Elder statesman and Nigeria’s former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, is dead.
The traditional ruler of the Oko family and younger brother to the Second Republic Vice President, Professor Laz Ekwueme, said in a statement that 85-year-old died in a London Hospital on Sunday.
“The Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON,” the statement read.
“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday, 19th November 2017.”
The late former Vice-president was flown to London for medical treatment after he was reported to have suffered a chest infection which left him in a coma in a hospital for two weeks.
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.
He also 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 has played several roles domestically and internationally, cementing his status as a statesman.
For instance, until his death, he was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Architects.
He was a member of the Board of Directors of Canada-based Forum of Federations.
He was also a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Elders.
In 2000, Dr Ekwueme was the leader of the team assembled by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for pre-election monitoring for the parliamentary election in Zimbabwe that year.
That same year, he led the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) observer team to the Tanzanian Presidential and Parliamentary election.
In 2003, the former Vice President attempted to run for the presidency under the Peoples Democratic Party. He, however, lost the party’s primaries to the incumbent President at the time, Olusegun Obasanjo.
He has been honoured many times including with the Order of the Republic of Guinea and Nigeria.
He holds the title Ide of the Oko kingdom in Anambra State.
The 85-year-old elder statesman hails from Orumba North Local Government Area of the state.