibori at the commendation service of late Ekwueme.

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It will be recalled that Ekwueme, who is Nigeria’s former Vice President, was laid to rest on Friday at his hometown, Oko in Anambra state after a week-long burial rites.

The post, which was published on Wednesday, had over 47 shares, 145 likes and mixed reactions from users when our correspondent visited at 07:30pm on Friday.
In the post, Chukwudebelu gave a brief narration of how Ibori supported late Ekwueme, adding that his presence at the commendation service was significant.


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He wrote: “He is one of the few men on that podium that stood by EKWUEME in 2003. That was the beginning of his problems that culminated in his going to jail.

“Most of these men wearing EKWUEME branded clothes betrayed him both in Jos and Abuja, but they are all praising him in death.

“Even the Igbere man that led the campaign for Igbo Presidency then, was the first to cast his vote at the convention, it’s an established fact that he voted against it. The likes of Ibori, Alamesigha and Co voted for an EKWUEME’s presidency. They all paid various prices for it. No Southeast governor did.

“I felt happy seeing Chief James Ibori attend the ceremony. It is very significant that he is a free man at this time. He is a TRUE friend of EKWUEME.”

While mourning Ekwueme earlier, Ibori described him as a great leader, a national father-figure and a stabilising factor in Nigerian politics.

Ibori , in a statement signed by his Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, 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 tears. 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.”

At Ekwueme’s commendation service which held on Wednesday, top government officials, close friends and family members eulogised the 85-year-old elder statesmen who died in November 2017.

Amongst others who attended the commendation service in Awka were, Maj. Gen. Ike Nwachukwu(retd.); widow of the late first  President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Prof.  Uche; a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; a former Health minister, Tim Menakaya; and former governors of Anambra State,  Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, and Dame Virgy Etiaba.

Others were ex-governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido; Senator Ndi Obi, Dr. Alex Otti, Godwin Ezeemo, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and Dr. Dozie Ikedife.

The former Vice President whose remains returned to Nigeria on Monday, died at a hospital in London United Kingdom on November 19, 2017, following a respiratory illness.

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.

He later obtained a master’s degree in urban planning and also earned degrees in sociology, history, philosophy and law from the University of London.

Furthering his education, he obtained a PhD in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde, before gaining the BL (honours) degree from the Nigerian Law School.

In 1979, Ekwueme became Nigeria’s first Vice President, serving as deputy to Shehu Shagari, until 1983 when they were ousted in a coup.

Over the years, he played several roles domestically and internationally, cementing his status as a statesman.

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