Tribute – Exit of a Political Titan by Okafor, SAN

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Dr. Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON
Dr. Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON
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Exit of a Political Titan: Adieu Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme – Okafor, SAN

Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s time and fight for a united Nigeria is over. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen!

Dr. Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON
Dr. Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON

Dr. Ekwueme was one true symbol of Nigeria’s unity – a detribalized, great Nigerian, who contributed in no small measure to keeping this country more united, a feat which was rubbished by some latter-day leaders whose only watchwords are ethnic jingoism, religious bigotry, sectionalism, divisiveness, etc.

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We now know that you have just departed to another life, leaving behind the fight for a united front.

“We will remember you at every moment as you were an exceptional person. However, we say farewell, knowing you will take care of our paths here on earth.”

Ekwueme must have died partially of pains arising from seeing all the benefits he and his compatriots had recorded in truly uniting Nigeria erased by certain people and groups, including some so-called ‘leaders’, who do not believe in one and any Nigeria.

He was an architect, a lawyer, a politician and an elder statesman.

Cutting their Anniversary cake
Dr. Ekwueme, Gov. Lalong, JS Okutekpa, Arthur Obi Okafor, Dr. Ajogu, Paul Ananaba, Supo Ati-John and others cutting their 25th Anniversary cake, at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos in 2016

He was actively involved in the socio-economic development of his community. In addition to his many public service roles within his community, Dr. Ekwueme has an active Educational Trust Fund that has been responsible for sponsoring the education of several hundred youths to universities in Nigeria and abroad.

On the national front, Dr. Ekwueme participated in the Nigeria National Constitutional Conference in Abuja, where he served on the Committee on the Structure and Framework of the Constitution.

His famous proposals at the NCC for a just and equitable power sharing in Nigeria based on the six geopolitical zones have now come to be accepted as necessary for maintaining a stable Nigerian polity.

Dr. Ekwueme mobilized the group of 34 eminent Nigerians who risked their lives to stand up against the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha during the era of military rule in Nigeria.

Dr. Ekwueme, during the reunion of Class of '91 of the Nigerian Law School
From left: Mrs. Ekwueme, Dr. Alexander Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong during the Silver Jubilee Avviversary of the Class of 1991 of the Nigerian Law School, at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos in 2016

He was the founding Chairman of the ruling party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and was the first Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of Canada-based Forum of Federations. He is also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders.

Dr. Ekwueme was leader of the team assembled by the National Democratic Institute for pre-election monitoring for the parliamentary election in Zimbabwe in 2000.

He was the leader of the Organisation of Africa Unity observer team to the Tanzanian Presidential and Parliamentary election in 2000.

Dr. Ekwueme co-led the 28 member NDI/Carter Centre sponsored Observer Team to the Liberian Presidential run-off election in 2005.

Most recently, Dr. Ekwueme was called upon by the ruling party in Nigeria to head the Reconciliation Committee in the wake of intra-party discord after the recent presidential election.

He was honoured with the Order of the Republic of Guinea and Nigeria, second highest national honours of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.

Dr. Ekwueme is a prolific philanthropist, public servant and a man of peace.

Dr. Ekwueme, during the reunion of Class of '91 of the Nigerian Law School
Dr. Ekwueme and Gov. Lalong surrounded by students of the Nigerian Law School during the Silver Jubilee Anniversary of the Class of 1991 Set of the Nigerian Law School, at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos in 2016

Most young lawyers do not know that he read law in his mid-fifties and was of the Class of ’91 of the Nigerian Law School. He was the Principal Partner at EKWUEME, EKWUEME & EKWUEME Solicitors, Lagos — Nigeria.

“You always stood out of all people by your cute character and your big heart, those of us who got to know you were very lucky for having crossed paths with you. We your children will continue to pursue your unfulfilled dreams; we will not rest nor relent, not until true unity and oneness take the place of tribalism, and sectionalism in our nation – Nigeria.

Au revoir, Dr. of Unity and Peace. May you find ‘Rest in the bosom of the Lord’

By: Arthur Obi-Okafor, SAN.

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