A statement issued Monday by the family and signed by his brother and the traditional ruler of Oko community in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, said that he died by 10:00pm in a London clinic, Sunday, November 19.
The two-paragraph statement read:
“Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme GCON.
“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday 19th November 2017.”
News of Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme’s death filtered in the early hours of Monday and the South-East Governors’ Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano have all expressed sadness over his demise.
The South-East Governors’ Forum described him as a great son and leader and prayed for his wife and family.
“His death is a great loss not just to Igboland but the whole of Nigeria. We pray that the Almighty God will give his wife her excellency Mrs Beautrice Ekwueme and the entire family the fortitude to bear the loss. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” the forum said in a statement by its Director-General, Mr Simon Uchenna Ortuanya.
Igbo socio-political and cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze said the former Vice President was an outstanding patriot whose contributions to the country’s socio-political evolution would be indelible.
“As Vice President, Dr Ekwueme was intellectually forthright, engaging, loyal and outstandingly patriotic. As a politician, he was courageous and original in his ideas. Ndigbo has lost a genius, a father and an intellectual giant,” the President General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said in a statement.
The Ohanaeze leader called on the Nigerian government to immortalise him.
Governor Obiano, on his part, said he had yet to come to terms with the reality of the news, adding that it is hard to contemplate the void Ekwueme’s death has created.
“A great Iroko has fallen. Nigeria has lost a statesman. Ndigbo has lost an illustrious son. Anambra has lost a father. But I have lost both a father and a friend. I have lost a mentor. This is a big loss on all fronts,” was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr James Eze.