Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says Nigeria would have been a better place if the late former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme was allowed to play his rightful role in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a tribute to the deceased on Monday, Tinubu said those who cherish democracy must not forget the former vice-president.
The APC leader said his intellectual interventions helped the country navigate critical periods and troubled times.
He recalled the role played by Ekwueme in confronting the military regime and how he contributed to the formation of the PDP.
“As vice president, he showed himself to be an invaluable asset in governance of the nation. He was loyal to his boss and most importantly was ever faithful to the nation,” Tinubu said in a statement.
“He was genuinely concerned about bringing about a better Nigeria. His time and energy were geared towards nationalistic issues. He was always at the forefront of efforts to resolve problems. His deep intellectual interventions often helped the country navigate through critical periods and troubled times.
“Those of us who cherish democracy and those of us who celebrate the end of military rule in Nigeria must never forget that it was this soft-spoken man who mobilised the group of 34 eminent Nigerians that would put at risk their very lives and livelihoods to confront the oppressive Abacha dictatorship.
“The G.34 would later form the basis of the Peoples Democratic Party and Dr. Ekwueme was the founding Chairman of that party. I do not intend to delve into partisanship on this occasion but suffice it to say that had Dr. Ekwueme been allowed to play his proper and rightful role in the party he helped create, Nigeria would be a better place.”
He said Ekwueme was a son of Lagos who helped make the state a better place.
“Chief Ekwueme was a son of Lagos in many ways. He attended Kings College, Lagos,” the former governor said.
“He lived in Lagos. Also, his architectural business flourished more in Lagos. As he was the pride of the people of Anambra, he was also our pride.
“He helped make Lagos a better place and his success in Lagos helped demonstrate that Lagos was a welcoming home to all Nigerians who wanted to achieve and contribute to our collective progress and purpose.”
Tinubu said Nigerians would serve Ekwueme’s memory well by following his example.
“Dr. Ekwueme is no longer here to make his dream become our reality. We believe God has taken His son to a better home for a life well lived and a job well done. But the example and wisdom of Dr. Ekwueme belongs to all of us. We serve his memory well and serve our nation even better if we follow his example and make use of his wisdom,” he said.
“Dr. Ekwueme was a man for Nigeria and all Nigerians. He was what we all should strive to be. This man personified a better nation.
“May his good soul find eternal peace and rest well in the bosom of the Lord. I pray that God grant his family strength and grace at this time and that He grant our nation too good sense to never forget this man and what he represented.”