Raphael Ede, Enugu
It was a day of grief and sorrow for the South-East governors and the entire people of the region, on Monday, as the remains of the late Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, arrived at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for onward journey home.
Dr. Ekwueme who died on November 19, last year in a London clinic, would be buried in his country home at Oko, Anambra State, on February 2.
The body of the late former vice president was flown from Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, in a Nigeria Air Force plane marked NAF 918, which landed at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu at 2:08p.m.
Ekwueme remains, on arrival was received by the South-East Governors’ Forum, led by its Chairman and the governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, accompanied by Governors Willie Obiano(Anambra State), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State), Rochas Okorocha (Imo State) while the Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was absent.
The late Ekwueme’s brother and the traditional ruler of Oko, Igwe Laz Ekwueme led his wives and children to the airport reception.
Other Igbo dignitaries who came to the airport to pay their last respect to the late vice president included: President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo; the National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chikwas Okorie; the Anglican Bishop of Enugu, His Grace, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma; Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Ogbonnia Nwaifuru, who led all the members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to the airport; the Secretary to the State Government of Ebonyi State, Prof. Bernard Odeh, who also led the Ebonyi State executives; chairmen of Ebonyi and Enugu State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Onyekachi Nwaebonyi and Hon. Augustine Nnamani; and Secretary to the State Government of Enugu State, Elder Gabriel Ajah,
Archbishop Chukwuma prayed for the successful burial of the late Ekwueme who he described as “a great politician in Nigeria that would never be forgotten as far as politics is concerned in this country.
“We are happy that the government is giving him a befitting burial, but one thing is that people should emulate the legacies he left behind.
“It is not good to say all sorts of things without emulating what he left behind.”
After the bishop had completed his opening prayers for the departed elder statesman, the South-East governors filed out to pass round the casket bearing his remains to pay their last respect.
After this, his corpse was taken to his Independence Layout Enugu residence by the Ebony undertakers closely followed by the governors and other dignitaries for a brief stop-over before it was taken away to the morgue from where it would be brought back today to the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd Enugu for a service of songs. (The Sun)