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Ezeife was pillar of nationhood, democracy – Shettima, Akpabio, Kalu, others

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has described the former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, as a pillar of the Nigerian nationhood who fought for democracy in…

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has described the former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, as a pillar of the Nigerian nationhood who fought for democracy in the country.

The VP joined other statesmen such as Senate President Godswill Akpabio, former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, former governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu during the night of tributes in honour of Ezeife in Abuja on Monday.

Shettima, who was represented by former FCT Minister, Dr Aliyu Moddibo, commended Ezeife’s feat of rising from no early formal education to obtain a PhD in Economics from the prestigious Havard University, USA.

He noted Ezeife’s unwavering advocacy for Ndigbo in Nigeria and a mentor to many from different parts of the country.

He said Ezeife was a man of exceptional intellect and wit, known for his profound quotes and insightful analysis, adding “he was a mentor to many, and always willing to share his knowledge and inspire the next generation.”

In his remarks, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Sylvester Okonkwo, described Ezeife as “a chief advocate of a federal Nigeria to achieve unity and cohesion.”

In the same vein, Osobo, who was chairman of the event, said Ezeife, alongside other Igbos like Arthur Nwankwo, Ndubuisi Kanu and Ralph Obioha among others fought for democracy in Nigeria with NADECO after the annulment of the June 12 election.

He said he became friends with Ezeife during the Nigerian Civil War talks in Kampala, Uganda and continued their friendship thereafter when they lived in Lagos.

He said despite the harassment by the Sani Abacha military regime, Ezeife “stood with us in NADECO and fought the Abiola cause.”

Deputy Speaker Kalu said the nation’s young politicians should emulate the simple lifestyle and integrity of the likes of Ezeife.

The event had in attendance other dignitaries such as Deputy Minority Whip, Hon. George Ozodinobi; former Osun State Governor, Olagunsonye Oyinlola; former governors of Imo State, Achike Udenwa, Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha; former governor of Ebonyi State, Sam Egwu, former Minister of Education, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuihe; Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, Prof. Obirora Okonkwo, representative of Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Obident Movement, Afenifere, PANDEF, Middle Belt Forum and Arewa, among others.

Ezeife, who died on December 14, 2023, aged 86, and will be buried in Igbo-Ukwu, Anambra State at the weekend.

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