James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, says late Alex Ekwueme, former vice-president, is being mourned by a nation which failed to allow him rescue it from “political and economic morass will.
According to Ibori, Nigerians are “shedding crocodile tears” over the passing of Ekwueme.
In a statement by Tony Eluemunor, his spokesman, Ibori said Nigeria is the biggest loser in Ekwueme’s death, adding that the octogenarian lived a full life.
Ekwueme died on Sunday in a London hospital where he was transferred to after he relapsed and went into a coma — a few weeks ago.
Ibori, however, said he could not stop asking “what if?” Ekwueme had been the president of Nigeria.
He said with Ekwueme’s demise, the nation would never know the examples he would have set as president.
“Though His Excellency, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, GCON, was a great leader, a national father-figure, a stabilizing factor in Nigerian politics, I Chief James Onanefe Ibori can never stop asking ‘what if!'” Ibori said.
“It is ironic that the nation that betrayed this man’s effort to rescue it from political and economic morass will, now that he is dead, begin to shed crocodile tears.
“Even those who betrayed the very effort to make Ekwueme President, may begin to, hypocritically, of course, bewail the fact that Ekwueme or the Igboman or woman, never ruled Nigeria.
“Ekwueme was an extraordinary polyvalent scholar who earned multiple degrees in Architecture, urban planning, sociology, history, philosophy and law from several universities. He was a gifted architect whose professional legacies dot various Nigerian cities.
“In politics, he was both gentlemanly and fatherly, introducing mildness even when the others had embraced roughness and irascibility.
“If only we had allowed Ekwueme to rule Nigeria, what example would he have set? Now, we will never know…and Nigeria is the ultimate loser.
“Ekwueme has lived a full life; he has given a radiant account of himself and we all agree he was outstanding.
“May the Almighty God grant his gentle soul eternal rest and pour His consolation upon his family.”
Ekwueme twice sought to be president — in 1999 and 2003 — but could not get the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he co-founded.