By Christian Smith
Alex Ekwueme has died at the age of 85, his family has said.
Former Vice- President of Nigeria, Dr Ekwueme, who was been treated for chest infection died last night, Dr Ekwueme’s younger brother and traditional ruler of Oko community in Anambra state, HRH, Prof. Laz Ekwueme said in a statement.
“The sad event occurred at The London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday 19th November 2017.”
The elder statesman, who became the first elected Vice-President in 1979 in Nigeria’s second republic, was flown out of the country for further treatment, last Sunday.
Tributes have poured in for the elder statesman from all over the country.
Senate President Bukola Saraki praised the deceased politician “for his exemplary courage in the face of overwhelming odds.”
In a Twitter post, he said: “I will always remember Dr. Alex Ekwueme for his exemplary courage in the face of overwhelming odds — when he stood up to past military regimes and his dexterity in his personal pursuits as a successful architect, lawyer, businessman and philanthropist.
“I pray for God’s strength for Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s family at this difficult time.”
President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted shortly after, saying: “I mourn the death of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, a patriot and statesman.
“His life was marked by an unwavering commitment to the unity and progress of Nigeria; and his personal sacrifices helped lay the foundation for our democracy.
“Dr. Ekwueme lived a worthy life, excelled in professional practice, in business, in politics, in philanthropy. He served Nigeria and humanity.
“We will miss his counsel and wisdom on national issues. May his soul rest in peace.”
Dr Ekwueme was born on October 21, 1932.