The Anambra State government has congratulated the wife of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme on her 85th birthday, saying Mrs Beatrice Chigozili Ekwueme and her husband remain an exemplary couple whose commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and peaceful co-existence has remained a source of inspiration to the people of Anambra State.
In a statement in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, quoted Governor Willie Obiano as recalling that “far from Dr Ekwueme and his wife engaging in politics of bitterness, acrimony and extremity, they played politics of peace, harmony, inclusiveness and solidarity”.
Observing that this brand of politics makes for unity and stability in society, Governor Obiano recalled that “though Dr Ekwueme belonged to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he practically founded and led in its glorious days, he identified morally and physically with the programmes and projects of my administration because he found them to be in the strategic of Ndi Anambra”.
The governor cited the example of the former vice president’s physical participation in the formal burial and funeral of all Eastern Nigerians who died during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70 who, for one reason or another, were not accorded their traditional right of proper burial.
According to the Commissioner’s statement, many Igbo leaders were absent at the ceremony on January 10, 2015, for fear of reprisal from non-Eastern Nigerian people and forces, “but not Ide Alex Ekwueme, a courageous leader and man of the people who boldly and admirably led the famous G-37 that took on the military regime to preserve Nigeria’s future”.
He explained that Dr Ekwueme’s politics of principle, unity and solidarity was “consistent with Chief Obiano’s administration’s policy of constructive engagement which has in recent years seen Anambra State on good terms with different governments in the federation regardless of the political parties which control them.
The commissioner stated further that “even within the state, we treat members of the so-called opposition parties as our brothers and sisters which has resulted in a more peaceful and united state”, observing, “Dr Ekwueme’s first daughter, Mrs Chidi Alexandria Onyemelukwe, was the PDP deputy governorship candidate in the November 17, 2017 election in the state which Chief Obiano won by a wide margin in each of the 21 local government areas in the state, but the governor displayed no animosity towards the Ekwuemes.
“Obiano rather rolled out the drums in the funeral rites of the former vice president, which were a one-week colourful ceremony in January, last year”.
Adinuba disclosed that Governor Obiano pledged in the message to Mrs Ekwueme that he would continue to lead the state without discrimination so that “Anambra will remain not just Nigeria’s safest state but also the most peaceful”.
Though Mrs Ekwueme turned 85 on Wednesday, July 3, the thanksgiving service will be held on Sunday, July 7, at the Cathedral of Good Shepherd, Independence Layout, Enugu, with Archbishop Enugu Chukwuma presiding.