President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday joined other eminent Nigerians to extol the leadership virtues of the former National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), late Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, who died on August 2, at the age of 76.
While Jonathan bemoaned his death as a great loss to the nation, Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, described Ume-Ezeoke, as a defender of human rights and democracy, a cerebral lawmaker and patriot who paid his dues towards the development of the nation.
Expressing sadness over his death, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; his deputy, Hon. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; his Anambra State counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi as well as the leadership of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) all said his sudden demise came in a wrong time in the nation’s political history.
Ume-Ezeoke, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, died at Fortis Super Specialist Hospital, New Delhi, India from an undisclosed ailment.
A statement signed Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Reuben Abati, said the President prayed God to grant the family, friends and political associates the fortitude to bear the loss.
“As they mourn Chief Ume-Ezeoke, the President urges members of his family, relatives, friends and political associates to take solace in the knowledge that he lived a very fulfilled life and made very significant contributions to the political development of Nigeria,” Jonathan said.
Similarly, Tambuwal descri-bed Ume-Ezeoke’s death as a rude shock and a monumental loss to the nation.
“Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke has left us at a very difficult period. This is the time we need his experience and fatherly advice. We will certainly miss his statemanly conduct and patriotic contributions to issues of national interest,” Tambuwal said.
Tambuwal’s deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, said the deceased was still a force to reckon with in Nigeria.
Also reacting Wednesday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and his Anambra State counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, eulogised the former ANPP national chairman.
While Oshiomhole said: “His contributions to the enthronement of democracy as a member of the G-34 after years of military rule are indelible,” Obi on his part said Nigerians would, “greatly miss him and his wealth of experience.”
Equally, the National Chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said Wednesday in a statement that the late Ume-Ezeoke had made important contribution to the development of the country.“It is with sorrow that we received the painful news of the transition of our former National Chairman, Hon. Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.”
Onu said the deceased’s tenure as the National Chairman of ANPP was at a time the party had many challenges.
According to him, “Ume-Ezeoke did his best to meet those challenges. As a political family, ANPP shall continue to miss him,” he said.