My encounter with Ekwueme in prison – Babatope

Alex Ekwueme

A former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope on Tuesday described the late Dr Alex Ekwueme as a man with excellent qualities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ekwueme, who was the Vice-President to former President Shehu Shagari between 1979 and 1983 died in November 2017 at 85.

Babatope, while paying tributes to the deceased, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Ekwueme was a man who epitomised greatness.

He said the former Vice-President was a fine intellectual who distinguished himself in his professional callings.

He said the wisdom of Ekwueme and other like minds was instrumental to the formation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“The late Ekwueme was a very nice man. He was a distinguished gentleman who did his best to make great impacts.

“During the Second Republic, the late Dr Ekwueme was in the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), while I was in the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

“But shortly after the military takeover, we both met in prison with some other people and he was so nice to me and everyone.

“He was soft spoken and that endeared him to everyone around there at the time.

“The late former Vice-President, I and some other great people were also instrumental in forming our great party, the PDP. And his contributions were very valuable.

“The country has lost a rare gem. A great man, a fine intellectual and a great politician, ’’ Babatope said.

The former minister told NAN that Ekwueme would be particularly missed by members of the PDP for his brand of rancour-free politics.

NAN also reports that the funeral rites for the late elder statesman had commenced with the governors, elder statesmen and other illustrious citizens from South Eastern Nigeria received his remains on Monday in Enugu, Enugu State.