Brief Personal Life
Chief Dr Alex Ekwueme (October 21, 1932- November 19, 2017) was Nigeria’s first elected Vice President from 1979 to 1983. He is the ‘Ide’ of Oko ancient kingdom in Anambra State, where his younger brother, Professor Lazarus Ekwueme is reigning as the traditional ruler.
In the prime of his life, Dr Alex Ekwueme was honoured by the council of Traditional Rulers in old Aguata LGA, which is made up of forty four towns as the ‘Ide’ of Aguata Local Government Area.
He was a man of many parts, celebrated both in local and foreign media as an icon of valour; great architect, historian and kind-hearted politician. He died at 10:00pm in a London hospital on Sunday 19th November, 2017, few days after he was flown to London for medical check-up.
In this edifying epistle, let us reflect on the political lifetime achievement of this icon. Before becoming the first elected Vice President of Nigeria in 1979, Dr Alex Ekwueme has gained a wide range of national and International limelight. He had been one of the nationalists making great contributions to the peaceful co-existence and unity of the country.
He was an active member of:
- Sub-committee of the Adebo Salaries and Wages Review Commission
- Anambra State Housing Development Authority
- East Central State Committee on the exercise of the Prerogative of Mercy
- 1995 National Constitutional Conference (NCC)
- Committee on the Structure and Framework of the constitution
- Founding member of People’s Democratic Party in 1998
- First Chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees
Other Foreign Political Contributions
- Board of Director, Canada Based Forum of Federations
- Leader, Pre-election monitoring team for Zimbabwe’s parliamentary election in 2000
- Leader of OAU’s observer team to Tanzania’s Presidential and Parliamentary election in 2000
- Member, ECOWAS council of Elders etc
He served under Shehu Shagari before the coup d’état that toppled the government in 1983. After the overthrow of the government, Ekwueme was tried and imprisoned by a military tribunal, and the reason for his imprisonment was due to his active involvement in the government.
To cut the long story short, Ekwueme became poorer after he left office than when he was serving as Nigeria’s Vice President. This is a great lesson to the crop of the Present day Nigeria politicians considering the depth of embezzlement and corruption that has characterized their political activities.
He participated actively in most of Nigeria’s post independence National Constitutional Conferences, and has been described by many as the political conscience of his time. He was an unrepentant apostle of non-violence, due diligence and humanitarian principles.
Dr Alex Ekwueme was selected by his alma mater, University of Washington (Seattle) as one of the 100 alumni/ alumnae that made global transformative impact in 20th century. In appreciation of his political, social, developmental and economic contributions to humanity, Dr Ekwueme had been honoured with Order of the Republic of Guinea, and Nigeria’s second highest national honours, Grand Commander of the order of the Niger (GCON).
In addition to multiple honorary doctorate degrees received by many polytechnics and Universities in Nigeria, he was the first civilian to be honoured with a doctorate degree by the Nigeria Defence Academy. By all standards of evaluation, he was a great man who contributed his best to his people. May he continue to enjoy blissful rest, Amen.