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JUST IN: Buhari Renames Federal University In Ebonyi, Alex Ekwueme University

Alex-Ekwueme
                                                Dr Alex Ekwueme

Anthony Okafor

President Muhammadu Buhari has renamed Federal University, Ndufu-Ikwo, Ebonyi State to Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State.

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo, announced this during the burial service of the former late, Dr Alex Ekwueme at St John, The Divine Church, Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He said this was in honour of Ekwueme’s contributions to nation building.  (Punch)

Details later…

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Sorrow, Grief As South-East Governors Receive Ekwueme’s Body In Enugu |RN

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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.

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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)

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Buhari Has Spent N1bn On Ekwueme So Far, Says Ngige |The Republican News

alex_ekwueme1                     Dr Alex Ekwueme

  • Roads rehabilitation gulps N480m
  • As Anambra declares work-free day for funeral

Tony Okafor, Awka

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to giving a former Vice President, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, a befitting burial.

Ngige spoke on Sunday at Ekwueme’s hometown in Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State after inspecting facilities for the burial of the late VP.

He said Buhari had committed about N1bn on Ekwueme from the day the Federal Government took over his medical bills to date.

While saying that road rehabilitation alone in Anambra State and neighbouring communities of Imo and Abia states in preparation for Ekwueme’s burial had gulped about N480m, Ngige said Federal Government was not leaving anything to chances in ensuring that the Ekwueme family enjoys the role their late patriarch played in building a better Nigeria

He said, “You know that I belong to the Ekwueme family; I’m part of that family.

“I’m in various committees and subcommittees for the burial of this great statesman. I can tell you authoritatively that Mr President (Buhari) is committed and passionate in ensuring a befitting burial for Ekwueme.

“If he doesn’t come for the burial himself, I’m sure the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will be here for the burial as a matter of right.

“So, I’m here to inspect the facilities in preparation for his burial; and I can tell you that I’m satisfied with the progress of work.

“The Federal Government is doing rehabilitation works on Amawbia/Ekwulobia road, up to Uga and Akokwa in Imo State.

“We’re also doing road rehabilitation on Oko/Umunze road up to Ibinta in Abia State.

“I know the cost of all this, not less than N480m.

“The Federal Government is building the mausoleum, which will contain a modern library and other facilities and I also know the cost of that too.

“And remember that the Federal Government took up all the medical bills of flying him abroad and bringing him back to Nigeria from London upon his death.

“The cost of hiring an air ambulance is not a joke. So, Buhari has honoured this Igbo son in all ramifications.

“He has committed not less than a billion naira in this project because he is passionate about it,” Ngige stated.

The Minister added that the Federal Government was considering naming a national monument after Ekwueme to immortalise him.

Similarly, the Anambra State Government has commenced works on internal roads in Oko and environs, preparatory for the burial.

Briefing reporters, a Senior Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Inter-Party matters, Chief Ben Obi, said a virgin four-kilometre road had been created in the area for easy movement during the funeral.

He said parking bays had been created in about six points, where shuttles would be provided to ferry mourners to the funeral venue, while St Mary’s Catholic Church, Oko, playground would serve as a helipad for the Vice President’s visit.

Meanwhile, the Anambra State Government has declared Thursday this week as a work-free day.

In a public service announcement by the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, all markets and businesses in the state would be closed on that day.

The announcement read in part, “As part of the funeral arrangements for the late Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme (GCON), Anambra State Government hereby announces that … Thursday, February 1st, 2018 is work-free day in Anambra State.

“All markets and businesses will be closed on that day to enable Ndi Anambra, friends, associates and well wishers to pay our last respect to the late Vice President.

“All those attending the commendation ceremony, including various social, cultural, religious, political, professional, educational, market men and women, and all other groups are to be seated by 10am prompt.”

Born October 21,1932, Ekwueme died on Sunday 19th November 2017 at a London hospital

He served as first elected Vice President of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983 under a former President, Shehu Shagari.   (Punch)

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Biafran-Nigerian Civil War: How Igbo, Yoruba Men Showed Each Other Love |RN

During the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, many Igbo people fled other parts of the country for the East because they were being killed and massacred wantonly and the government was doing nothing about it.

Many abandoned their homes, properties and businesses for safety. Of them, was a young Igbo architect who had a young Yoruba banker as a neighbour in Apapa, Lagos. He also abandoned his home and with his family fled for the East.

However, the young Yoruba banker, while the war lasted, rented out his neighbour’s house and kept every kobo for him while he was in the East. After the war, the Igbo architect returned to Lagos and the Yoruba banker handed over the entire proceeds of the rent and also the house to the Igbo architect.

Some few years later, the Igbo architect became the Vice President of Nigeria and the Yoruba banker established a commercial bank, the first by a private citizen in the country’s history.

However, he could not get a license to begin banking operations. Many people were against him because it was unheard of at the time.

At this time, the banker remembered his neighbour who was now the Vice President and tracked him to the Christ Church Cathedral, Marina, Lagos on a particular Sunday. He had tried to get appointment to see him in his office but without success.

He and his wife then decided to go lay ambush for him in Church but the security men did not allow them. They then decided to sit by the pew close to the aisle to beat the security in the hope that the Vice President would see them while he walked to the front row. Yet, he still didn’t see them.

After the church program they positioned that he will see them on his way out. However, the people following him out and security blocked his view. That was when the banker’s wife decided to take a risk and like the woman with the issue of blood, she pulled the Vice President’s cloth to get his attention who then turned and saw his old friend.

The young banker then narrated his plight and told the Vice President how he had tried to see him and what he needed to see him for. He told him about his application for a bank licence.

“Don’t worry yourself. Just come tomorrow at the Federal Executive Council meeting which I would preside over because President Shehu Shagari would not be there,” the Vice President assured him.

By 3.00pm the next day, the Finance Minister called the banker on phone that his licence was ready. The rest they say is history.

That young banker was Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun while the architect in this narrative was one of Africa’s elder statesmen and former Vice President of the Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. The bank is what is now First City Monument Bank.

One good turn truly deserves another and it is good to love our neighbours as ourselves.

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South East Governors Forum Mourns Alex Ekwueme |The Republican News

The South-East Governors’ forum on Monday, joined millions of Nigerians to mourn the death of former Nigeria’s Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme.

Governor 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 Nuerosurgery 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.” (NAN)

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The Igbo Will Benefit From APC, Wishes Ekwueme Quick Recovery – Orji Kalu |RN

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Former Governor of Abia State, CEO Slok Holdings,  Orji Uzor Kalu

Wishes Ex-VP, Ekwueme quick recovery

The former governor of Abia State and an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart in the South East, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has described any attempt at continuing the spent and inebriated government of Anambra State as unacceptable.
He stated that Anambra, as the heartbeat of the Igbo nation and home of sane and sound intellectuals, cannot be run like a “beer parlour.”
Dr. Kalu, who spoke at the APC governorship Campaign rally at Ufuma, Orumba North Local Government Area of the state, wondered how the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, infamously known for his excessive and expensive love for the bottles, became a Governor in the first place in a premium state like Anambra.
Dr. Kalu noted that the issue with Obiano is not about his constant a hangover, but he equally failed in making any meaningful impact as a governor for three and half years in office and therefore should be voted out.
Dr. Kalu challenged the people of Anambra to take over the opportunity offered to them on November 18 to correct the mistake of having a failed governor, to elect a very young and former student leader, Hon. Dr. Tony Nwoye, who is the APC candidate in the poll.
Dr. Kalu stated that Dr. Tony Nwoye, being a young man has a cerebral fecundity with acute prowess in ideas and innovative solutions to take Anambra State to a greater height.
“I performed very well as a governor in Abia State because I was young then, and now the people of Anambra must vote a young man for the state to move forward,’’ Dr. Kalu said.
He furthered that the Anambra Guber election is another chance for the ‘Igbo Nation’ to join mainstream politics in Nigeria ahead of 2023, which will be their turn to produce the president.
He stated that the Igbo nation stands a lot to benefit from the present APC government than from any other party in Nigeria.
Responding, Hon. Dr. Tony Nwoye thanked Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who followed him to the campaign rally at Orumba North for his commitment and huge sacrifices towards the realisation of his guber ambition.
Dr. Nwoye equally thanked the people of Orumba North, who came out en mass to receive him and his entourage in the area for showing solidarity and believing in him.
In a closing remark Hon. Bar. Emeka Ibe, the State Chairman of APC in Anambra, who hails from Orumba, assured Dr. Tony Nwoye and party members that Orumba, will deliver APC in the area.
He noted that Gov. Willie Obiano made the victory of APC easy in the area by not carrying out a single project in the whole of Orumba in three and half years as governor.
The Chairman declared that Obiano’s failure in Orumba is a blessing in disguise as no sane person from Orumba will vote APGA or for any other party. He further commended the traditional rulers in Orumba for proscribing the governor in the area, noting that their decision was well thought out.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kalu expressed concern over the current health of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
In his ‘get well message’ issued through his Media Assistant, Kenneth Udeh, Dr. Kalu expressed optimism that Dr. Ekwueme will soon get back to good health, stating that his wealth of experience and contributions is much needed in the country, especially in this critical democratic dispensation of the nation.
Kalu, who just returned from the Peoples Republic of China also appreciated the support of the Federal Government by approving immediate medical treatment for Dr. Ekwueme.
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu in the statement said that he is in constant prayers to God over the quick recovery of the elder statesman and former Nigerian Vice President.  (The Sun)

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Alex Ekwueme Alive, Stable, Says Hospital Official |The Republican News

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                          Former Vice President, Dr  Alex Ekwueme

Former Vice- President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, is alive, stable and responding to treatment, an official of Memfys Neuro-surgical Hospital, Enugu, has said.

The official said in Enugu on Tuesday that “Ekwueme is still in Memfys Hospital,” even though President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered he should be flown abroad for better care.

The former vice-president was admitted into the hospital for chest infection.

Contrary to reports in some quarters that the former Number 2 Man had died, the former vice-president is stable and doing well.

The official said that Ekwueme was receiving the best attention from the hospital.

The official maintained that though the hospital would not give out information about its patients, “the rumour that he is dead is false.”

“He is recovering and doing well. People should not spread false information. The family members are always here,” the official said.

The Federal Government had undertaken to fly Ekwueme abroad for special attention once he is more stable.

Also, the traditional ruler of Oko community in Orumba North Local Government of Anambra, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, corroborated the hospital official’s statement.

According to him, Ekwueme is alive and recovering from illness.

Laz, the musicologist, who is also the younger brother to the former VP,  saidin a telephone interview in Awka on Tuesday that people had called the family to ask about the state of the elder statesman.

“You people should stop disturbing me with all these calls. Ekwueme is alive and recovering, please,” he said.   (Punch)

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